[Mailman-Users] Reply-to options not working

Grant Taylor gtaylor at tnetconsulting.net
Tue Jan 30 14:46:20 EST 2018

On 01/28/2018 09:40 PM, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> OK.  But I'm not saying "always."  I'm saying that this would DTRT for me 
> a very large proportion of the time, and for AOLers, about 100% of the 
> time to 6 sigmas.

I think that's a question of corpus.  DTRT for you is different from 
DTRT for me which also likely differs from other subscribers to this list.

> Others have used the word "right".  From the point of view of the 
> Internet, there's no "right" off the Internet, and MUAs are off the 
> Internet.

Just because an MUA isn't on the Internet, does not mean that it 
shouldn't play by the same or very similar rules.  Further, where an MUA 
is run, be it a fat local client like Thunderbird, or a think web client 
like Gmail, shouldn't change what the MUA does.

> The question is desired behavior, and whether that desired behavior can 
> be achieved efficiently (little information to remember, few keystrokes, 
> etc) and mnemonically for a given set of users who desire that behavior.


> In the end it's an empirical question.  Unfortunately it's hard to get 
> information about the target population (it's not Mutt users!) without 
> getting the algorithm into one of the big MUAs.

I would go so far as to say that this is likely something that should be 
a user definable configuration.  Which means that MUAs should understand 
multiple operations and let the end user decide what they want to do.

> Mutt and Gnus have had that for as long as I can remember.  But there's 
> always a huge constituency for a one-button do-what-I-mean function. 
> "It's obvious what I want, why doesn't this stupid software get it?" 
> I think this algorithm provides that function.

The more we discuss this and the longer that this thread goes on, makes 
me think that this should be a user configurable action that the MUA 
prompts the user for what they want to reply to in the ambiguous case. 
Likely with some tuning and parameters to reduce the number of pop ups.

> Where is List-Post a conformance issue?  You add it if you want to inform 
> people and MUAs where to post, and you don't if you don't.

I don't think me adding the List-Post header to a message going into a 
mailing list will work out very well.  -  I expect that the MLM would 
munge it (if configured to add the List-Post header itself) or remove it.

> I'm saying we can exploit a high correlation between "availability" 
> of posting to the list (the RFC semantics of List-Post) and a desire to 
> direct discussion (ie, replies) to the list.

I think that it would be nice to express such a desire.  However I don't 
think the List-Post header is for that purpose.

> It has been a user education issue for 40 years in my experience, though. 
> At some point we need to accept that users are ineducable.


I still believe that user are the root cause of much angst.

> I'm suggesting that there should be four functions (reply to author, 
> reply to list, reply to all, and "smart" reply).  I suspect that for a 
> lot of users, "smart" reply will be all they ever use.


There are a number of people eating Tide pods too.  I can't help them 
and I'm getting tired of Darwin taking too long to help them.

> Taken seriously that would mean you believe that UI/UX design is 
> impossible.  You actually deny you believe that, and I can't go down 
> that road.  Most users are not willing to design their own UI.

I think you misunderstood what I was saying.

I was saying that I think it's wrong for us to make assumptions about 
what other people do, and to further turn those assumptions into belief 
that they will do what we think.

UI/UX design can help with some, if not many, things.  But the users 
have to have a fundamental understanding of what they are doing.

Without said fundamental understanding, the very best UI / UX will still 

Users may not be willing to design their own UI, but many do choose the 
UI that they use.  Thus, there is choice involved.

> If I thought this was just me, I wouldn't have posted.  I've been 
> observing the concerns of mailing list owners for two decades, and I 
> believe that if this algorithm were used in all major MUAs, there would 
> be no demand for Reply-To munging.

Maybe, maybe not.

Grant. . . .
unix || die

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