[Mailman-Users] Reply to list

Warren Woodward scratch at xmission.com
Thu Feb 5 23:09:53 CET 2004

On Thu, Feb 05, 2004 at 08:55:26PM +0100, Brad Knowles wrote:
> 	Do they prefer to have messages which they thought would be 
> private replies being blasted to the whole list?

The reality of the modern, public internet is that the opposite is far
more common -- right or wrong, in most common, public internet circles
(I'm talking the far more prevelant "recipe sharing"-style lists, not "RFC
management"-style lists), people have grown to accept as standard that in
group discussion lists, unless you're intentionally deviating from the
thread topic, it is customary to respond to the list as a whole, and not
in private.  As such, they are confused when this is not the default 
setting and have to break their own well established habits to respond to 
the list.

We now have upwards of 400 public lists on our mailman server, and I have
heard complaints over this matter from every single one of them.  And no,
that is not an exaggeration. For years now, I explain upfront upon list
creation why things are set this way, and that the owner is responsible
for changing it if they wish -- which they *never* understand or
appreciate, and thus usually ignore until the first complaints roll in.

Mailman eases the discussion format for less technology savvy users, and
its popularity has grown for that fact.  Those users don't understand a
whit of header munging -- they just want their subscribers to be able to
hit the big "Reply" button and have their response return to the list --
just like it would on a web forum or through most standard usenet clients
-- and when it doesn't do that, they get complaints and forward them to
me.  Of note, the most recent complaint came from subscribers of a list
devoted to the discussion of Utah's UTOPIA project, which is well
populated by this region's technological elite, many of whom were
extremely surprised at this default setting and considered it an
antiquated standard and requested it be changed.

I should say, however, that I agree fully with the logic behind avoiding
header munging, and do appreciate that it is standard in Mailman.  As was
well illustrated in another reply, there are very, very appropriate times
for it, and other list software fails in not offering this option.

But personally, in my daily experience, having the defaults reversed would 
save a lot of time and headaches.  

Just my two pennies in a dead, done debate.

warren woodward
XMission DSL
warrenw at xmission.com
(801) 303-0819

"I hold a beast, an angel and a madman in me."  Dylan Thomas

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