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Re: Improving the handling of conversations in Internet mail

1993-12-09 05:02:11
rhys(_at_)cs(_dot_)uq(_dot_)oz(_dot_)au writes:

2. A new heading field Followup-To

The concept is well-meaning, but the name is wrong.  Don't reuse Followup-To
for something new.  Mail is routinely gated to news and news is routinely
gated to mail, so there is a very good (100%) possibility that a mail message
with your kind of Followup-To line could end up on news and cause havoc for
millions of news readers across the globe.  Some news reading software was
sent into a spin a while ago because someone created a newsgroup with a
colon in its name: such a simple thing.  Followup-To is a critical line for
news software, so changing its meaning will create interoperability problems
for years to come.  If you must have this functionality, choose a new name
for it.

I do not understand how use of Followup-To in mail would cause any havoc
in Netnews. You will have to explain this havoc to me.

My intention is ***not*** to propose a new use of Followup-To in mail,
but to use it in mail in the same way as it is already used in Netnews.
I.e. if you send a message to two mailing lists, you can use Followup-To
to direct comments on it to only one of the lists. Also, using Followup-To
is a way of saying that you are yourself a member of the list, and need
not get any replies as personal mail direct from the author to you.

This would not cause any problem in gatewaying to netnews, but would
rather make such gatewaying easier, by using Followup-To in a consistent
manner for both Newsgroups and Distribution lists.

(In fact, I would like to merge the functionalities of Netnews and mailing
lists into one composite service. The present proposal is a small step
in that direction.)

Personally, I can't see how Reply-To can't handle redirecting replies to
a mailing list if it is really needed.  Also, all mailers I've used have
two reply functions: one which goes just to From/Reply-To, and the other
which goes to everyone on the From/Reply-To/To/Cc lines. 

It is just because most mailers have these two different reply commands,
that there is a need to clarify how "Reply-To" should interact with the
two different reply commands. This is in fact a FAQ which occurs regularly
in header-people and similar groups. The agreed response to this FAQ
is that "Reply-To" indicates a replacement for the "From" field in
creating replies. "Reply-To" does not indicate a replacement for
all the recipients of the replied-to message.

This would require changes to every mailer in existence to make it widespread
enough to be effective.  Do you volunteer to do this work?

Is it your opinion that mail standards should never be made better
because everyone will not implement it? I volunteer to ensure that
the work is done for the mailer I am responsible for!