[Mailman-Developers] Reply-To: handling

Chuq Von Rospach chuqui@plaidworks.com
Fri, 19 Oct 2001 20:31:26 -0700

On 10/19/01 4:04 PM, "J C Lawrence" <claw@2wire.com> wrote:

> By doing reply-to extension we're changing practice as follows:
> -- Posters can _add_ to a posts disposition list via Reply-To.

> -- Posters can attempt to move threads to a different forum.

Which, IMHO, should be done via a To: or CC:, with a paragraph in the
message saying "we should move this  to foobar. Please reply only to that
list afte rthis". Reply-to can't replace that form, IMHO, but might help to
enforce it (or maybe not. To  try without explanation is a covert operation,
not one I'm overly enthused to encourage, and if they DO do it this way,
reply-to coercion is optional at best.

> -- Under reply-to extension the original poster who sets reply-to
> has the ability to expose an additional address to all subsequent
> thread posts.  This can be abused, but can also be a Very Good
> Thing as it allows, for instance, a non-list-member to track and
> aprticipate in a specific thread.

Agreed, but I consider this at best a niche feature/sitaution, and don't
feel any real need/interest to support it.

> Under reply-to replacement
> you'd have to be a member of the list to follow the thread (thus
> all the requests of, "Please CC me I'm not on the list").

Which, IMHO, is a feature.

> This centers on the old debate:

Yes, I know. Which is why I figure we won't solve it this time, iether...
(tee hee)

> Is a list message an entirely new message or is it a
> continuation/version of the message which was sent to the list?
> I tend to the latter version.

I tend to the middle ground. It's a continuation, but one which the author
has ceded distribution control to the list, so the list's
settings/preferences override the users.

>> How is the typical user to understand how this all works together,
>> and why when they reply to a list, this happens, except when it's
>> fred's message?
> The arbitrary user is not affected.  He replies exactly as per
> normal and, as far as his perception is concerned, it Just Works.

Does it? What about the case where a list is not coerced reply-to, but one
fo the subscribers feels it should be, so he coerces reply-to covertly,
which is propogated out and through the list.

The list now operates differently for postings by that one user. And the
typical user won't know why, or even necessarily recognize it until they
reply privately to that message, and due to the covert reply-to, sees their
message splashed all over the list.

Which, IMHO, I've seen happen, with truly explosive results, a few times. It
can be, frankly, even more destructive than the bubba hack, especially if
one of your users gets into a nasty fight with someone, and then starts
throwing covert reply-tos at the person to embarrass him in public. Or, as
has happened in one case, got an engineer into a private discussion, and
then threw in a covert reply-to that forced an untimely message back onto a
list, which caused an NDA leak, which caused untold embarassment.

If you allow users to override list options, all sorts of mischief can
happen. And will.