From: Mark Fowler Date: 11:11 on 12 Sep 2003 Subject: Reply-To Okay, this is the 21st Centuary right? Why don't email clients have the ability to send and parse more meta-data about who the correct _people_ to reply to are? I'm not talking about the Reply-To header in my email, which as we all know can only say which email address the person should reply to if they want to send info to the entitiy that sent the original mail. I'm talking about setting a reply to for whole sets of people. Typical example. Someone sends out a list to a whole bunch of people saying "Drinks at my place, mail me if you're coming". Why can't they set some headers that mean that if someone hits reply on thier mail client then it automatically replies to them and just them? (rather than forcing the decision of reply to sender or reply to all on the person that recieves the mail) Same situation, but on getting my invite I notice that they've forgotten to put the date of the meeting. Currently I have to email everyone in the group to say "Oi, mate, what date?" so the original sender can reply with "Oh deary me, I am *so* sorry, I meant the third wednesday of the month." What would be nice is that I can reply to the original sender and set the default reply to send to everyone in the group. I mean, the other members of the group don't need to know she's forgotten the date - they only need to see the reply with the correction. You get the idea. But no, our software is dumb. And so my inbox is full of crud. GAH.
From: peter (Peter da Silva) Date: 12:04 on 12 Sep 2003 Subject: Re: Reply-To > Typical example. Someone sends out a list to a whole bunch of people > saying "Drinks at my place, mail me if you're coming". Why can't they set > some headers that mean that if someone hits reply on thier mail client > then it automatically replies to them and just them? address = mailbox ; one addressee / group ; named list group = phrase ":" [#mailbox] ";" mailbox = addr-spec ; simple address / phrase route-addr ; name & addr-spec phrase = 1*word ; Sequence of words word = atom / quoted-string So what you're supposed to do is: From: My Name <email@example.com> To: "My Name's Drinks List" :; Then if you want to let people know what's in the list, you can add it in a user-defined header or in the body of the message, say at the end... Distribution: hates-software mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com > What would be nice is that I can reply to the original sender and set the > default reply to send to everyone in the group. I mean, the other members > of the group don't need to know she's forgotten the date - they only need > to see the reply with the correction. Reply-to: "My Name's Drinks List" : name name name ; > But no, our software is dumb. Probably so, I mean this has only been in the standard for 20 years. If programmers blithely ignore user interface design rules that are 20 or more years old, why the hell do you think standards will fare any better? Software sucks, that's why we're here.
From: Phil!Gregory Date: 16:34 on 12 Sep 2003 Subject: Re: Reply-To * Mark Fowler <firstname.lastname@example.org> [2003-09-12 11:11 +0100]: > Why don't email clients have the ability to send and parse more > meta-data about who the correct _people_ to reply to are? Largely because no one's standardized it. Take your pick from From: (standard, single person only, may not be where you want replies to go), Reply-To: (also standard, long history of being altered by mailing lists, may be your alternate email address but not where you want group replies to go), Mail-Followup-To: (dead draft standard that some MUAs follow, if they feel like it), and Mail-Reply-To: (if you're Dan Bernstein). They all suck, for one reason or another. And realistically, the situation's not going to get better, because no one really wants to alter entrenched standards by adding more fields. De-facto standards aren't going to arise, either, because MUAs are too disparate and, in many cases, too convinced of their own rightness to work with others. (Witness the flamewars between PGP/MIME people and text/plain PGP people, and that one is an RFC. (That would also make a nice rant. Note for future.)) > [Example: mail to a group of people] Mail-Followup-To: should work here, provided everyone's MUA supports it. > [Example: correction on a group mail] Given support, you reply to the sender and set your Mail-Followup-To: header to the group. Of course, you could also abuse the Reply-To: header to the same purpose. (Or could you? Can you put multiple addresses in a Reply-To:? Too lazy to check.) > But no, our software is dumb. And so my inbox is full of crud. "All mail clients suck." -- Michael Elkins
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