[erlang-questions] : Erlang Book - again

Dmitrii Dimandt <>
Thu Sep 7 13:41:34 CEST 2006

On 9/7/06, Raimo Niskanen <> wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 07, 2006 at 12:42:19PM +0200, Oscar Hellström wrote:
> > Hi,
> :
> :text deleted
> :
> > Could the Reply-to field be set to the mailing list by the mailing list
> > application, this would be very convenient.
> >
> Well, this is the defaul setting for Mailman, and they
> "strongly recommend" it should be so. They also supply a link
>         "`Reply-To' Munging Considered Harmful"
>         http://www.unicom.com/pw/reply-to-harmful.html
So, give me a good enough reason that beats those arguments.

"Reply-To munging does not benefit the user with a reasonable mailer. People
want to munge Reply-To headers to make "reply back to the list" easy. But it
already is easy. Reasonable mail programs have two separate "reply"
commands: one that replies directly to the author of a message, and another
that replies to the author plus all of the list recipients. Even the
lowly Berkeley
Mail <http://www.bsdi.com/bsdi-man/?Mail%281%29> command has had this for
about a decade."

Now, I want to reply to the list, not to a hundred people this "reply-all"
may contain. I also like pressing "Reply", not "Reply All", because
sometimes I simply have no time for realising that I am actually replying
the list, not the person. Life should be made easy, not hard :))

"Reply-To munging destroys the "reply-to-author" capability."

Well, since it is a list, there is very little reason for a reply-to-author.
If somebody eve needs to reply directly to the author, his/her email can be
easily copied from the From: field.

All responses should go directly to the list anyway." This is arrogant. You
should allow *me* to decide exactly how I wish to respond to a message. If I
feel a public response is justified, I'll hit the "g" key and tell Elm to do
a group-reply. If I believe a private response is more appropriate, I'll use
"r" to send one. Please allow me the freedom to decide how to handle a

Well, I am arrogant :) But anyway. Since this _is_ a list, a _natural_
choice, imho, is to set reply-to to reply-to-group.

If responses should return to the sender and not the original author, then
the sender will insert a Reply-To header.

Well, that's what we are doing :) We are sending messages to the list, not
to the original author :))

A user saddled with such a brain-dead mailer can benefit from
Reply-Tomunging. It makes it easier for him or her to send responses
directly to the
list. This change, however, penalizes the conscientious person that uses a
reasonable mailer. This is a poor trade-off. As Internet list
administrators, we should encourage people to run reasonable software.

This is a lame excuse anyway, I think :)

Compare and contrast: the work required for me (or any other Elm user)...
When I hit the "r" key in Elm, it sends a response to the author of a
message. When you munge the Reply-To header you change this action so that
it does something entirely different from what I expect...

Ehm. What's Elm? :) There are literally thousands of mail programs out there
and each behaves differently. Oh. And there's web-based mail, too...

Consider the damage when things go awry. If you do not munge the
Reply-Toheader and a list subscriber accidentally sends a response via
private email
instead of to the list, he or she has to follow up with a message that says,
"Ooops! I meant to send that to the list. Could you please forward a copy
for me." That's a hassle, and it happens from time to time.

More often, I think, there is a situation, when a private email is sent
instead of an email to the list. My opinion is that the program (mailer in
my case) should work or made to work in the way that is most expected of it.
When I reply to the list, it should reply to the list. If I reply to a
person, it should reply to a person. Preferably, with the same function,
reply-to. IMHO, of course :)


Unfortunately their contradicting link
>         "Reply-To Munging Considered Useful"
>         http://www.metasystema.org/essays/reply-to-useful.mhtml
> leads nowhere.
> > --
> > ?Oscar Hellström, 
> > web: personal.oscarh.net
> > jid: 
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > erlang-questions mailing list
> > 
> > http://www.erlang.org/mailman/listinfo/erlang-questions
> --
> / Raimo Niskanen, Erlang/OTP, Ericsson AB
> _______________________________________________
> erlang-questions mailing list
> http://www.erlang.org/mailman/listinfo/erlang-questions
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