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

David Woodhouse dwmw2 at
Sat Aug 31 17:38:14 EDT 2013

On Sat, 2013-08-31 at 21:50 +0100, Colin Law wrote:
> I don't think it is odd, again on most of the lists I subscribe to
> posters prefer not to get two copies, so Reply is the right thing to
> do.

Have you actually read through the reply-to-list page that I have posted
a number of times now? I talk below about the Reply-To:list thing in
terms of the failure mode, and this one is exactly the same — it's a
choice between a trivial harmless annoyance which the recipient can fix
for themselves if they care, vs. a complete breakdown of communication
by cutting people 9and entire mailing lists, when threads are
cross-posted) out of the discussion.

It's not about the relative probabilities of each failure mode in a
known set of people (which varies wildly with the constituency, of
course); it's about how *bad* it is when each one happens.

But I've been over that a few times as well as writing it up on the web
page with clear examples, so I'm not sure that repeating myself again is
going to be entirely fruitful.

> > If you want to reply to everyone, hit 'reply all'.
> >
> > If you want to reply to the sender *privately*, hit 'reply'. And then
> > check whether the list is misconfigured and has hijacked your private
> > reply with a Reply-To: header. *THIS* is the time you care about how the
> > list is set up, not when you actually *want* to reply to the list.
> Whatever the rights and wrongs of how a list /should/ be setup the
> fact is that many users think of a post as having come from the list,
> not from an individual, and hence expect Reply to go to the list.  The
> proof of this is the number of times posters here get it wrong and end
> up sending to the individual. 

Yes, you are entirely correct. Many people do have that misconception.

>  I don't think there is any denying that more users get it wrong on a
> list configured as this one is than get it wrong on a list
> mis-configured as you described. 

I don't think anyone has claimed otherwise.
What I've said is that the *failure* mode is different, as you say:

>  Also the result of a user getting it wrong on this list is that it
> does not go to the list, 

Which is always harmless. If you accidentally hit 'reply' when you meant
to 'reply all', you can always resend the message to the list later.

Quite *why* you'd be hitting the private reply button when you meant to
do a public reply, *even* on a list with a Reply-To: set, I have no
idea. These users bring it upon themselves, by doing the *wrong* thing.

But yes, I know people do it. Perhaps it's that extra 2 centimetres with
the mouse, or pressing the Shift key at the same time as Ctrl-R, that is
prohibitively difficult?

> on the misconfigured list the result of getting it wrong is that
> the post goes to OP and the list.

And this failure mode can be extremely embarrassing, or potentially even
catastrophic. It's rare, but it can and does happen. If you hit your
*private* reply button, compose a message that you really did *need* to
remain private, and hit 'send' without realising that your message has
been hijacked by an abusive Reply-To: header on the list, then that is a
*much* worse failure mode than the one above.

Basically, it's not about the number of users who get it wrong either
way. It's about how bad the failure mode is.

> > (Some mail clients like Evolution will automatically detect the abusive
> > Reply-To: setting and allow you to automatically ignore it so that your
> > private reply and public reply buttons always do the expected thing,
> > btw.)
> That all depends on what the user thinks the 'expected thing' is.  One
> users expected thing is another users confusion.

Yes, very true. I really wish the Reply-To: list setting had never been
invented, and corrupted people's expectations.

But even with that in mind, I expect my 'reply all' button to reply to
everyone, regardless of the list configuration. That is the correct
button to use, to reply in public. No exceptions. Even if I *did* expect
the private 'reply' button to do the same thing most of the time, I
don't know why I'd ever come to *rely* on that expectation. What would
be the point?

It's only if I use the private 'reply' button that I have to be careful
that it's doing what I want.


-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: smime.p7s
Type: application/x-pkcs7-signature
Size: 5745 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the get_iplayer mailing list