OT: reply-to munging

Tothwolf tothwolf at concentric.net
Wed Nov 5 18:09:56 CST 2014

On Wed, 5 Nov 2014, Jay West wrote:

> Background for short-timers: There is a recurring debate every year or so as
> to the reply-to headers setting on the list. The way it works now, when the
> list sends out list traffic/posts to each of you, it "munges" the reply-to
> header so that when you hit "reply" to a list post, the reply goes to the
> list. If you want to just reply to the poster directly (off-list), you have
> to go through gyrations like hitting forward and typing in the senders email
> address.
> Taking off my list owner hat... the following is my own personal opinion on
> the topic which shall not be dictated upon the rest:
> I think that's insane, not to mention that I suspect it violates some RFC's
> and breaks the good intentions/functionality of most MUA's. But
> regardless.... if the list was set the other (the normal) way... when you
> get a post you hit reply to reply directly (and only) to the original poster
> and if you want it to go to the entire list - you hit "reply all". I mean,
> come on - that's why mail clients HAVE a reply vs. "reply all" button.
> The only argument I've heard that is vaguely cogent for the current method,
> is that people will often hit reply with a golden nugget of information and
> the rest of the list will miss out on that. The argument on the other side
> of the fence is that having it set the way it currently is causes people to
> very often post things to the list that were meant to be private.
> I am of the opinion that the reply-to should be set to the poster, not the
> list, and let people use their MUA the way it was intended. That being said,
> I'll defer to whatever the majority of folks wish. On the other hand, this
> list is mainly frequented by Grumpy Old Men aka Curmudgeons - of which I am
> most certainly one - and changing this well-entrenched behavior is likely to
> start a religious war which I want no part of :)


Keep in mind that for many of us with text-based clients using hotkeys, 
changing anything that changes the behavior of the email client's reply 
prompts is going to cause headaches with replies being sent to the wrong 
reply address.

Any idea when the last time the reply/reply-to/etc reply-type headers were 
changed? I noticed recently after not posting in quite a long time that 
I'm sometimes missending replies to the original poster instead of the 
list. I'm using the same email client and the hotkeys for replying are 
pretty much done from muscle memory, but perhaps the Alpine/Re-Alpine 
developers made some changes that I missed.

In short, if I want to reply just to the list, I press 'R', 'Y', 'Y' and 
the To: field is (should be) correct for me to reply to the list. 
Similarly, if I want to reply to the original poster directly, I press 
'R', 'Y', 'N', 'N'.

When I press 'R' to reply in Re-Alpine, these are the prompts I get for 

Include original message in Reply (using "> ")?


Use "Reply-To:" address instead of "From:" address?

To      : "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts" <cctalk at classiccmp.org>

--OR-- (I think this depends on the original poster's client sending a Reply-To: header?)
To      : originial.poster at example.com, "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts" <cctalk at classiccmp.org>


Reply to all recipients?

To      : Original Poster <originial.poster at example.com>
Cc      : "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts" <cctalk at classiccmp.org>

To      : Original Poster <originial.poster at example.com>

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