[Mailman-Users] Reply to list

Kevin McCann kmccann at bellanet.org
Thu Feb 5 19:56:55 CET 2004

Paul H Byerly wrote:

>      Bottom line, I can understand that there was a time when reply to 
> author made sense for a lot of lists, but I don't think that is the 
> case anymore.

Hi Paul,

I feel that it really depends on the nature of the list - the purpose, 
the participants, the number of participants. A small staff list? 
Reply-to-list, no question. A music list with 20,000 subscribers. 
*Please* make it reply-to-sender. And if the question is what should be 
the *default*, I'd say Reply-to-sender. Why? Because it is the option 
that makes the list admin think about what kind of list they have, just 
as it makes a member think about who they really want to send their 
reply to.

I have a large hobby-related list that was set to  reply-to-list once 
upon a time but as the list grew there were far too many "me too" posts 
and the like. Replies that were most appropriate for the original sender 
were being sent to the list. The value of the list deteriorated. People 
fled. By changing the list to reply-to-sender, members had to actually 
*think* about who they ought to be sending their replies to.

An interesting things to note:  I was somewhat concerned that important 
group discussions would decrease after making the change. That the list 
would become less valuable through a problem other than noise. I was 
concerned about bilateral discussions happening. Then it occurred to me 
that those one-on-one communications are every bit as important as the 
group interaction. Indeed, on my list, there now many valuable 
mentor/student relationships that have developed and I am often thanked 
for facilitating them.

- Kevin

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