[maemo-users] OT: Mailinglist Reply To All (was Re: [Fwd: Re: Skype video?])

From: Peter Flynn peter at silmaril.ie
Date: Fri Jan 18 03:12:00 EET 2008
Matt Emson wrote:
> Why does Thunderbird always send to individuals rather than the list for 
> this mailing list? Weird!

It's due to a grotesque misunderstanding.

It's an article of faith among strict mail gurus that replies should 
always go back to the sender, and any variance from this is regarded as 
meddling (see the rant at http://www.unicom.com/pw/reply-to-harmful.html)

A discussion list (where readers expect replies by default to go back to 
the whole list) should automatically set a Reply-To pointing at the list 
address, unless the sender has included an explicit Reply-To of their own.

A notification/announcement list should set the Reply-To back to the 
sender (again, unless otherwise specified by the sender).

The argument that readers should use Reply-to-all for the purpose of 
sending a reply to the list, or that they should use a mail program with 
a special Reply-to-list is entirely fallacious, and based on the 
assumption that only console mailers like ucb/mail or character-cell 
mailers like elm, pine, or mutt are "real" mailers and that anyone using 
GUI mailers is inherently in the wrong. The supporters of the 
reply-to-sender default regard adding a Reply-To to the list as 
pandering to the broken mailers of the world (of which there are many).

A normal mailing-list reader should NOT have to make a mental decision 
each time they write a reply: the Reply-To header ought to have been set 
appropriately by the mailing list.

But it won't change. It's up to the owners of mailing lists to set the 
appropriate default at the time the list is set up. All my LISTSERV 
lists, for example, are set appropriately for the type of list involved.


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