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Re: Mailing list readership (was: Re: lynx-dev How to Lynx)

From: clemensF
Subject: Re: Mailing list readership (was: Re: lynx-dev How to Lynx)
Date: 9 Apr 2002 14:11:51 +0200

> David Woolley:

> > automatic reply systems go further and fail to understand Precedence:
> > completely and need replacing even more seriously.
> I have a feeling that Exchange/Outlook doesn't understand Precedence at
> all.

at this point, and for practical reasons i'd say implementors/users would
have to balance what's there and what's desired.

what's there regarding detection of mailinglists in order to make use of
automatic reply systems:

x.  the precedence header.  it has been in use for decades now.  it was
    designed to be meaningful in the context of UUCP, where it
differentiated between urgent and not-so-urgent items.  given a certain
value it is impossible to reliably judge if the item in question is a news
post, a private email or list-traffic.

x.  the followup-to header.  origin:  usenet.  unusable for emails, but
    important maybe for email-news-gateways.

x.  reply-to header.  it fails to differentiate between personal and list
    mail.  usable, but only if users and list maintainers reliably use it
to redirect emails strictly for personal use.  many list maintainers don't
see or don't care for the difference between personal use and list use,
some set it mandatorily, this is a bad habit especially with majordomo

x.  mail-followup-to.  this header, together with reply-to, implements
    what's needed.  but it is "new" in that it exists for only ten(?)
years, and since unix-admins of old-trade tend to be "micro$oft" like if
they think they know it all, it is used rarely.  users could use
mail-followup-to to direct topic-related comments, and reply-to if they
prefer to receive their email at places different from their from line.

what's desired:  a way to differentiate the three cases appearing before
our eyes:

- where an email originated (from header),
- where personal replies to the originator go, if different (reply-to
- where topic-related or "list replies" go (mail-followup-to header)

as can easily be seen, the precedence header doesn't make sense here, it is
meant for an entirely different purpose:  to indicate to a mail-transport
system which items should be processed as soon as possible.

i forgot to mention one case:

x.  personal taste :)  this ain't fun :)

i've been operating an automatic rejecter to tell people to keep off my
back with HTML.  it worked flawlessly, until...  i subscribed to a list
with many people using HTML, that at the same time used reply-to to
redirect communications to the list.  this exposed my rejection message to
the list, and although it was only one single line, it caused trouble
because it carried a custom from line valid for a limited time period.  the
maintainer of the list admonished me, but i defended myself saying the
rejection messages would go to the originator only, _or_ to the address
indicated in the reply-to header.

list members told me i'd have to debug my scripts myself and shove it some
place.  the administrator put me on "approval required".

two weeks later the adminsitrator told me that he himself had put in a
mandatory "reply-to: list" header way back when he took over.

and that was the end of it.  i took my script out of operation, i read HTML
email now instead of not bothering at all with it (most of it is SPAM,
which was the reason to set it up on the first place), neither the list nor
the internet as a whole is better off, only spammers achieve to put their
scum before mine eyes, causing me to report them.

clemens fischer

"Be careful not to step in the Microsoft!"  -- John Denker

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