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Old 07-08-2010, 06:30 PM
Tom H
 
Default Reply-To munging summary (was: Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers)

On Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 6:29 AM, Felipe Contreras
<felipe.contreras@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> I haven't seen a summary of this big thread, so I'm going to try to
> write one. I'll focus on Reply-To munging here (orthogonal to
> non-subscribers).

An unsurprisingly biased and inaccurate summary...
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:03 PM
Kwan Lowe
 
Default Reply-To munging summary (was: Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers)

On Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 9:54 AM, Patrick O'Callaghan
<pocallaghan@gmail.com> wrote:
[snip]
> I also agree with the rest of your post (and see no reason to quote it
> in its entirety :-), but I wonder if we're all just rearranging the
> deckchairs on the Titanic when it comes to mailing lists. I have the
> impression that the whole ml thing is actually a poor man's Usenet,
> invented because everyone has mail. Years ago I tried to promote a
> (local) News structure in my University as a medium of discussion, and
> there was just no way I could get people to use it. The old saying "to a
> guy with a hammer, every problem is a nail" applies here. Alternative
> mechanisms such as bboards etc. also just didn't cut the mustard because
> people are *very* reluctant to learn a new tool unless the benefit to
> them (not to the institution) is immediately clear.

Indeed...
I think there are benefits to both, but I admit that I stopped using
Usenet some years ago. Targeted lists such as this one work for me
because the volume of mail is manageable. At the same time, I do
notice that mailing lists tend to make silos of information. This is a
benefit for certain specific information (e.g., purely CentOS related
discussion) but for more general information there is a lot of
duplication.

I've always for some method of aggregating multiple mailman lists into
a custom list. Not certain how it would work, but perhaps a keyword
header would do the trick. I use RSS for some sites, but it would not
work for the volume of mail in a typical list. Right now I am
subscribing to multiple lists and using keywords in the Google mail
client to create topics for my interests (e.g., Xen/KVM, image
editing, etc..). But that means I need to keep thousands of messages
from the dozen or so lists to which I am subscribed.


>
> So now we're having to consider Facebook, Twitter, you-name-it. Yech.
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:20 AM
Felipe Contreras
 
Default Reply-To munging summary (was: Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers)

On Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 8:48 AM, Tim <ignored_mailbox@yahoo.com.au> wrote:
> In my opinion, many lists set the reply-to address because those lists
> are intended to keep replies on the list, and the list managers know
> that most people wouldn't do that if it wasn't preset for them. *People
> will just hit reply, and expect it to do the right thing.

I wonder, how do you think people are able to maintain private
conversations between multiple parties if they "will just hit reply"?

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Old 07-10-2010, 09:37 AM
Felipe Contreras
 
Default Reply-To munging summary (was: Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers)

On Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 4:44 PM, Patrick O'Callaghan
<pocallaghan@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, 2010-07-08 at 13:29 +0300, Felipe Contreras wrote:
>> Also, people that are used to Reply-To munging can get used to
>> clicking "reply to all"; it's a matter of habit, but no functionality
>> is lost.
>
> Why does no-one ever mention "Reply To List" as the proper way to, duh,
> reply to the list?

Reply to list also prevents the advantages I listed as 1) and 2).

And as people already mentioned; not all mail clients support that.
For the behavior of the mailing list in general we should consider
only what virtually everybody uses: "reply" and "reply to all".

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Old 07-10-2010, 01:32 PM
Felipe Contreras
 
Default Reply-To munging summary (was: Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers)

On Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 3:17 PM, Tim <ignored_mailbox@yahoo.com.au> wrote:
> Tim:
>>> In my opinion, many lists set the reply-to address because those lists
>>> are intended to keep replies on the list, and the list managers know
>>> that most people wouldn't do that if it wasn't preset for them. *People
>>> will just hit reply, and expect it to do the right thing.
>
> Felipe Contreras:
>> I wonder, how do you think people are able to maintain private
>> conversations between multiple parties if they "will just hit reply"?
>
> Why do you think people do that? *I put it to you that most people don't
> do any such thing.

Common users don't use mailing lists, Right?

The only way they know to send mail to more than one person is by
adding them to the To address list.

Are you suggesting that common users only engage int 1 to 1
conversations? Or are you suggesting that they never attempt to reply
to group mails?

> In a discussion about using mailing lists, your
> comment is so far off on a tangent that it's not funny.

It is pertinent to know what the common population of email users are
familiar with, as the users of the mailing list would know at least
the common knowledge.

ml users is a subset of common users.

> Outside of a mailing list, the usual way someone sends mail to a group
> is to pile all the addresses into the TO field. *A few more clueful will
> make use of the CC field, but usually the TO field. *Replies will
> usually go to all them, by default.

Are you sure about that? Have you had any group conversation lately?
(without a mailing list)

At least in Gmail, Hotmail, and Evolution I am presented with two
options: "reply" and "reply to all".

