[Tutor] Replying to the tutor-list

Carroll, Barry Barry.Carroll at psc.com
Fri Feb 16 17:49:03 CET 2007


I just thought I'd throw my own hat into the ring.  I'm trying out my
new, asbestos-free, flame-retardant underwear.  ;^)

> -----Original Message-----
> Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 08:14:29 -0500
> From: "Michael P. Reilly" <arcege at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Tutor] Replying to the tutor-list
> To: "ALAN GAULD" <alan.gauld at btinternet.com>
> Cc: Tutor <tutor at python.org>
> Message-ID:
> 	<7e5ba9220702160514p7354ccd4idaeae3b61be34f74 at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> On 2/16/07, ALAN GAULD <alan.gauld at btinternet.com> wrote:
> >
> > > However, the "standard behavior" at the time was that
> > > replies went back to the mailing list, not to the original sender.
> >
> > But the mailing list was the original sender so it was all
> > consistent. Reply  goes to sender only, which happens
> > to be the list server...
> >
> > Ah, the good ol' days :-)
> >
> > Alan g.
> >
> > Alan,
> The issue is not what the mailing list does, but what the user expects
> should do.  

I agree.  However, it seems to me that the expectation in this case is
divided into two contradictory positions.  (The division seems pretty
even to me, but that's not necessarily a critical point.)

> Listserv was the first mailing list system from 23 years ago.
> The users expected, as standard behavior, that replies would go to the
> mailing list, not to the original sender.  You had made a claim that
> than 10 years ago (when listserv was still in use) that the standard
> behavior was that mailing lists was that users would reply to the
> sender.  I'm just offering up one, very well-known example to refute

Again, I agree.  That is an excellent counter-example.  To me, it
demonstrates that this division of expectation existed from the
beginning of the technology.  
> Myself, I'm not a person who cares how the mailing list goes.  I'll
> But it does irk me when "standards" are applied because of
> misunderstandings
> of applications.  For example, the usual convention is that people
> their comments below the respondent's.  At my work, they have tried to
> convince me that the "standard" is to put it above simply because
> does that.

Don't get me started on that.  I just got out of a minor fire fight on
another forum over that one. :^(

> When making arguments, please make the arguments on a technical basis,
> on "this was how it has been done in the past".  

I would agree with this, too, if this were a technical issue.  But it's
not.  Read on.  

> If that was the case, then
> all the stuff you get in your mailbox isn't "spam" since spam related
> to cross-posting on newsgroups (anyone remember the Spam Wars?).
> the general collective has decided to expand the standard definition.
> Times change, standards can evolve. Sometimes not for the better.
Make an
> argument for keeping the "standards" how they should be technically,
> historically.

While I agree that appeals to historical authority aren't very helpful
in cases like this, assertions of technical superiority are equally
unproductive.  Again, IMHO, this not a technical issue.  Ring vs. bus
vs. star network topology is a technical issue.  This is an issue of
convenience, which is intensely personal.  The rightness or wrongness of
either position is subjective (purely so, I believe) and technical
discussion does not clarify.  That's why discussions like this so often
turn into religious wars (as this one nearly did a few posts back).  

There is a technical issue that relates, however.  Some posters have
touched on it.  Modern mail and news software should be flexible enough
to accommodate the user's preference in this regard.  A few are,
apparently.  Most are not.  Why not?  What should be done about it?  Who
has a Python implementation that makes the default "Reply to:" behavior
configurable?  Which is the most flexible?  How can it be improved?
These are questions that benefit from technical discussion.  I'd like to
see more posts on these topics, and less on whose personal preference is

> --
> There's so many different worlds,
> So many different suns.
> And we have just one world,
> But we live in different ones.
> ------------------------------

barry.carroll at psc.com
We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals.

-Quarry worker's creed

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