[LINK] Maintaining the link list

Craig Sanders cas at taz.net.au
Mon Feb 21 12:35:08 AEDT 2011

On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 11:45:39AM +1100, Birch, Jim wrote:
> 2.  I'd like to see the primary reply address as the link list with
> other authors available via reply to all.

this is what's known as "Reply-To: munging".  It causes far more
problems than it "solves".


in short, it:

 - destroys the ability of the author of a post to set their
   preferred Reply-To address, potentially making it *impossible* to
   send them a private reply. (see comments on relevant IETF RCSs below)

 - maximises potential harm from a reply.  a public reply that
   is accidentally sent privately is no big deal - just send it again 
   to the list.   no harm done.

   OTOH, a confidential or sensitive reply accidentally sent to a list
   could be disastrous for the sender (and/or the "intended" recipient) -
   and there's no way to send it.

   setting Reply-To to point to the list makes that potential for
   disaster the default behaviour.

 - doesn't even "solve" any problems because there aren't any email
   clients left that don't have a Reply as well as a Group-Reply or
   List-Reply button.

   BTW, some mail clients have both a Group-Reply aka Reply-To-All
   button (which addresses the reply to every address in the To/From/CC
   headers), and a List-Reply button (which uses the List-Post: header).

   mutt, for example, uses the l key for list-reply and the g key for
   group-reply. and the r key for reply.

Relevant IETF RFCs:

see RFC-2822. the mention of Reply-To in this RFC (which
replaces/obsoletes the much older RFC-822) clears up any ambiguity about
the purpose of the Reply-To header by clearly stating that it is for the
use of the AUTHOR of a message.

RFC-2369 documents email headers for mailing lists, including the
List-Post: header.

Mailman supports RFC 2369. in fact, it was one of the first MLMs to do


craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>

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