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From Edison Su <>
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 01:07:21 GMT
Sorry guys:), I changed my mind after reading the whole thread and the explanation from Alex,
better to revert back to old mailing list mechanism.

From: Marcus Sorensen []
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2013 4:25 PM
To: Sheng Yang
Cc: Frank Zhang; Brett Porter;; Animesh Chaturvedi; Alex Huang;;
Edison Su;;;; David Nalley;;
Chip Childers
Subject: Re: [VOTE] Revert back to old mailing list mechanism, which would add "Reply-To:
mailing list" to every mail it send out

*irony* I wonder how many people will reply just to Sheng with their vote :)

I don't really care about the RFC violation, I don't think there's any reason to be compelled
to adhere to it just for the sake of sticking to a standard.

I would prefer that conversations that begin on-list stay on-list, and without the reply-to
things inevitably migrate away from that into branch conversations. To me, since the ASF encourages
all discission on list, the mailing list should work more like a forum. Private conversations
can still be originated off-list.

However, I understand the concerns and I'm personally willing to just try to remember to reply
all. I agree that's what most people would expect.

I'll vote +1, but its not the end of the world if it stays the way it is :)
On Feb 7, 2013 5:00 PM, "Sheng Yang" <<>>
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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