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Re: Reply semantics (was Re: policy around 'wontfix' bug tag)




On 2018-02-06 10:47:30 -0500, The Wanderer wrote:
> On 2018-02-06 at 10:00, Vincent Lefevre wrote:
> 
> > On 2018-02-06 08:49:01 -0500, The Wanderer wrote:
> > 
> >> On 2018-02-06 at 08:18, Vincent Lefevre wrote:
> 
> >>> This is not contradictory with the setting of
> >>> "Mail-Followup-To:".
> >> 
> >> Arguably, if the mailing list does not default replies back to it
> >> normally, a responder who wishes to send a private reply may not
> >> be expecting that Reply will go to the mailing list, and so (when
> >> Mail-Followup-To is set to the list address) may fail to notice
> >> that adjusting the addressee list is needed.
> > 
> > If this is a private reply, the user should just use the "reply"
> > feature of his mailer. The reply will never go to the list. There is
> > no need to adjust anything.
> 
> That conflicts with the idea that the "reply" feature should always go
> to the correct place by default.

No! The "reply" feature *ALWAYS* goes to the correct place, whether
this is a mailing-list or not: to the "Reply-To:" address if present,
else to the "From:" address.

> When replying to a message from a mailing list, unless someone has taken
> actions to cause a different result, "reply" should direct the message
> to that mailing list.

No, this is a "list reply", not a "reply". A "list reply" should go
to the "Mail-Followup-To:" if present (typically the list + users who
wish to be Cc'ed), else to the list only (assuming that the message
has been posted to only one list).

> That is what "replies should go to the list by default" means.

There's no default. There are 3 separate, usual kinds of replies:
reply, list reply (both mentioned above), and group reply, a.k.a.
reply to all (reply to the "Mail-Followup-To:" if present, else
to all, i.e. sender + recipients).

> In fact, I've been assuming in this discussion that setting
> Mail-Followup-To will cause the "reply" feature to direct the reply to
> the address specified in that header. If that is the case, then using
> "reply" will not always produce a private reply; if it is not the case,
> then I'm not sure what good that header would be.

"Mail-Followup-To:" is just for list or group replies, which can
actually be the same in this case.

Note: There is actually a slight difference in Mutt: with list-reply,
Mutt will add the list address if it is not present in the
"Mail-Followup-To:" header; but normally, the list address should be
in this header, unless the goal is to redirect the discussion to a
different mailing-list (e.g. from an announce mailing-list to a user
mailing-list), though unfortunately one needs to use the "Reply-To:"
in practice, for MUA's that do not honor the "Mail-Followup-To:"
header.

> > Users don't want to have to look at the signature. They don't want
> > to add addresses manually. If a user requests that he wants to be
> > Cc'ed and I notice it, then I will tend to do a group-reply instead
> > of a list-reply.
> 
> Using "Reply to All" on a mailing list is usually the wrong thing to
> do, indeed.

No, this is typically what should be used for "bugs" mailing-lists,
and other mailing-lists where most users tend not to be subscribed.

> > unless the Mail-Followup-To is set up correctly, in which case
> > everything is fine: the users who do not want to be Cc'ed won't be
> > Cc'ed; the other users will be Cc'ed. Unfortunately some mailers
> > lose Mail-Followup-To information, but in general, this is better
> > than nothing.
> 
> Can you define what "correctly" would be, in this context, in your view,
> for someone who wants to receive replies only through the list unless
> the person replying is specifically attempting to draw that someone's
> attention?

The "Mail-Followup-To:" is a wish from the user who posted the
message. If he wants to receive replies only via the list, he
will configure his MUA not to put his address there. If some
other user wants to reply to the list and Cc the original user
despite the "Mail-Followup-To:", then he can always add the Cc
manually. But this is not something that should normally be done,
and this is probably useless. If you really want to draw the
original user's attention, then you should do a list reply + a
separate private reply mentioning the post to the list.

> The thing is: no matter what the configuration is, there will sometimes
> be cases when some people have to do manual work to get the right result.

But the point is that this should not be the common case.

> In the overwhelming majority of cases, the correct destination for a
> reply to a message posted on a public discussion mailing list is that
> mailing list. Cases which require private replies (either CCed or
> exclusive) are the exception, rather than the rule.

No. But note that "Mail-Followup-To:" covers the reply to the
list + optional Cc automatically. The only thing the user has
to think is whether he wants to send a reply to the list (+
automatic Cc if need be) or privately.

For instance, since you do not want Cc's to you, you can just
configure your MUA to tell that you do not want Cc's to you
(for this list, for all lists or whatever). Then, if the MUA
of the other users honor "Mail-Followup-To:" as they should,
you will *never* receive Cc's to your address (unless it has
been added *manually*). Isn't this what you want?

-- 
Vincent Lefèvre <vincent@xxxxxxxxxx> - Web: <https://www.vinc17.net/>
100% accessible validated (X)HTML - Blog: <https://www.vinc17.net/blog/>
Work: CR INRIA - computer arithmetic / AriC project (LIP, ENS-Lyon)