[Mailman-Users] Reply-to options not working

Jordan Brown mailman at jordan.maileater.net
Wed Jan 24 23:16:21 EST 2018

On 1/24/2018 4:48 PM, Grant Taylor via Mailman-Users wrote:
> On 01/24/2018 10:40 AM, Jordan Brown wrote:
>> If a message had only List-Post and From, that wouldn't get the
>> result that I would want.  I would want Reply to go to the author. As
>> a list member, I consider it an absolute requirement that Reply go to
>> the author and only to the author; I boycott any list that directs
>> Reply to the list.  (I've dropped off the "staff" list for an event I
>> was participating in for this reason.)
> I think that the difference of Reply vs Reply-List applies to your
> statement.

I don't understand this statement.  Or, I don't understand how it
disagrees with what I said.  I don't really care whether the MUA has a
"Reply List" button that does something list-specific.  "Reply" should
go to the author; "Reply All" should go to all of the original recipients.

> You are entitled to your opinion of how a mailing list should operate
> and free to configure any mailing lists you manage accordingly.

Of course, and I'm free to participate or not participate in mailing
lists based on their policies. And although I normally try to resist
this argument (and don't always succeed), somebody explicitly suggested
trying to define a best practice... and if there's ever a time to say
what one thinks the best practice should be, that's it.

>> I want "Reply" to go to the author, and "Reply All" to go to the
>> author, the list, and any other To or CC destinations.  I simply
>> can't understand any other answer.  I don't understand why anybody
>> feels a need for "Reply List".
> Lack of understanding does not mean that other ways are invalid.
> See my comment above for why I want replies to my message to
> /discussion/ lists to go to the list.

Sure.  That's what "Reply All" means.  Like you said, it's a matter of
user education :-)

Let's look at a couple of e-mail messages. (And not bothering to put in
real addresses, or the headers that the mailing list might magically add.)

    From: Sam
    To: Joe, Dave, Jordan

If I hit Reply, the message goes to Sam.  If I hit Reply All, the
message goes to Sam, Joe, and Dave.  (And maybe, depending on my MUA, to
me too.)

Any controversy there?

Now the second message:

    From: Sam
    To: MailingList

In the scheme I prefer:  If I hit Reply, the message goes to Sam.  If I
hit Reply All, the message goes to Sam and the mailing list.  This seems
totally consistent with the behavior above.

In the scheme you prefer (as I understand it):  If I hit Reply, the
message goes to the mailing list.  If I hit Reply All, the message goes
to the mailing list.  There's no way to get the message to go just to
Sam (absent cutting and pasting).  If Sam isn't on the mailing list, he
won't even get a copy.  But most importantly, the behavior is not
consistent with the non-mailing-list behavior above.

Now another message:

    From: Sam
    To: MailingList, Joe, Dave, Jordan

In my scheme, again, Reply goes to Sam; Reply All goes to everybody. 
Consistent with the behavior above.

In your scheme, Reply goes to ... ? Well, it depends.  If this is the
copy of the message that I got through the mailing list, Reply will go
to the mailing list, Joe, and Dave.  If, on the other hand, this is the
copy that I got directly, Reply will go to Sam.  Reply All goes to... if
it's the mailing list copy, it goes to the mailing list, Joe, and Dave;
if it's the direct copy, then Sam, the mailing list, Joe, and Dave.  For
the two replies based on the mailing list copy, the message won't go to
Sam unless he's on the mailing list.

And another:

    From: Sam
    To: MailingListA, MailingListB

For fun, let's assume that I'm on both mailing lists.

My scheme:  Reply goes to Sam; Reply All goes to Sam and both mailing
lists.  Consistent with the behavior above.

Your scheme:  Reply:  If this is the copy I got through list A, it goes
to list A; if it's the copy I got through list B, it goes to list B. 
Reply All:  goes to both mailing lists.  Only goes to Sam if he's on one
of the mailing lists.

Now, when you consider all of those cases, which scheme is simpler and
easier to understand?  Which is less likely to have messages going to
unexpected groups of people, when you spend all day responding to a mix
of all of the types?

And yes, those are all very real cases.  I expect that if I go through
my work e-mail for the last day I'll find examples of each, and I would
be virtually certain if I looked through a week.  (And that includes the
"Sam isn't a member of the mailing list" variants; those are *very* common.)

> In fact, I really dislike receiving the CC when messages are going to
> the list that I'm subscribed to.

Yes, that's a nuisance, but I think it's not nearly as bad as the
alternatives.  It costs me a tap of the Delete key; it doesn't send my
private criticism of the author to his boss.

What's really needed there is a MUA that hides duplicates, though that's
tricky when mailing list software munges the message and the headers.

>> Before DMARC munging, I could have (mis)configured my MUA to ignore
>> Reply-To and mostly gotten the right semantics even on an evil
>> Reply-To:<list> list.  With DMARC munging that's no longer an option;
>> I need Reply-To: <author> on DMARC-munged lists.
> How can you tell the difference between me setting the Reply-To: to be
> the Mailman Users mailing list (which I have done for this email) and
> the mailing list manager doing it?  What do you do in these cases? 
> Not sending the reply to the list is contrary to my desires (evident
> by me setting the Reply-To:) or the mailing list owners desires if
> they choose to munge the reply.  And yes, the mailing list is going to
> munge the From for DMARC reasons.

If you, the author, really want replies that I intend to be private
going to the mailing list, yes, of course you can set Reply-To... and
the mailing list software should leave that alone.

I'm not going to be happy with you when I embarrass both of us by using
the reply habits that work for non-mailing-list mail to reply privately,
and it goes to a group.  You might not be happy with me either, but
you'll get precisely zero sympathy from me; you set it up that way.

Somebody - whether it's you as the author, or the mailing list software
- who sets Reply-To to point to the mailing list, is deliberately
causing *my* replies to go to someplace that I didn't want them to go
to, that I didn't expect them to go to based on all of my habits for
non-mailing-list mail (and the majority of mailing-list mail).

*You* shouldn't be saying where *my* reply goes.

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