If I click "reply", the mail doesn't "go to all of them".

> The slightly clueful wanting to disseminate group mail without using *a
> list server could manually start off by having an address just for it,
> posting TO it, & CCing all the other recipients. *The recipients would
> receive a message addressed to the list, with them on the CC list. *The
> recipients can reply to just the list TO address, and the owner could
> deal with it (simply read it, pass it, or part of it, on to the list,
> etc), or the recipients could reply to all the addresses, or to just
> some of them. *The messiness of that all soon leads to seeing the
> advantage of using a list server that works like the Fedora one (being
> quite automating, distributing all the public mail, not requiring
> moderation).

But common users don't do that. Right?

You didn't answer my question directly:
How do you think people are able to maintain private conversations
between multiple parties if they "will just hit reply"?

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Old 07-10-2010, 08:27 PM
Tom H
 
Default Reply-To munging summary (was: Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers)

On Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 5:20 AM, Felipe Contreras
<felipe.contreras@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 8:48 AM, Tim <ignored_mailbox@yahoo.com.au> wrote:
>> In my opinion, many lists set the reply-to address because those lists
>> are intended to keep replies on the list, and the list managers know
>> that most people wouldn't do that if it wasn't preset for them. *People
>> will just hit reply, and expect it to do the right thing.
>
> I wonder, how do you think people are able to maintain private
> conversations between multiple parties if they "will just hit reply"?

I regularly have conversations with multiple friends or colleagues
where at some point someone hits "reply" rather than "reply to all"
and all but two are cut off.
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:06 PM
Felipe Contreras
 
Default Reply-To munging summary (was: Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers)

On Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 11:27 PM, Tom H <tomh0665@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 5:20 AM, Felipe Contreras
> <felipe.contreras@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 8:48 AM, Tim <ignored_mailbox@yahoo.com.au> wrote:
>>> In my opinion, many lists set the reply-to address because those lists
>>> are intended to keep replies on the list, and the list managers know
>>> that most people wouldn't do that if it wasn't preset for them. *People
>>> will just hit reply, and expect it to do the right thing.
>>
>> I wonder, how do you think people are able to maintain private
>> conversations between multiple parties if they "will just hit reply"?
>
> I regularly have conversations with multiple friends or colleagues
> where at some point someone hits "reply" rather than "reply to all"
> and all but two are cut off.

Exactly, so common users need to know "reply to all" in order to have
conversations with more than one person. It is *common* knowledge.

So members of the mailing list are aware of such "reply to all" common
knowledge.

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Old 07-11-2010, 10:26 AM
Felipe Contreras
 
Default Reply-To munging summary (was: Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers)

On Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 1:23 AM, Cameron Simpson <cs@zip.com.au> wrote:
> It may be common knowledge. It is not reflexive behaviour. People reach for
> plain reply by habit. Happens all the time, very common.

Since you are taking your assumptions as truth, I'll do the same:

The only people that have a "reply" reflexive behavior are the ones
that know that "reply" will work most of the time: people subscribed
mostly to munged mailing lists that don't receive group mail.

The people that are on non-munged mailing lists don't have that
reflexive behavior; either they never developed it, or they grew out
of it.

And the common population don't have that reflexive behavior either;
they click sometimes "reply", sometimes "reply to all", but sometimes
they make mistakes, not out of reflexive behavior; they just forget.

> Personally I think mail readers should have buttons labelled "Reply" (meaning
> reply-to-all) and "Reply only to author" (meaning what the button labelled
> "reply" usually mean now).
>
> It is _usually_ better to reply-to-all in ad hoc groups like the above
> example, and also better to reply-to-all in one-to-one conversation
> (where the buttons mean the same thing).

True, but that's irrelevant, what's relevant is how most of the
clients behave *right now*.

> So I, for one, would advocate going back in time and changing the
> "default" reply button's meaning. Then the situation that _drives_ the
> common list configuration of the reply-to would not be as prevalent.

I agree with that. However people can learn. Even a monkey quickly
learns to press a new button for food, and stop pressing the old one
which now gives electroshocks.

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Old 07-12-2010, 10:57 AM
Felipe Contreras
 
Default Reply-To munging summary (was: Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers)

On Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 1:29 PM, Felipe Contreras
<felipe.contreras@gmail.com> wrote:
> I haven't seen a summary of this big thread, so I'm going to try to
> write one. I'll focus on Reply-To munging here (orthogonal to
> non-subscribers).

Sorry for replying again on this thread, but I found a few more arguments:
http://woozle.org/~neale/papers/reply-to-still-harmful.html

Reply-To munging is against RFC 2822:
---
When the "Reply-To:" field is present, it indicates the mailbox(es) to
which the author of the message suggests that replies be sent.
---

See the word *author*; the list software is not the author.

So the standard is violated.

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