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Re: Code of Conduct on the Debian mailinglists

Wouter Verhelst <wouter@debian.org> writes:

> You know, I use a mail program. Replying to people is in my fingers
> as "hitting a button". A very specific button, especially for that
> purpose.  I expect my MUA to Do The Right Thing (TM).

Most MUAs will do the right thing when you reply; they'll send a
message to the single person who wrote the message. The person who
wrote the message can indicate where this single-person reply should
go, by specifying header fields such as 'From' and 'Reply-To'.

Many MUAs also have a separate specific facility, for replying to
*every* address related to the discussion. This is fine for a group of
individuals, but problematic for a mailing list, since one of those
addresses will be the mailing list address itself, and then some
people get two copies -- one individually (which usually arrives
first, since it has less processing time) and one from the mailing

With mailing lists, there's a third kind of reply needed, a "followup"
to continue the discussion. This usually should be sent to the mailing
list address, and to people not on the mailing list but who want to
receive followup responses.

We can't use the mailing list address for this: that misses anyone
who's not subscribed but wants followup messages.

We can't use the Reply-To field in an existing message: that is
specifically for *individual* responses to the person posting the
message. This is completely wrong for followup messages intended for
all interested parties.

There *is* no header field recommended by the IETF that meets this
need. We use Mail-Followup-To because it actually meets the need
described above.

 \      "My interest is in the future, as I am going to spend the rest |
  `\                       of my life there."  -- Charles F. Kettering |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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