[Mailman-Users] Reply to list

Mark Dadgar mark at pdc-racing.net
Thu Feb 5 23:43:01 CET 2004

On Feb 5, 2004, at 2:27 PM, Brad Knowles wrote:
>>  You just told me in a previous email that some people cannot edit
>>  the To: line on a reply.  So which is it?
> 	On the software I've seen, you can't change the To: line in a reply, 
> but you can add other addresses in the Cc: line.

Yes, but in the text to which I was referring (that you snipped in your 
reply above), you stated that it's easy enough to solve Reply All 
problem of ending up with the original sender and the list address in 
the To: line by just deleting the original sender's address.  But now 
you're telling me that's not an option in a large number (in terms of 
user base) of mail clients.

So, pick one.  Which way do you want it?

> 	Well, I was the Sr. Internet Mail Systems Administrator for AOL, and 
> the first Internet Mail Operations person they ever hired.  I've 
> worked in environments supporting five million plus users, most of 
> whom I believe everyone would agree are pretty 
> lowest-common-denominator -- they don't get any lower.  I've also 
> worked with the Listserv/LSMTP installation at AOL, and I helped set 
> up many of the machines that were being used by the mailing list 
> administration staff.

That's pretty cool.  BUT, how many of those 5 million plus lowest 
common denominator people did you actually interact with?

> 	How many millions of lowest-common-denominator users have you 
> supported?

Again, see above.

But in any case, this is irrelevant.  I don't think you can dictate 
behaviour to everyone based on your sampling.

>>  Chuq made the point that he had done exhaustive research on the way
>>  people use this stuff.
> 	Indeed, he has.  He doesn't like to brag about it, but he does run 
> some of the largest known Mailman mailing lists, and his systems are 
> on the same scale as the Kolstad & Chalup papers that I have 
> previously mentioned on this mailing list.  Chuq could probably write 
> the third installment in "How to Manage Very Large Mailing Lists".

Yup, the guy Gets It in general.

> 	True enough.  But in this case, there is a particular configuration 
> which is known (and proven) to reduce the amount of information being 
> needlessly destroyed by the mailing list administrator, and which is 
> likely to result in the least amount of embarrassment if someone just 
> hits the reply key and then shares out all sorts of really sensitive 
> information.

How often does that really happen (that sensitive information is 
shared).  I mean, really.

> 	Your method would have all that incredibly sensitive information 
> automatically sent back to the entire mailing list, which could 
> certainly cost someone their job.  That kind of behaviour could 
> conceivably cost someone their life.

It could.  Nice corner case.  And I would not advocate turning Reply To 
List on in a circumstance like that.

But in the rest of the majority of cases, where accidentally replying 
to the list broadcasts nothing more seriously than your Aunt Martha's 
secret carrotcake recipe, the risk is worth living with in exchange for 
the myriad benefits.

> 	If it was your job and your life that was on the line every single 
> time that one of your customers hit the reply key, which would you 
> want?  Do you really want to play Russian Roulette with 20,000 other 
> people?

Don't you think this is a bit of a stretch?  We're not talking about 
air traffic control here.

>>  However, you are advocating a reduction in choices by doing away
>>  with Reply To List.  And in my experience it just is not as big
>>  a problem as you people think.
> 	Then I would have to conclude that you haven't been doing this for 
> long, or at least not with any mailing list of any real size.

You can conclude whatever you want.

At the end of the day, though, it doesn't really matter what the size 
of the list is, PROVIDED that you can tailer the software appropriately 
to your intended use.  You are advocating making that impossible.

>>  The poster (Paul?) who said it's probably appropriate for 100
>>  person lists but not for 20K person lists was right on the money.
> 	See above.  Russian Roulette with 100 people is more likely to be 
> survivable than with 20,000.

Yes.  Your point?

> 	Unless you've been there and done that and definitely lost the job 
> (or would have, if you had still been working there), you may not ever 
> understand.

I love arguments like that.  Nonsensical, but completely irrefutable.

> 	You may not believe me, but I do hope that you never have to live 
> through this kind of experience.

And the patronizing ending.  Nice form.  I'll give the post a 7.  Your 
score was compromised a bit by a couple of arguments that didn't go 

- Mark
mark at pdc-racing.net

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