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

From: Duncan Murdoch <murdoch_at_stats.uwo.ca>
Date: 2006-10-30 15:15:30 CET

On 10/30/2006 9:01 AM, Gale, David wrote:
> 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.
> Thanks.
>>> 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
> others?

That comment was about the suggestion that you apparently didn't (or
didn't mean to) make: putting the mailing list in the From: field.

The question about whether replies default to the list or the author is
different. I like Karl Fogel's writeup on it:


and agree with him. Not everyone does, and I guess you don't.

So I'd suggest separating these two issues: just about everyone would
agree that tagging the subject line is a reasonable idea. Lots of
people think changing Reply-to is a bad idea. It's the first of these
that would fix your main problem, so why confuse the issue by asking for

Duncan Murdoch

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Received on Mon Oct 30 15:16:26 2006

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