can someone point me to the list instructions please ...

David Woodhouse dwmw2 at
Sat Aug 31 17:09:37 EDT 2013

On Sat, 2013-08-31 at 20:46 +0100, Rob Dixon wrote:
> On 30/08/2013 23:10, David Woodhouse wrote:
> > On Fri, 2013-08-30 at 13:59 +0100, Mable Syrup wrote:
> >
> >> I'm sure there must be something, but I can't find it.   I want to
> >> reply to different items in a thread in a manner that preserves the
> >> threading.
> >
> > I don't really understand why this is an issue. It's all really really
> > simple
> I'm sorry David, but I find this very offensive.

Before we continue, I would ask you to watch this video:

Watch it from 3:20 to 5:45. Before reading any further, please.

> Mable has a problem understanding the complexities of replying to a post
> using his SMTP client while keeping to the list's rules.
> I'm pleased that you understand the whole thing comprehensively yourself
> but, as you reply goes on to demonstrate in your post, it is a horribly
> complex business.

You seem to think that I was impugning Mable Syrup's intelligence when I
said it was simple. You're wrong; I wasn't.

The thing is, this stuff *isn't* that complex, fundamentally. People
*make* it complex — for reasons which I don't understand, as I said.
The trick is to see the gratuitous complexity for what it is, and ignore
it or gloss over it.

Take the private vs. public reply options, for example. It's dead
simple, right? The private 'reply' button goes to the sender, the 'reply
all' button goes to everyone.

But some list admins decided that their users were too stupid to manage
to press the right 'reply' button according to whether they wanted to
reply publicly or privately, so they muddy the waters by hijacking the
*private* reply button to actually send a public one. No wonder people
end up confused!

If you *don't* see that list configuration as a stupid error, and you
try to come to a sane understanding of how 'reply' vs. 'reply all' works
which takes this silly list behaviour into account, you will fail. There
is no sanity; no way of understanding it that makes sense.

Then take the question of whether to include the original sender and the
other recipients when you reply to their message, or whether to drop
them from it. Again, it's really quite simple if you think about it;
here's that URL again. If
someone doesn't want two copies and *really* suffers from OCD badly
enough that they can't just ignore one of them, they can easily filter
out the 'duplicates' automatically. But if you *drop* someone from the
recipients and they don't receive the message at all (or with a delay,
by which time the conversation has moved on), that is a *much* worse
thing to do.

When some people try to convince others to avoid the 'duplicate' copies
of the messages, they are again introducing gratuitous complexity.
They're asking people to use this new 'reply-to-list' option, or even
worse, perhaps to manually edit the list of recipients to remove the
sender of the original message. Regardless of the fact that it's the
*wrong* thing to do in the general case, it's also more complexity and
it makes the whole thing harder to grasp.

Again, you need to see it as the gratuitous complexity that it is. And
when you look at things that way, it's actually quite easy to understand
the issues.

That's what I'm saying. I wasn't saying that Mable Syrup was stupid.
Not that it is your place to take offence on his/her behalf if I *was*;
I am somewhat stunned at your arrogance in thinking I would care!

> It is wrong of you to belittle those who are unfamiliar with SMTP and
> have to ask for advice. I am certain that there is a field where what is
> "obvious" baffles you completely.

Oh, there are plenty of those. I am incompetent in *most* fields, and
competent only in a few. This is true for fairly much everyone, surely?
It isn't *news*, or even worthy of comment?

> Until very recently, this list was a generous and encouraging place.
> Please lets not start the "I'm clever and I know good" wars.

This list is intended to be a *helpful* place. Let's keep it free of
further off-topic conversation, please.


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