Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(August 1996)

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Subject: Re: Reply from Compuserve
From: Jim Osborn <jimo @ eskimo . com>
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 1996 16:23:35 -0700 (PDT)
To: james @ sagarmatha . com, list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM

james @
 sagarmatha .
 com (James C. Armstrong) writes:
>A while back, I mentioned that I was forced to move Compuserve
>subscribers on my mailing lists to digest format because of Compuserve's
>lack of adherence to accepted Internet standards.
>:> When someone sends a message to a mailing list, it should have the
>:> header changed as follows:
>:> ...
>:> Reply-To: is set to the address of the mailing list.

Really bad idea to point the Reply-To: at the list.  Aside from the
mail-storm potential James describes (and you can't always trust the
non-subscriber-post filters to prevent them), keep in mind that some
subscribers may need their own Reply-To: headers, so that they can
receive email.  A number of my subscribers' ISPs force From: lines
on them that aren't valid reception addresses, and there's nothing
they can do about it, except add a Reply-To: line with their
correct address.  If my list had its own Reply-To: line, they'd be
out of luck.

This is not to condone Compuserve's misconfiguration, but they're not
the only misconfigured ISP out there.  Why subject your list to
this risk of a mail-storm?

Another reason to avoid Reply-To:s is social:  many a flame war has
been contained by having those heat-of-the-moment remarks go only to
one recipient.  If they'd been sent to the entire list, the resulting
storm of the various sides shouting each other down can cause good
people to unsubscribe.  Better it takes a tiny bit more effort to hit
the whole list, when minds aren't thinking clearly.

jimo @
 eskimo .

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