#20017 Forcing of SF *opinion* on projs sucks

Ken Coar

All IM[NS]HO, of course.

In the 'SF Policy on Reply-To Munging'
statement, SF is essentially forcing
all projects to abide by the SF
opinion -- regardless of whether the
people involved in a particular project
all want it that way or not.

That sucks. Just plain sucks.

Fine, make Reply-to munging default
to off -- but don't fascistically force
the SF *opinion* on open developers
whose opinions may differ.

The argument that 'all SF mailing
lists should behave the same way'
I consider rubbish. How many
subscribers to SF lists are on more
than one?

The document appears to clearly
state 'this is how we think it should
be, so we're going to make you do
things that way' -- which is so patently
contrary to the whole concept of open
development that I cringe.

I call upon you to permit reply-to
munging on a project-by-project
basis; let them determine their
own destiny and preferences rather
than forcing yours on them.


  • Jacob Moorman
    Jacob Moorman

    • labels: 100102 -->
    • milestone: 100105 -->
  • Jacob Moorman
    Jacob Moorman

    • assigned_to: nobody --> pat
    • labels: --> Project Mailing Lists/Archives/Services
    • milestone: --> Second Level Support
  • Dave Chapeskie
    Dave Chapeskie

    Logged In: YES

    I for one (as a random SourceForge user) agree with
    SourceForge's stance. I believe mucking with the Reply-To:
    header for a mailing list violates standards.

    See http://www.unicom.com/pw/reply-to-harmful.html

  • Dave Chapeskie
    Dave Chapeskie

    Last edit: Dave Chapeskie 2014-10-29
  • Ken Coar
    Ken Coar

    Logged In: YES

    dchapes wrote:
    > I for one (as a random SourceForge user) agree with
    > SourceForge's stance. I believe mucking with the Reply-To:
    > header for a mailing list violates standards.

    No, it doesn't. There are no standards that differentiate
    list messages from individual ones, so Reply-To munging
    is neither correct nor incorrect -- it is just an option.

    > See http://www.unicom.com/pw/reply-to-harmful.html

    That is opinion, as is the counterpoint (reply-to-useful
    on various sites).

    My point is that it should be up to each project to decide,
    not forced by fiat from SourceForge due to someone's opinion

  • Claudiu Costin
    Claudiu Costin

    Logged In: YES

    Hack to reply_to_munging
    Load this url in browser after login in admin mod for your


    I want to present my oppinion: disabling a service just
    because you
    have another mind is a sad, sad thing regarding open source
    Is not correct at all to force your users to adopt a style
    just because
    you have another opionion (even as a whole consensus in
    administrators group at SourceForge).

    Please don't deactivate this hacking feature and don't
    this option for mailing lists which have it.

    • status: open --> closed
  • Ken Coar
    Ken Coar

    • status: closed --> open
  • Ken Coar
    Ken Coar

    Logged In: YES

    Please do not close this item again
    until there's a final resolution (such
    as "okey, we'll turn it back on" or
    "tough, we don't like reply-to munging
    so you're not going to get to use it; like
    it or lump it" :-)

  • Logged In: YES

    I agree with the original poster. You can explain why this is "bad", but not
    remove the option entirely. Some of us *like* that option. Some of us have
    been using it for years on SF lists and others places.

    Secondly, using
    the reply-to-all option on the mailer will cause the e-mail to be sent to both
    the list and the author of the original message, causing him to get his mail
    twice. This is very annoying to people who pay by-the-minute of internet
    connection and phone line (think Europe). Doubling someone's email
    bandwidth requirements is just not nice, no matter how you put

    Thirdly, I don't buy the argument that all lists must behave the
    same. Why should they? Why would *developers* (usually smart people) be
    confused by the varying behaviour?

    Finally, why remove it if it's
    already there and works?

  • Jari Aalto
    Jari Aalto

    Logged In: YES

    For complete treatment of this subject see:

    26.0 Message headers
    26.9 Reply-To header

    Sourceforges stance is in par with the Email standards.
    Poeple have been sloppy for using Reply-to to mean
    something that is not menat to be, and it was
    never ment to be in use with mailing lists.

    Some just took the Reply-To in use with Mailing lists
    and that is not correct.

    The correct way for mailing lists is to utilize
    List-* headers according to RFC 2369.

    The Reply-To is for invividuals, it was never meant for
    originally for mailing lists.

    the MUAs are the trouble: People should get mail manager
    that respects the Standards.

    So, SF is correct to leave out Reply-To munging. If the
    option is left in, people are not taught correct terms
    of Email usage.

