This Mailinglist - another vote for sanity

Kevin O'Gorman kogorman at
Thu Jan 13 18:48:49 UTC 2005

On Thu, 13 Jan 2005 11:53:21 -0500, Eric Dunbar <eric.dunbar at> wrote:
> > > I get really bored with this sort of pedantic argument -- this is like
> > The origin is the sender and not the list. Once again. A reply should go
> > to the sender. That's the purpose of a reply.
> > > Except that you're missing the point entirely... it is the *minority*
> > > that want to answer only the sender... the *majority* would want to
> >
> > You are not the majority. There is a half dozen, maybe a dozen, who
> > > No, you should go and see a therapist about your attitude mate! You are
> > > *so* patronising, and it is unnecessary. This "I am right, so all you
> > > thickos should stop posting" is not helpful at all.
> > Thanks for the offence.
> > Do you have such a bad characteristic that you must offend other people
> > if they don't have the same opinion?
> > Here we know a saying: Someone who sits in a glasshouse shouldn't throw
> > stones.
> Not to pick on the individuals who happen to be quoted (just random
> sampling from the most recent e-mail)!
> There are now a lot of flames and patronising posts appearing in this
> thread (mostly between a select few individuals)!
> (a) we have no idea how many people support/oppose reply-to-sender,
> reply-to-list;
> (b) there have been a lot of opinions on where a reply should go,
> sender or list;
> (c) silence does not imply consent (only yes means yes) or agreement
> with any particular point of view;
> (d) changing or retaining the current behaviour of reply-to will not
> result in a mass exodus of expertise (I don't think any of us are
> really that petty);
> (e) most of us really don't know our derriere from a hole in the ground; and,
> (f) I suspect even more don't CARE.

I don't suppose it really matters, but if I had to vote, I'd go with defaulting
to a list-reply.   I'm just not that impressed with preserving the
original intent
of a particular header.  The world changes, and it moves on.  That's just so
you know.

What really strikes me here though, is that all this heat suggests to me that
something more basic is wrong than a problem in a default.  Most of the
mail-related RFC's came before the current explosion of email lists; I think
they mostly came before the internet explosion -- when usenet and email
were both mostly carried by UUCP (remember that?), and most of this kind
of chatter was in newsgroups.  These are still around, but I haven't read any
of them in some years -- they got drowned in chatter and flames.

Perhaps because others have the same take on the current state of usenet,
there are a great many mailing lists around.  I think it's time to realize that
this is a new thing.  It's not exactly the same as "normal" email.  It's not
intended to be personal.  And I think it needs its own paradigm, to be
implemented in list software /and/ in clients.  And until that happens, I
expect the bi-monthly flamewar in most of the lists I frequent.  I
live with that
in about the same way I live with the uncertainty about how to respond to
/this/ particular list item, depending on which list it comes from, not much
helped in the current case by the absense of a tag in the Subject line that
some list software inserts.  I'd put it there myself, but it breaks
the threading
on gmail, where I read all mailing lists.  There's another thing I think should
be standard, for mail lists only.

So consider this an invitation for all flamers to think a bit farther
outside the

++ kevin

Kevin O'Gorman, PhD

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