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Re: mail-followup-to / mail-copies-to

2005-05-26 06:35:31

Hi Adam,

(NB: I still have to finish reading through all the previous thread Bruce pointed me at).

On Thu, 26 May 2005, Adam M. Costello wrote:

There are several things that would be useful to be able to express.

Note that I'm not particularly interested in generally changing how respondents reply to mails, and what cues they might have as to where to direct replies. It seems that discussion might be long and already well trodden.

I'm interested in solving the problem of a new reply context, "list reply", which many MUAs offer now, for which context there is no good way for originators to indicate a preference of "copy me directly on replies".

AFAICT, all MUAs implementing such reply contexts default to "email the list", where the list mailbox is either statically configured or else deduced from the post-822 List-* headers. All these MUAs (afaict), ignore reply-to in this context, some will allow themselves by influenced by a non-standard Mail-Followup-To header.

That's the problem statement I'm concerned with, no more :).

Here are the ones that spring to my mind right now:

 * What sorts of replies are allowed/encouraged:
   - Prefer private reply.
   - Prefer public reply.
   - Public reply is the only option (From address is bogus).
   - No preference.

   (Mailing lists may want to supply a preference if the author did
   not supply one, but they generally should not clobber the author's
   preference if one was supplied.)

I think this debate is fraught with difficulties if one wishes to achieve consensus.

Note that Reply-To /sort of/ works ok for public reply, if one ignores the "list context reply" of some MUAs. Though, it's a very dangerous thing to set in an email to a list.

(presuming it's a sane list which does not munge Reply-To: to go to list).

 * Where private replies should go:
   - The From address vs. some other address(es).

 * Where public replies should go:
   - To the To/Cc addresses, or to some other addresses?  (For example,
     replies to an announcement list might be directed to a discussion
   - Should the private-reply address be excluded to avoid duplication
     (because the public-reply addresses already cover it), or included
     (because the public-reply addresses don't already cover it)?

For a moment I thought about the ability to indicate that some of the
To/Cc addresses should be excluded from public replies, but in that
case, what are those addresses doing in the To/Cc field in the first

What have I missed?

Not much, AFAICT. But this definitely has been covered previously in detail, without consensus AFAICT.

What I really want is a List-Copies-To type header...

        List-Copies-To: paul(_at_)jakma(_dot_)org

Which MTAs should retain in replies. Which would clearly indicate my preference to be copied on list replies. That would allow my problem with how "list reply" context works in several recent MTA implementations to be solved.

(I guess you could call it "Mail-Copies-To" - but I dont know what problems that header had, and a "List-Copies-To" header seems specific enough in its scope that it shouldn't trod on any of the difficult questions around Reply-To / MFT which seem impossible to achieve consensus on..)

I'm confused by the Mail-Followup-To field in your message. It contains only your address, not the list address. Doesn't that mean that a "reply all" would go to you and nowhere else? Surely that's not what you intended?

Well, I have a vague notion that the old DRUMS I-D on MFT specified an inclusive behaviour on Reply-All, such that both MFT and To/Cc would be used to reply to. But I cant find a copy of the I-D anymore.

The DJB specification, the only one which google can guide one to with any easy, indeed would require me to include all relevant reply addresses in the MFT.

However, mutt seems to reply to MFT and list on list-reply, so it's good enough for me. I'd rather not to have set this vaguely defined and interpreted header though.

I think you want both the list address and your address in

I don't want MFT at all. I just want people to include me in list-replies. ;)


Paul Jakma      paul(_at_)clubi(_dot_)ie        paul(_at_)jakma(_dot_)org       
Key ID: 64A2FF6A
Enjoy your life; be pleasant and gay, like the birds in May.