Mailing List Archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [tlug] Yahoogroups replacement

Jim Breen writes:

 > The option is normally hidden (grrrr); you have turn on an
 > "Advanced Options" button at the top of the group control panel
 > then scroll way down umpteen pages to find than some extra choices
 > have arrived. (I wonder what smart-arsed dweeb decided that was
 > good form design?)

Jon Postol, I suspect.

There's a long history here.

Reply-To is for author's use.  It is not intended for list use.  It
never has been, and that has been reaffirmed at least 4 times (RFCs
822, 1123, 2822, and 5322, and maybe 733 as well -- I don't recall if
Reply-To was standardized before 733).  There's a perfectly good
alternative (Mail-Followups-To) which is standard for Usenet, but
standardizing it for mail gets killed every time by the folks who
abuse Reply-To to direct replies-to-author to lists rather than
authors.  If they had just bit the bullet in the mid-90s when Jamie
Zawinski (IIRC) proposed it, and got MUA maintainers to implement it,
we'd all be in a better world now.[1]

Mail-Followups-To does have the problem of all too often directing
private messages to public fora, but at least it wouldn't also screw up
authors who have sufficient discretion to use private mail when
appropriate and/or know how, when, and why to use Reply-To themselves.

In the same way, all of the mailing list software in the world has
been forced against its better judgment to implement this misfeature,
and so MLM developers occasionally get complaints that private
messages have inadvertantly been sent to public fora.  It's pretty
annoying, since we wouldn't allow it if we had a reasonable
alternative.  (Mailman added it because so many sites had a patch for
it that we got bombarded by people complaining that their patch was
getting overwritten by updates, more so---and far more persistent---
than the misguided folks whose dicpics got published to the Internet
at large.)

So we end up implementing it, but doing what we can to discourage it.

I've come to the conclusion that for many lists like TLUG it's
reasonable to direct traffic to the list (although personally I have
often found it painful, eg, when someone like Curt Sampson goes off on
oddball languages like Haskell and Commodore 64 retrocomputing, I'd
rather embarrass myself to only one person by asking questions).  But
I don't have to like using Reply-To to do it. ;-)  See also
for a similar take on top-posting.

[1]  Getting MUA maintainers on board is probably not so hard as

advocates of Reply-To munging would make it seem. MUAs-for-the-rest-
of-you could simply make a one-line change to treat Mail-Followups-To
exactly the same as Reply-To.  MUAs-for-those-who-know-how-when-and-
why could then take advantage of both Reply-To and Mail-Followups-To,
as a few already do (and get screwed up by lists that hijack Reply-To).

Home | Main Index | Thread Index