[TriLUG] Reply-To munging
lovelace at wayfarer.org
Tue Jan 8 14:49:09 EST 2002
On Tue, 2002-01-08 at 13:22, Christian J Hedemark wrote:
> Oh no... not this again.
> You can't please everyone. Generally people feel pretty strongly in either
> direction. But there is no one camp overwhelmingly in favor of one over the
> *Most* mailing lists (not all, but certainly more than half) default replies
> back to the list. We're not doing anything unusual here.
Most? Hmmm... I'm on at least 7 mailing lists right now
(not a high number, but it's been more in the past...)
and only this one and the Mandrake Cooker list have reply-to
munging. One of those lists being a list I have run since
August of 1994 that has a subscriber base of over 500.
I contend that the vast majority of lists do not do reply-to munging.
If you can show proof I'm wrong, please do.
The main reason I put forward for not having reply-to munging
is that of "The Principle of Minimal Bandwidth" (which btw, is
one put forward for reply-to munging in someone's reply at
If you don't do reply-to munging, then the person has to make
a conscious choice to use up people's bandwidth by sending e-mail
to the list. How many people out there remember early newsreaders
(circa 1992-1993) that, when you wanted to post, gave you a warning
that the message would probably go to thousands of people on
Usenet and were you really sure that you wanted to send this?
It made you think, perhaps just a little bit longer, about
whether you really wanted to say what you had said, which I
personally think is a good thing.
List discussion will happen whether or not the list has reply-to
munging, so saying that the list is intended to promote discussion is
why we have reply-to munging is a red herring at best and disingenuous
Just in case someone thinks that the above url is a good argument
for reply-to munging, here are my reasons why I don't agree:
>RFC 822 and "Text Message Teleconferencing"
RFC 822 was written in August of 1982, almost 20 years ago.
The internet is a very different place now, and just because
something seemed like a good idea then doesn't mean it is one
> The Principle of Minimal Bandwidth
Like I stated above. I believe this is just wrong. Reply-to
munging forces e-mails back to the list, thereby increasing
the bandwidth usage.
> Reply-To Munging Adds Something
The author seems to think that without reply-to munging
you can't reply just to the list. Instead you must reply
to either just the person or the person *and* the list.
But, in fact, it is very easy to remove the person's
address when doing a group reply. Far easier, in fact,
than having to go back and look for the persons address
and replace the list address with it. So, I maintain
it does *not* actually add anything, and in fact *does*
take something away.
> It Doesn't Break Reasonable Mailers
I disagree. The author give the example of Kmail and
says to reply to the author you can just right click on
his/her address. The problem with this is that what
I usually want to do is quote the author and replying
in this manner very often doesn't give you that option.
> Freedom of Choice
Completely wrong in that reply-to munging forces
you to jump through a lot of hoops to not send something
to the list.
> Some Mailers are Broken
I agree that some mailers are broken, but this is not a
good reason for reply-to munging. A list address is often
more easily remembered than an individual's e-mail address
and I contend that it is much easier for someone to type
in the list address than to have to figure out who's address
they should change the reply-to munged list address to.
> People are Responsible for Their Own Mistakes
Yes, people are responsible for their own mistakes, but the
administrator is also responsible when they make it easy
for a user to make that mistake. The author's answer show's
a complete lack of caring about his mailing list users.
The author also goes on to give the argument that the
list is "intended to facilitate discussion on a given topic"
which I spoke about above.
His last point is "It's What People Want", which is obviously
not true. Some people want it and some don't. There are no
verifiable statistics about who wants it more. As I stated above
I have run a mailing list since August of 1994 and my
users were and are very much against it. That's my counterexample
(which if you know about the scientific method you know that it
only takes one counterexample to disprove a hypothesis).
So, finally, I still maintain that it's better not to have it.
Tanner Lovelace | lovelace at wayfarer.org | http://wtl.wayfarer.org/
GPG Fingerprint = A66C 8660 924F 5F8C 71DA BDD0 CE09 4F8E DE76 39D4
Those who are willing to sacrifice essential liberties for a little
order, will lose both and deserve neither. -- Benjamin Franklin
History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times
of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to
endure. -- Justice Thurgood Marshall, 1989
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