[sf-lug] Ubuntu release ("back on-list" sub thread)

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Apr 27 21:17:51 PDT 2008

Quoting bobbie sellers (bliss at california.com):

> Of course I am totally ignorant of technical matters but I belong
> to two other mailing lists run on different softwares which enable the
> reply to all as standard....

No, reply semantics is always and everywhere the same.

1.  Your "Reply" command reaches just the sender.
2.  Your "Reply-to-All" reaches the sender plus his/her other addresses.

You should always use Reply-to-All when responding to ongoing mailing
list threads.  Use Reply _only_ when you have some compelling reason to
depart from the mailing list into private mail (and then please do
explain your sudden insistence on having a private discussion with
someone who thought he/she was participating in a public one).

The only mailing lists on which that doesn't work are those going out of
their way to sabotage your ability to send private replies.   On those, you 
must take manual further steps to overcome the artificial obstacle.
(That scenario is illustrated below.)

> ...which through Thunderbird permit me to reply to individuals.

False.   Let's say that Alice sends mail to an SF-LUG list that munges
Reply-To:.  She composes:

  From: Alice
  To: sf-lug at linuxmafia.com

Her mail hits the mailing list software, which auto-appends a forced
Reply-To: header, as follows, and then remails a copy to
bliss at california.com (with a different exterior envelope header, not

  From: alice
  To: sf-lug at linuxmafia.com
  Reply-To: sf-lug at linuxmafia.com

Please notice that, obscuratanist technopeasant drivel by Ernest about
the mailing list address being the true "sender" notwithstanding, that
is in fact _not_ the case:  Alice remains the sender.

You (bliss at california.com) duly receive your copy in Thunderbird, and
you hit "r" to "reply to individuals" -- which fails, because
Thunderbird, honouring the Reply-To:, redirects your private mail back
onto the mailing list.  The _only_ way, in that scenario, you are able
to send offlist mail to Alice is by manually intervening to throw away
the default reply address (which means you must first notice that you've
been sabotaged in your intent to send private mail), and substituting
Alice's address, e.g., from your address book or by typing it in.  Or,
equivalently, you could eschew reply commands entirely and use
Thunderbird's "forward" command, again putting in Alice's address
manually (e.g., from your address book or by typing it in).

Either way, you are having to perform extra work to get around munging's 
sabotaging of private replies.

> This list is the first where I have to make sure I pick the mailing list 
> address....

No.  Wrong.  You do not have to "pick the mailing list address".  Just
use your mail program's Reply-to-All command, as above.

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