[RC5] Reply-to (was: State of the distributed.net Address: Week of 12-28-97)

James Mastros root at jennifer-unix.dyn.ml.org
Mon Jan 5 23:14:53 EST 1998

On Mon, 5 Jan 1998, Colin L. Hildinger wrote:
> On Mon, 05 Jan 1998 13:15:10 +0100, Jo Hermans wrote:
> >hile we're on the subject, can we change the reply-to on this list to the
> >original sender ? Then all replies go to the correct sender, and we're all
> >saved from the meaningless chatting ...
> I've seen this suggested a few times but it's really not a good idea. 
> The best idea is for people to learn to use their email programs (no
> offense intended, Jo).  Every list I've ever been on is set to have the
> list as the reply-to address.  Why?  It's simple: the list is generally
> considered the place where replies to the message should.  It's a
> _discussion_ list so you are expected to discuss.  Occasionally you
> have a private reply to someone and you send it to them.  I haven't
> been paying attention to the people who keep requesting this feature,
> maybe Windows Eudora Pro Version 3.0 (32) handles things different from
> my mailer which askes who I intend to mail it to each time reply-to and
> from are different.  If so then I'd say it's your mailers fault for
> "poor usability."

Interesting... The linux-kernel list (the other list I'm on) isn't this way.
The original from, to, and cc headers are passed on to the recipients.  I
note that there is far less "whops, should have been private" mail.  That
way, the default is still to send to the list, but it's easy to take them
off, and you still have the email of the original sender handy.  To quote
RFC 0821

For systems which automatically generate address lists for replies to
messages, the following recommendations are made:

                o The "Sender" field mailbox should be sent notices of any
		  problems in transport or delivery of the original
		  messages. If there is no "Sender" field, then the "From"
		  field mailbox should be used.

                o The "Sender" field mailbox should NEVER be used
		   automatically, in a recipient's reply message.

                o If the "Reply-To" field exists, then the reply should go
		  to the addresses indicated in that field and not to the
		  address(es) indicated in the "From" field.

Normaly, people just "reply to all", sending copies to the list and to the
original sender (many more non-subscribers post to linux-kernel then rc5, so
this is more of in issue).  If they want to, it is a simple operation to
delete off the list, somthing which is not true with the current system on
rc5 (the Reply-to header was designed to designate a place to reply to
instead of to the From header).

	-=- James Mastros

  Agent K: Humans for the most part don't have a clue.  They don't need one
    or want one either.  They're happy.  They think they have a good read on
  Will Smith (not yet Agent J): But why the big secret?  People are smart;
    they can handle it.
  K: A person is smart; people are dumb, panicky animals and you know it.
     Fifteen hundred years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was the center
     of the Universe.  Five hundred years ago, everybody knew that the Earth
     was flat.  Fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone in the
     Universe.  Just think what you'll know tomorrow.

	-=- Men In Black (1997, Paramount)

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