ietf-822
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Re: mail-followup-to / mail-copies-to

2005-05-27 21:07:27

On Fri, 27 May 2005, Bruce Lilly wrote:

On Fri May 27 2005 21:49, Paul Jakma wrote:

It absolutely is not fine to set Reply-To == list mailbox because of
the *definite* risk of MUAs sending 'private' mails to the Reply-To.

You are confused. Reply-To has semantics of "suggestion for responses",
not "private".

Well, rather several MUAs are confused on this point. (Mine isn't - it asks me whether I want to follow the 'suggestion' of a Reply-To).

RFCs 724, 733, and 822 had some confusing statements. RFC 2822 is much more clear, and was approved with community review and consensus more than four years ago. So this has already happened.

Hmm, 2822 is clearer yes.

It's not clear enough though. Eg, lets just quote from the example 2822 gives:

---------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Mary Smith <mary(_at_)example(_dot_)net>
To: John Doe <jdoe(_at_)machine(_dot_)example>
Reply-To: "Mary Smith: Personal Account" <smith(_at_)home(_dot_)example>
Subject: Re: Saying Hello
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 10:01:10 -0600
Message-ID: <3456(_at_)example(_dot_)net>
In-Reply-To: <1234(_at_)local(_dot_)machine(_dot_)example>
References: <1234(_at_)local(_dot_)machine(_dot_)example>

This is a reply to your hello.
----

Note the "Reply-To:" field in the above message. When John replies
   to Mary's message above, the reply should go to the address in the
   "Reply-To:" field instead of the address in the "From:" field.
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Clearly this example shows how 'Reply-To' can be used to suggest that author prefers replies to go to their smith(_at_)home(_dot_)example mailbox rather than their mary(_at_)example(_dot_)net mailbox.

Where things go wrong is when MUAs try to respond to the following:

---------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Mary Smith <mary(_at_)example(_dot_)net>
To: John Doe <jdoe(_at_)machine(_dot_)example>
Cc: Example list <list(_at_)example(_dot_)net>
Reply-To: "Mary Smith: Personal Account" <smith(_at_)home(_dot_)example>,
        Example list <list(_at_)example(_dot_)net>
Subject: Re: Saying Hello
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 10:01:10 -0600
Message-ID: <3456(_at_)example(_dot_)net>
In-Reply-To: <1234(_at_)local(_dot_)machine(_dot_)example>
References: <1234(_at_)local(_dot_)machine(_dot_)example>

This is a mail to you and the list
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Lots of MUAs will reply to both list(_at_)example(_dot_)net and smith(_at_)home(_dot_)example for 'reply'.

We can try deny the existence of this problem, but then I suspect we'll just have:

- the same dead-locked discussion on this list every now and again
  about the problem

Which will lead to:

- More and more ad-hoc solutions to the problem[1], because of
  dead-lock in trying to have either the cause of the problem
  clarified, or any new solution accepted at an IETF level (ie this
  list :) ).

IIRC a suggestion was floated in that last discussion you pointed me at, from circa august last year, that the From field should always be set to the author's preferred mailbox for replies to the author. Such a suggestion would allow Reply-To to be useful and (eventually, after a long amount of time no doubt) allow me to use it.

Would it be an idea to act on this suggestion?

1. Specifically, more implementations supporting MFT.

regards,
--
Paul Jakma      paul(_at_)clubi(_dot_)ie        paul(_at_)jakma(_dot_)org       
Key ID: 64A2FF6A
Fortune:
Sho' they got to have it against the law.  Shoot, ever'body git high,
they wouldn't be nobody git up and feed the chickens.  Hee-hee.
                -- Terry Southern