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RE: Replying to the users of users@subversion.tigris.org

From: Gale, David <David.Gale_at_Hypertherm.com>
Date: 2006-10-30 15:01:29 CET

Duncan Murdoch wrote:
> On 10/30/2006 8:05 AM, Gale, David wrote:
>> Tremal Naik wrote:
>>> Hello,
>>> Apologise if this message is inappropriate.
>>> I noticed that simply replying to a message in this mailing list
>>> doesn't actually send the reply to the subversion mailing list, but
>>> only to the user who originally posted the message.
>>> Is this a behaviour that occurs only to me? Or is a custom use of
>>> this list to hit the "reply all" to send back the responses to the
>>> public list as well?
>>> This would be different from all the lists I subscribed before. And
>>> it requires the user remembers to hit the correct button. Which
>>> hardly happens if you are used to send/receive many email messages.
>> Oddly enough, that's the way the list is designed, and mentioning it
>> (or suggesting that a flag of some sort, say "[SVN-ML]", be added to
>> the subject line of mailing list e-mails) tends to bring out the
>> people who clearly think that a) all other mailing lists (which have
>> the list in the "From" field, and which flag their messages in the
>> subject line) are broken, because there's no official standard which
>> requires it,
> Assuming you didn't just mistype those parentheses: It's not at all
> true that all other mailing lists put the list in the From field.
> Moat of those I subscribe to do what this list does. Only one or two
> don't. I prefer the ones that put the author in the From field,
> because my
> mail reader displays Subject, Sender (the From field), Date, and I
> like to know who wrote each message.

"Sweeping generalizations are always wrong." I should've been somewhat
less sweeping with my language, and for that I apologize; however, this
is the only list I've ever been on which did not flag the subject line,
and which is not set up so that hitting "reply" sends to the whole list.
So, in my experience, both of this are standardized, even if not
formalized, though there are clearly exceptions (this list being the
only one I'm familiar with). If you have to put up with a significant
number that hide the fact that they are, indeed, from a mailing list
(much less which list they're from), and instead expect you to be savvy
enough to filter on typically non-visible parts of the header, you have
my deepest sympathy.

I'd also like to take the time to point out that, while most of the
people who're subscribed to this list are by definition fairly
technical, there are a fair number that aren't; while we can expect the
technically savvy users to know how to set up appropriate filters to
sort their incoming messages into convenient folders, not everyone knows
how to do so. So recommending that people just set up appropriate rules
inherently states that we don't want non-technical people on this list,
which I find disheartening for a "users" list.

> and b)
>> one of the more common mail readers (Outlook/Outlook Express) is
>> broken because it doesn't give its users access to portions of the
>> message header which indicate that the messages really are from the
>> mailing list. And suggesting that changing the way the list
>> operates to conform more to standard usage, even if not strictly
>> necessary according to "official" web standards, is frowned upon.
> I think you're wrong that sending "From: users@subversion.tigris.org"
> would be standard.

My apologies (again); I typed too fast. I didn't mean to recommend
changing the From field, but rather the Reply-To field, such that users
(again, including the non-technical ones) could merely hit "reply" and
have their messages go to the list. I've seen a fair number of times
where a conversation has had to be gently "re-added" to the mailing
list, and fairly often users have to be reminded to reply to all. Is
this really worth the pain?

> I think adding a marker to the subject line is pretty standard, and
> would be a good idea.


>> As you may have guessed, I think that this attitude is hopelessly
>> backwards, unhelpful, and simply annoying. (The vast majority of the
>> e-mail traffic I get from this list ends up in my spam filter; it'd
>> be trivial to ask the guy managing the e-mail system to "whitelist" a
>> specific address, or even a certain string in the subject line, but I
>> haven't been able to get him to whitelist based on hidden fields in
>> the message headers.
> Now I can't resist pointing out that it's you (or your company) who
> have decided to hide those fields. At the time the message leaves the
> mailing list server, all fields are visible. It's a user agent
> decision to hide some of them.

Sure, if I wanted to read through the entire e-mail header, everything's
visible. I mean, the e-mail protocol is plain-text; I could read the
stream directly, and I'd be able to figure out what's going on. My
company doesn't go out of its way to hide any data from us, though it
does mandate using certain tools, which prevent me from reading the raw
text headers of each e-mail I receive. Er, well, "prevent" isn't really
the right word; rather, "enable"--I don't want to read those headers,
and aside from this particular mailing list, I have no reason to.

> > This is a remarkable inconvenience, and has
>> periodically made me question the worth of being on the list, though
>> I haven't yet reached the point where it outweighs the periodically
>> useful information I get from it.) But, unfortunately, those
>> zealots are loud enough that the maintainers of the list have
>> consistently refused to change the system.
> Perhaps you should limit your request to something that wouldn't
> inconvenience others, e.g. to putting the [svn] label in the subject
> line.

How would changing the headers so that users can hit "reply" rather than
having to remember (or be reminded) to use "reply all" inconvenience


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Received on Mon Oct 30 15:02:52 2006

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