[Mailman-Users] REPLY-TO oddity

Darren Henderson darren at jasper.somtel.com
Sat Apr 10 04:19:19 CEST 1999

On Fri, 9 Apr 1999, Barry A. Warsaw wrote:

> discouraged.  For the seminal discussion of this issue, please read
>     http://www.unicom.com/pw/reply-to-harmful.html

I wish I had saved it. At one time I wrote a message to a mailing list
where someone was toating this line. I went through and addressed each
point that it made. 

It has been a while since I have read it but imo its quite bogus. It
essentially came down to (perhaps I'm unfairly characterizing it but the
religous fervor that some people devote to this issue just seems to get my
hackles up;) "I have been stupid in the past and have not checked to make
sure the mail message is going where I meant it to so protect me and other
ignorant users and don't munge this header".

I think it also goes on to point at one of the RFC's and applies a highly
stilted bit of logic to make it seem that the header is not meant to be
changed as only the "originator" of the message is supposed to change it.
Well... if the list is sending the message the list is the originator of
the message. Someone sent the message to the list the list added a bit to
it (readdressing it, putting in footers etc) and then sent its version out
to subscribers. Its entitled.

An other point made, I beleive, was that not using reply-to makes it
easier to respond to the author directly. Well...the majority of the
mailing lists I paticipate on I want to respond to the list and not to the
author (I really don't like getting the same bit of mail twice). I would
just as soon it were easier to respond to the list. (From here you can go
on to sillieness about what features which mailers have etc). Any
discussion type list should have all messages by default going back to the
list and if someone wants to make the extra effort to reply directly to
the author (ie removing the topic from discussion on the list) then they
can stand to do a possible extra step or two. By the same token Reply-to:
should probably not be used on an announcement or contact list.

What it comes down to is that, imo, that paticular diatribe is an opinion
piece about what one persons preferences are and it offers very little in
the way of any technical, moral, or factual information that relates to
the use of the reply-to header. 

*goes off to ponder pulling in a copy of the page again and putting up a
"reply-to-benificial" page that is actually a bit more thought out than
this quick reply*

Darren Henderson                              darren at jasper.somtel.com

                   Help fight junk e-mail, visit http://www.cauce.org/

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