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MUA Mail Options for a Mailing List [was Re: non-member messages to lists]
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruce Lilly" <blilly@xxxxxxxxx>
> > I responded that's a possibility, but by far in most cases an author
> > wants responses sent to him via the mailing list, not directly, so that
> > ought to be default behaviour for this kind of advanced mailing list
> That makes little sense; a person subscribes to a mailing list
> specifying his email address as "the address that was subscribed".
> If he posts a message to that list and some reader responds "to
> the address that was subscribed" (however he is supposed to be able
> to determine that -- it might not be the mailbox in the author's
> From field), that response goes solely to that address and the
> list is not involved in any capacity -- either in the transmission
> of the message from respondent to the author or in expanding that
> response to the list (since the response isn't sent to the list
> mailbox). If a respondent sends his response to the list mailbox,
> it is expanded to the list, including "the address that was subscribed";
> that's what a list expander does, and "default behaviour" doesn't
> enter into the matter. That happens regardless of and independently
> of whether or not the author in question provided any recommendation
> for where responses should be sent.
Bruce I think the issue does relate to the default behavior" for two type of
standard (or BCP) email reply concepts:
"Reply to Sender"
"Reply to All"
and how these two MUA "standard" reply actions are handled or "prepared" by
I mean, lets take a step back and understand the the list concept is still
based on a email concept. So to help facilate the MUA, the list handler
should prepare the headers to best provide the most meaningful or correct
behavior as expected by the user.
The problem as I see it is that we have a standard for 1-1 (direct) email
messages, but no standard for a list distribution to handle the above two
reply options. I can see this in comparison with the list server handling
this IETF-2822 list and our list server. Both are doing slighty things in
preparing headers so that the two actions are slightly different.
Atleast I see the different with the Outlook MUA in how it does the above
two reply actions depending on the mailing list server.
In one case (the list server used here), the "Reply to Sender" will go to
the author. In our list server, the "Reply to Sender" goes to the list
I guess the difference is that we make sure the "Reply-To:" address is
properly set in the distribution.
Is that more correct?
The way I see it, Yes and No.
Yes, I think it is more technically correct when you think about what is the
real reply address the message should to when sending to the list.
No, when you think about the ergonomics of the current standard MUAs which
not trained to understand a mailing list message.
The user sees "Reply to Sender" well, one can say that the list server used
here is more correct as far as "meaning" of the action. The problem is to
write to the list, the user must use "reply to all" and then either ignore
all the addresses prepared or clean it up to just use the list address. I
would venture the majority of people over time will get tired of the editing
and just use whats there, hence all the direct and list mail going out.
With our list server, the "Reply to Sender" goes to the list address. But
what if the user wanted to so send a private message directly to the author?
He needs to do the "Reply to All" and hope that the personal address is in
list. Unfortunately, atleast with Outlook the "Reply to All" does not grab
the "From:" address.
In this regard, I would say our list server makes it more difficult to send
direct. The user has to understand whats going on and copy and paste the
From: address from the message properties.
Of course, it is all due to getting things to work right "by default" for
the common MUA.
So I think maybe it may help us to get to a point where we might want to
outline design requirements for a modern MUA to better understands a
mailing list? What would be new MUA desireable reply or new mail options
for an mailing list?
By understanding what are the MUA needs, then we can better work with the
backend, and list servers to help make this happen and also possible come up
with new proposals.
If this makes sense with all, I can begin with the following:
a) Does a MUA need to detect a Mailing List Message as oppose to a just a
pure email message?
b) If so, what headers can assist the MUA to detect a mailing list message?
c) What are the most desirable reply/new mail options for a mailing list?
Reply to List (very similar to a news Reply To Group idea)?
Reply to Directly to Author?
Reply to All?
Is that enough? How about follow ups?
Follow up to List?
Follow up directly to author?
Follow up to all?
Does that make sense?
Anyway, I would love to someone agree with this approach. Maybe this can
be a start in helping set a new set of MUA standards for groupware concepts.
Hector Santos, Santronics Software, Inc.