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Re: Bart's proposal

1997-07-09 23:45:33
[ Again I'm cutting and pasting from the imc archive. ]

On 9 Jul 1997, D. J. Bernstein 
(djb(_at_)koobera(_dot_)math(_dot_)uic(_dot_)edu) wrote:
} Your proposal does not solve the fundamental problem: the reply-to-all
} addresses always include the reply-to-author addresses.
} Think about the usual case of a subscriber sending a message to a
} mailing list. He typically wants reply-to-all to go to the mailing list
} alone, while reply-to-author goes to him alone. This is impossible if
} the reply-to-author address is included in reply-to-all.

I disagree on what the fundamental problem is.

The fundamental problem is NOT the behavior of reply-to-all.  The *really*
fundamental problem is that reply-to-all is the wrong function to be using
in the first place.  The only reason that reply-to-all gets used, aside
from the Berkeley Mail historical baggage of the meanings of `r' and `R'
as commands, is because the simple reply function is unable to produce the
correct result.

Rather than attempting to get all MUAs to redefine reply-to-all to do a
less-inclusive thing, which I find unlikely, let's get them to redefine
simple reply to do a more inclusive thing, wherein the author of the message
being replied to gets to define what is included.  Yes, this COULD be done
today with Reply-To IF mailing-list servers didn't munge it.  But given the
reality of mailing-list servers, Reply-To is not a reasonable choice.  That
is the entirety of my proposal.

} I'm talking about convenient _default_ recipient lists. The user is
} of course free to send mail wherever he wants.

I'm talking about convenient default recipient lists, too.  The basic reply
command ought to be where one gets those convenient defaults.  Reply-to-all
ought to be the way the user sends mail wherever he wants (e.g., find all
the possible addresses for me, and let me edit some of them out).

There is no proposal that solves the reply-to-all problem without requiring
a change to MUAs.

Keith's proposal (as we're calling it, since he hasn't actually pronounced
either of us correct in our interpretations) would change the way MUAs
implement reply-to-all, but doesn't introduce new syntax.  That is good in
some senses, but bad in that it changes the interpretation of old messages.

Dan's proposal changes reply-to-all and labels the change with new syntax,
but requires knowledge of mailing-list membership on the part of sending
MUAs in order to operate conveniently.

My proposal extends both reply and reply-to-all, labels the change, and
requires no new knowledge in sending MUAs.

Both Dan's and Keith's proposals change reply-to-all by limiting it to a
subset of possible destination addresses.  This is beneficial to recipients
who don't want multiple copies, on the assumption that users continue to
use reply-to-all.

Dan's proposal encourages users to continue using reply-to-all, because a
simple reply still won't do the job.  I think this is unfortunate.

My proposal (I believe) encourages users to switch to simple replies, and
encourages MUA implementors to make simple reply be the convenient default.

Bart Schaefer                                 Brass Lantern Enterprises    

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