FW: [GLLUG] reply to

Edward Glowacki glowack2@msu.edu
15 May 2002 14:54:26 -0400

On Wed, 2002-05-15 at 14:26, Jeremy Bowers wrote:
> Again though, you're telling me to change how I do business, by 
> possibly changing my entire client for this *one* thing, which may not 
> on the balance still be a good thing. In general, telling the user what 
> to do is backwards, and should be reserved as a last-resort measure, 
> when they ask the impossible.

Actually, I said for you to either change email clients *or* request a
proper reply-to-list feature be added to your current email client. 
Option #2 does not require that you change the way you do business.

> I'm not really trying to go to bat on the Reply-To issue; I don't much 
> care, except dammit, I have to change the headers again. The meta-issue 
> does concern me, though: Balancing UI the user expects, versus 
> functionality, versus correctness.

I'm well aware of the UI issues here, but the mailing list doesn't have
any control over the UI, that's the domain of your email client.  If the
mailing list provides the functionality and does it correctly, then it's
doing its job.  Now if your email client doesn't provide the options you
expect or in the way that you expect them, then the email client is

> Why, by the way, would adding a Reply-To header remove your 
> functionality at all? Given
> From: User1@something
> CC: Person2@something, List1@something
> Reply-To: List1@something
> "reply" should go to List1@something, "reply to sender" should go to 
> "User1@something", bypassing the Reply-To, and "Reply to all" should go 
> to everything there.

If you read the link that Dennis sent, it explains what the reply-to is
usually used for and why it's bad to overwrite it.  For example, if I
send messages from glowack2@glowack2.user.msu.edu (my laptop), and you
"reply" or "reply to sender", I'll never receive the message because my
laptop can't receive email.  But if I set the reply-to address to
glowack2@msu.edu and you hit "reply" or "reply to sender", I will
receive the message through my normal MSU account.  Now if linux-user
goes and forces reply-to to the list address, all you are left with to
do a private reply is my non-functional from: address.  

So really, there are 3 distinct actions that can be taken:
- Reply to sender (using reply-to: or from:, in that order)
- Reply to list (to: list-address, ignoring all other addresses)
- Reply to all (reply to sender + all cc: and to: addresses)

A "reply" (with no "to xxxx") should be simply a shorthand within the
mail client that corresponds to one of these three options, or it could
be safely omitted in favor of providing the explicit choice somewhere
within the reply functionality.


Edward Glowacki				glowack2@msu.edu
GLLUG Peon  				http://www.gllug.org
Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality.
                -- Jules de Gaultier