[texhax] headers from texhax

Brian {Hamilton Kelly} B.Hamilton.Kelly at rmcs.cranfield.ac.uk
Fri Oct 3 11:12:49 CEST 2003

[I'm catching up with some old articles from TeXhax]

Karl Berry wrote:
> Hi Phil,
>     Any chance of getting a standard "Reply-To:" field in the header to make
>     replying to the texhax list work with a standard email Reply function?
> Well, all mailers should default to using the From: address if there's
> no Reply-To:.  That's the behavior defined in the standards, as far as I know.
> What mailer are you using?  (Perhaps reply to me off-list.)

Which results in a reply going ONLY to the inquirer; the rest of the list
never see such a reply, and may unnecessarily re-answer the same query.

> I actually thought that mailman did (by default) insert a Reply-To: with
> the same address as the From:, but it seems not.

That wouldn't be of any help at all, for this situation, would it?

> If you mean to insert a Reply-To: to the list, as opposed to the poster
> -- that wouldn't work, because part of the purpose of this as a "general
> discussion list" is to allow anyone to post, including people who aren't
> subscribed.

Fairy Nuff; however, it's a bind to have to (a) remember to use "Reply All"
rather than just "Reply" and (b) to remove all other addressees apart from
that of the list and that of the previous poster.  Moreover, as a subscriber
to the list, one ends up with TWO copies if a reply comes directly and
another via the list.

When I set up the UKTeX mailing list at Aston about 15 years ago, all
outgoing mails had a Reply-To added which, in the case of a message having
arrived from someone who was a subscriber to the list, consisted only of the
list's address.  But for mails arriving from non-subscribers, the Reply-To
contained TWO addresses (RFC-[2]822 permits a list of addresses in Reply-To,
separated by comma and LWSP): that of the sender, so that the non-subscriber
would get a reply, and that of the list, so that other subscribers could see
when a question had already been answered.

An added complication was that this was all running under Vax/VMS, so the
list software was all written by myself, as .CMD command procedures in DCL
(which can be a very powerful programming language; perl-hackers eat your
heart out!).  Moreover, at that time we had to handle both JANET Grey-Book
Mail and RFC-822 (sometimes headers of both in one mail).

Surely the present mailing list software could provide a similar facility? 
Or don't the authors of such software think of such tricks these days?  (I
noticed that another widely-used list, Majordomo, is too stupid to handle
"mail delayed" warnings in a sensible fashion: that was something else my
DCL code handled very elegantly.)

Brian {Hamilton Kelly}                                            
bhk at dsl.co.uk

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