[Mailman-Users] The "right" way to reply to a mailing list

Peter Shute pshute at nuw.org.au
Fri Mar 20 00:50:43 CET 2015

Lindsay Haisley wrote:

> It is polite, though, to make sure you're not sending 
> duplicate posts to people by doing a "Reply to All" which 
> will probably send a copy of your reply to _both_ the list 
> and the original poster.  I think that this is a common point 
> of confusion.  "All" in this context doesn't mean "all the 
> list subscribers", but "all the addresses in the headers."

In all the mail clients I use, I get a choice of Reply, which for this list will reply only to the original sender, or Reply All, which sends it to the original sender and the list. If I want to reply just to the list, I have to hit Reply All and then delete the original sender's address. I usually don't bother, and I assumed most people don't. Has that been annoying people? I thought mailman was smart enough not to send another copy to people in the Cc list.
> As far as editing, top posting, bottom posting, etc. it's 
> just a matter of using good sense.  All communication should 
> get as much meaning into its context as possible, with as 
> little "noise" as possible.  So as Carl said, pull out extra 
> footers and everything else that's not relevant to the 
> immediate focus of the conversation.  If you can read your 
> own post, and it makes good sense and gets your point across, 
> as concisely as possible, it doesn't matter what you cut or 
> leave, or if you top post or bottom post.

I think people are generally limited by whatever their mail client will support. Outlook likes to set you up for top posting. I've only managed to get my Outlook to generate the > quote indicators by telling it to open my mail in Plain Text format, and I edited the "Original Message" headers to the simple form above manually. I don't like to interquote in a section claiming to be "Original Message" because to me that implies it's been left intact.

When I had a Blackberry, I had no choice by to top quote. The quoted material is either there or not there on a Blackberry, it can't be edited. Now I have an iPhone, I can edit the message and the header is acceptable for interquoting.

We often see messages here that have replies alternating between top and bottom quoting, which can be very confusing, but often people have little choice.

I agree with the other reply that said people are tending towards top quoting more and more. Many people simply top quote as encouraged by their mail client, and haven't considered that there's any other way. Often people only read the reply above the start of the quoted material, and ignore interquoted material anyway!

Peter Shute

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