[Mailman-Developers] Advanced Reply-To-Munging

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Sun Mar 11 19:34:26 CET 2007

Sven Anderson writes:

 > There is no RFC-way to set the default address for replies.

Of course there is.  For authors, it's Reply-To.  For lists, it's
List-Post.  There is nothing that says the MUA can't offer other
choices; just the that MUA should offer the address list in Reply-To
to the user by default because *that's what the author is explicitly

The fact that the MUAs used by the mob don't offer other choices is a
completely different issue.

 > ad 2) If Reply-To is already set, it is removed.

That's definitely a violation of the RFC.  The author has explicitly
requested delivery of responses to that address, and this proposal
prevents it from working correctly.

Reply-To, like the other headers, accepts multiple addresses.  The
list's address should be added in this case, and users who bitch
should be told that it's required by "the rules" since it was already

 > The old Reply-To or - if not existing - the From address is checked
 > if it is a list member. If not, it is added as a "fake Cc" to the
 > Cc header, in order to make the reply-to-all function work.

This is insufficient.  Somebody who actually sets Reply-To to an
address that's on the list in a post to the list clearly Really Means
It.  It's not my place to explain why; you should ask *them*.

Your assumption is that such users don't exist on the list in
question, at least not in numbers large enough to matter.  Why not let
them have their way?

 > Of course, with option 2-4 you still lose the reply-to-author function, but 
 > at least for 2 and 4 in exchange for a new function, which a standard MUA 
 > with just a reply and reply-to-all button doesn't offer.

It's not a new function, it's a new bug.  Much of the specification
for MUAs is in RFC 2822, including the use of the Reply-To function.
Your proposal prevents conforming MUAs from performing the function
that their users ask of them.

 > author, what at the moment doesn't work). We want the default going to the 
 > list, not only because of our MUAs (Thunderbird, Mutt, Webmailer) only Mutt 
 > supports reply-to-list, but also because we want the default reply to be the 
 > least dangerous, which in our case is the list. Funnily enough, the mutt 
 > user wants the most, that the normal reply is going to the list. ;-)

This is a valid use case, but not for Mailman as currently designed.
What you want is customer relations management software.  If you
really want this, then you can write a custom handler for it.  It
should not be provided with software intended for general use in
discussion lists on the Internet IMO.

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