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Re: Lists and aliases (Re: Last Call: draft-klensin-rfc2821bis (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) to Draft Standard (1))

2007-12-15 05:37:32

On Sat, Dec 15, 2007 at 12:48:46PM +0100, Arnt Gulbrandsen wrote:

Valdis Klētnieks writes:
I'd be awfully curious to know what use-case it's actually interesting 
if the mail was *delivered* to all recipients, but *not* whether all 
recipients have actually read/processed the message.

Here in Germany there are two kinds of whatsitcalled, the kind of postal 
mail where delivery is recorded. The cheaper kind records delivery into 
the recipient's mailbox. It's used most of the time, so obviously there 
are use cases for it. The expensive kind records that the envelope is 
handed to the recipient personally.

Phrased differently - when is it interesting to know that the mail has 
been delivered into an abandoned mailbox that hasn't been read in 6 

My bank sends me lots of utterly mail that I am supposed to read within 
four weeks. If I don't I lose the right to have mistakes fixed. I'm 
sure the bank would like to know when I first had the opportunity to 
read the mail.

We're talking about mailing lists.  A proper analogy would be a letter
you write to the newspaper, readers forum part or such.

I do *not* wish to know that one or two of their subscribers did not
receive my letter.  I only want to know that the letter arrived at
the newspaper (or not). Return the letter, or publish it. But don't
inform me that they could not redistribute it to all subscribers.

I cannot fix problems between the newspaper and its subscribers.
I do not need to know that {John Doe, 1st street 123, Somewhere} is
unavailable and will read the paper in three months. I also do not
need to know that Jane Doe now lives Elsewhere, please forward mail.

And now an analogy for an alias:

I tell my secretary to send a letter to the people on the "foo" list.
She will make copies and deliver. I do expect her to inform me when
a message cannot be delivered to John Doe.  If it's important for me
to know, I will explicitly give her instructions to do so, and I will
ask receivers to let me know when they read the letter.

Still, for incoming mail (thus: mail from outside, destined to inside)
which happens to be handled by an alias, I do *not* wish to inform the
sender that, eventhough he wrote to 'sales(_at_)example(_dot_)org', the message
was not delivered to 'salesperson7(_at_)example(_dot_)org'.  That's my business,
not the sender's. I don't even *want* the sender to know about these
internal addresses.

In short: I expect that on the internet, with the exception of a few
isolated cases maybe, delivery notifications should always go to the
list admin address (the sender) and never to the person composing the
original message (the author).

In private environments, even when they use the internet for transport,
things may be different. But those are the exceptions, not the other
way around.


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