29 Oct 2004 23:10
Re: Understanding response protocols
Keith Moore <moore <at> cs.utk.edu>
2004-10-29 21:10:05 GMT
2004-10-29 21:10:05 GMT
> I believe it is an "opinion" of whether it is a "propagating a bad > practice" to the user. Yes it is an opinion. More specifically, it is an opinion that is informed by the experience of many people in a variety of situations who each have several years' experience in email and mailing lists. It is something that was not obvious when rfc822 was written but which came to be realized over time. It shouldn't surprise anyone that after using email for 25 years or so, we learned a few things. In a nutshell, the reason that having lists set Reply-To is bad is that it masks the intent of the original author. If you receive a message from a list with a Reply-To field, did the author set Reply-To, or did the list do so? The recipient's decision about whether to honor that field could quite reasonably hinge on the difference. Lists set Reply-To in part because there was a time when many MUAs didn't have the notion of "reply all". (for that matter, some lists used to set From or another return address because many of the MUAs in the environments served by those lists - BITNET/RSCS and UUCP - didn't really use RFC822 headers). So in some sense setting Reply-To is an anachronism that was inherited from obsolete systems. I'd be in favor of giving lists a way to indicate their preference separately from the author's preference (say, List-Reply-To) -- _provided_ that it specified that MUAs don't accept it automatically but instead make it easy for the replier to know about the list's preference and to choose to use it or not. (and no, this isn't the same as List-Post because a list's policy might be that replies go to the author only, or to some other set of addresses). Keith p.s. regarding your arguments and experience: You have given us no new reasons for using Reply-To in this way, you have merely repeated things we have already heard. You like to cite your own experience, but many of us have comparable experience in terms of years working with email in general, and more experience with Internet email. Most of the regular participants of this list have known each other for several years and have learned to respect each others' opinions (we've also learned where our differences lie). I get the impression that most of us have never heard of you until recently. Which doesn't mean that you're wrong, but it does mean that neither citing your experience nor rehashing old arguments is going to convince us that you're right.