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rfc2822bis -- adding clarifying Sender: text

2008-01-15 11:31:18

This is not about a problem with the current text, but rather a bit of confusion started by RFC 733 that might benefit from some clarifying language.

I see the confusion rear its head regularly and think it time to have some text that tries to help people understand the difference between information and its encoding...


3.6.2.  Originator fields
   The originator fields indicate the mailbox(es) of the source of the
   message.  The "From:" field specifies the author(s) of the message,
   that is, the mailbox(es) of the person(s) or system(s) responsible
   for the writing of the message.  The "Sender:" field specifies the
   mailbox of the agent responsible for the actual transmission of the
   message.  For example, if a secretary were to send a message for
   another person, the mailbox of the secretary would appear in the
   "Sender:" field and the mailbox of the actual author would appear in
   the "From:" field.  If the originator of the message can be indicated
   by a single mailbox and the author and transmitter are identical, the
   "Sender:" field SHOULD NOT be used.  Otherwise, both fields SHOULD

Add after this:

Note: The Sender (responsible agent) information is always present. The absence of the "Sender:" field merely means that the information is redundant with the "From:" field, so it is not redundantly encoded into a separate field. The absence of the "Sender:" field sometimes confuses readers into believing that the Sender responsible agent information has not been specified explicitly.


  Dave Crocker
  Brandenburg InternetWorking