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From "Brian W. Fitzpatrick" <f...@red-bean.com>
Subject The reason I am against setting Reply-To (was Re: [VOTE] on Reply-To on legal-discuss)
Date Wed, 16 Feb 2005 22:19:03 GMT
On Wed, 2005-02-16 at 13:31 -0800, Ralph Goers wrote:

> I'm +1.  I'd like to know why others on not in favor of this.  I use 
> Thunderbird on Linux and it still wants to reply to the person, not the 
> list. It's very annoying to have to remember to reply to all and then 
> delete the individual.

I'll state very clearly the primary reason why I am against setting
Reply-To on this list (even though it would appear that I am in the
minority here).

Scenario 1: A private message.

Let's say that Harry writes something to the legal list, and Sally wants
to reply to Harry, and *just* to Harry.  She hits "Reply-To" in her
mailer and writes a very personal email to Harry about some confidential
information that no one else should know.  She hits send.  

If Reply-To IS set to go to the list (as RoUS is proposing), her
confidential and very private reply can accidentally go to the list.
This can be extremely embarassing (or worse) for both Harry and Sally.
*** The default can cause grave harm to Sally. ***

If the Reply-To IS NOT set to the list, Sally's reply just goes to
Harry--no big deal.  

Scenario 2: A public message

Let's say that Harry writes something to the legal list, and Sally wants
to reply to list.  She hits "Reply-To" (instead of "Reply-To-All") in
her mailer and writes a public email to the list.  She hits send.  

If Reply-To IS set to go to the list (as RoUS is proposing), her public
reply goes to the list, just as she intended.

If the Reply-To IS NOT set to the list, Sally's reply just goes to
Harry.  No big deal.  This may be annoying since she has to resend the
reply to the list, but there's nothing "dangerous" about this failure
case.  
*** The default can annoy Sally. ***


Based on the above example, I think that having the Reply-To set on a
list can be a terribly dangerous thing to do--in one case the default
annoys you, but in the other, the default can harm you.  It seems
obvious to me that the default that can cause harm should never be the
default.

I have seen Scenario 1 played out several times, and it was not pretty
(once it was done by the editor of a technical magazine!).

-Fitz, done campaigning against "Reply-To" for the day.

PS My feelings against Reply-To have *nothing* to do with getting
duplicate copies of a message or taking a discussion off list--it is
solely because the failure case with Reply-To set can be really really
bad.



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