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From Chiradeep Vittal <>
Subject Re: [VOTE] Revert back to old mailing list mechanism, which would add "Reply-To: mailing list" to every mail it send out
Date Fri, 08 Feb 2013 01:18:46 GMT

On 2/7/13 4:00 PM, "Sheng Yang" <> wrote:

>Hi all,
>I'd like to call for a vote for reverting back to the old mailing list
>mechanism, which would add "Reply-To: mailing list" to every mail it
>send out.
>And I need to declare that I would vote *-1* on this revert.
>Whatever you voted in the previous mail, I suggested to read the whole
>mail before vote.
>Here are some backgrounds:
>1. What's "Reply-To" header
>Defined by IETF RFC 5322(the latest version of "Internet Message
>Format")[1], 3.6.2 Originator Fields:
>When the "Reply-To:" field is present, it
>   indicates the address(es) to which the author of the message suggests
>   that replies be sent.
>Which means, this option would override the default behavior of
>replying mail, to send out mail to the specified mailing address
>(mailing list address in this case) rather than original author of the
>2. What's the old mailing list mechanism
>Long ago, many people familiar with other mailing list like LKML or
>libvirt realized there is no way to use reply all to the author and
>this mailing list as we did before on this mailing list. The mail only
>goes for the mailing list address, not for the author. That's because
>in the past, this mailing list(cloudstack-dev) added "Reply-To" field
>to all the mail it sent out, which would override the original author
>field when others reply the mail. So something like this would happen:
>Event: A wrote mail X, send to mailing list.
>Result: X reached other subscribers of mailing list, with "From: A"
>and "Reply-To: M" (mailing list).
>Event: B replied the mail X.
>Result: X reached other subscribers of mailing list, with "From: B"
>and "Reply-To: M". There is no A mentioned in this mail's header. A
>would have to check the mail from mailing list to know B replied.
>3. What's the new mailing list mechanism(which is happening now).
>The "Reply-To" has been discard. So every mail come along would go
>back to it's author as well as the mailing list.
>Event: A wrote mail X, send to mailing list.
>Result: X reached other subscribers of mailing list, with "From: A" and
>"CC: M".
>Event: B replied the mail X.
>Result: X reached other subscribers of mailing list, as well as A's
>mail box directly, with "From: B" and "To/CC: A, M". A would see that
>in his inbox directly.
>4. What's the pro/con of the old approach(I won't vote for this, so
>you know this may be bias). :
>a. Enforcement: It would enforce every communication happened in the
>mailing list.
>b. Fix the broken mail client: You don't need to have a mail client
>support "Reply-to-all" for involving the mailing list.
>a. Violate RFC 5322. RFC 5322 said clearly that ONLY "author" can
>suggest to use "Reply-To" for an alternative address of receiving the
>reply. Mailing list server is NOT the author of the mail.
>b. Inefficient: Everyone would setup a filter for mailing list would
>need to dig the mailing list from time to time to see if there is a
>And here is an very old article on explaining why "Reply-To" is bad
>thing to do[2]. You can read if you're interested in.
>5. What's pro/cons of the new approach:
>a. Efficient: Author would receive the mail addressed to his mailbox,
>so he would know that's a reply(from the mailing list) immedately.
>b. Consistent: When you in the thread for multiple people, you won't
>expect "Reply" single would reach all the people. That's why most
>people always use "Reply-to-All" by default in their daily life.
>c. Keep people in thread. Even if you're at a long weekend and don't
>like to be bothered by mailing list but someone replied you on one
>month old thread, you would know immediately.
>d. More involving: People don't need to subscribe to the mailing list
>to involve. Like Wido pointed out, most mailing list is doing this
>because they encourage the anticipating, even temporarily. You don't
>need to subscribe to the mailing list to involve in the community, but
>you still can choose to do so if you think it's good enough for
>New comer's mistake: It happened when one just begin the community
>life. Someday he hit "Reply" rather than "Reply-to-all" by mistake.
>Then mail didn't go to the mailing list.
>6. My opinion:
>a. Inefficient is unacceptable. I don't want to spend any unnecessary
>time to look through all the mails to find out what's my interested
>in, especially when I am in a tiger team and had worked for more than
>12 hours a day.
>b. Man made mistakes, but they learned quickly after that. I've
>learned that as well. In fact I suppose most people would use
>"Reply-to-All" in the company or daily life, so I don't think it's
>hard. Anyway, I set "Reply-to-All" by default in all my mail clients,
>and I expected most of us have done the same.
>c. Some people said it would encourage offline discussion. I distaste
>this thought most. It seems you shouldn't been given freedom to choose
>because we didn't trust you can do the right thing. But it's the trust
>which build the community, and it's the freedom all Open Source/Free
>Software about. "Free as in freedom". Yes, this approach just make it
>easier for people to discuss offline, but does it matter? If you don't
>trust the people would able to do the right thing, I am afraid even if
>you tried every method you have to enforce it, they won't help a bit.
>Community is about people, not about the mailing list. Offline discuss
>can always happen if people want. Community is an spontaneously
>organization, not an prison, or Soviet Union. People have right to
>choose. If you cannot believe they would do the right thing if you
>give them choice, then this open source community is already done. The
>Linux kernel mailing list or xen-devel or kvm-devel or libvirt or many
>other famous mailing list, do it in this way, and none of them hurts
>because of "encouraging offline discussion".
>I vote -1 on this change.

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