LISTRIVIA (mail replies)

James Tauber jtauber at
Thu Oct 8 11:45:09 BST 1998

>At 16:18 07/10/98 -0500, Tim Keating wrote:
>>On an unrelated note, anybody know why the mail list doesn't set the
>>reply-to on messages to itself?

Because it is evil to do so. xml-dev has it right IMHO.


If mailing list software changes the reply-to address you get the following

    - mail intended for an individual often gets sent to the whole list
    - you can't reply to the author easily
    - (worse still) if a subscriber to the list has a broken mail system,
      you can get into infinite loops when mail bounces get sent back to the

I've learnt all three the hard way. In the case of the infinite loops, a
mailing list I maintained brought down a system with thousands of users.

The only disadvantage of *not* changing the reply-to is that replies to all
go to both the sender and the list, so out of politeness you edit the to
field before sending.

James Tauber / jtauber at
Lecturer and Associate Researcher
Electronic Commerce Network             (
Curtin Business School                  (
Perth, Western Australia                (

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