    "ListAdmin: Don't play with Reply-To"
    ... RFC-822 on reply-to is just almost hopeless.
    The reason people do what they do is more likely
    because they saw someone else doing that, and
    imagined it was correct, and copied - perhaps
    slightly varying things along the way. ...If you
    use a reasonable mailer, Reply-To munging does
    not provide any new functionality. It, in fact,
    decreases functionality. Reply-To munging
    destroys the reply-to-author. capability.

    "Reply problems"

    ...there are useful things that can be done with
    these headers. For instance -- on mailing lists
    where everyone that posts is assumed to be
    subscribed (like this one), the listserv could
    add a "Mail-Followup-To: ding@gnus.org" header.
    It can also be used by the sender as a way to
    signal "I am subscribed to the list; don't Cc me
    or anybody else".

    careful reading of RFC 822 reveals that this
    prose does not apply to Reply-To with respect to
    a "reply all" function, but only with the use of
    Reply-To in a "reply to author" function.

    This leaves us with the situation where the
    author of a message is unable to specify the
    complete destination for replies. Even if the
    author specifies a Reply-To field, if the
    recipient uses "reply all", addresses from the To
    and CC field are still included. This is the
    behavior implemented by almost every UA in
    existence, but it's almost always the wrong thing
    to do.


    o The way to solve most reply problems is to
    encourage the responder to actually think
    about where the message needs to go, and make
    it easy for him to get the behavior he wants.
    (It also helps if people use the RFC 822
    'phrase' to label their header addresses.)

    o We can build interfaces that help the responder
    do this without defining any new header

    o Except for a very few cases,
    Mail-{Reply,Followup}-To doesn't help. It
    only provides more opportunities for
    surprising behavior.

    --Stainless Steel Rat <ratinox@peorth.gweep.net>
    1998-02-12 commented in Emacs ding mailing list


  • Andre Reis
    Andre Reis

    Logged In: YES


    >The Reply-To is for invividuals, it was never meant for
    >originally for mailing lists.
    >So, SF is correct to leave out Reply-To munging. If the
    >option is left in, people are not taught correct terms
    >of Email usage.

    But it's good. If it's good, the Email standards should be
    revised and properly changed to the current state of the

    If it can help a large amount of people, it should not be
    abolished. It can be banned for lists who are obvisously
    abusing of the service, but many should not be punished for
    one's crime.

    It was designed for individuals. But it was implemented in
    lists, and it was good, if well used.

    This feature, like some tools you might have around the
    house can be used legitimately, or it can be used to harm
    people. You can take a hammer and beat people in the head
    with it. Doesn't mean we need to go around beating people
    in the head with hammers to teach them that they should
    watch out for maniacs wielding hammers. Imagine a whole
    world of people that don't know a hammer from sponge, let
    alone what a hammer is good for, and you'll find what
    situation we're in here. Lammers can use it to do shit.
    Administrators can use it to make their lives a lot easier.
    Administrators, be responsible with this feature. End-
    users, don't abuse of the service, and you won't be hit by
    a hammer... Too bad it has to be this way.
    (snipped and slightly modified, copyright DilDog, cDc)

    A final, important note: popular, free webbased mail
    clients, like Hotmail (and if this one isn't enough just by
    itself...) have no reply-all support.

    Thank you,

  • Jari Aalto
    Jari Aalto

    Logged In: YES

    I understand the stance for keeping
    "Reply-To", but in the end the subject
    is not negotiable. The RFC's are the
    standard. If people do not obey the
    standard, there is no common base upon
    which to build on. Currently there are
    still mailing lists that use Reply-To
    and they continue to violate the

    Let me put it this way: If law says:

    A theft is a crime

    It does not matter if you

    Take two apples from neighbor's tree

    and argue that:

    "Oh, he's got so many. What harm can it do?
    I gave the apples to the poor."

    The action is still against the
    standard, while the intention may be
    good. Everyone may not like that "this
    theft was against the law", but
    nonetheless it is "against the standard"
    and people expect to see it like that in
    every theft case.

    The "Reply-To" is against the RFC's
    original intentions and people Mailing
    list owner's that use it in their lists
    are constantly abusing the
    standard. This means that:

    People that are on the list get "blinded".
    They suppose "it's the way to manage
    mailing lists", when it's not.

    When sourceforge decided to follow the
    standard, thay certainly did not intend
    to make existing people accustomed to
    "Reply-To" happy. But it made people
    that use correct Mail user agent lot
    more happier: Now the mail can be
    managed as it Agent was designed with
    according the RFCs.

    Now, people have to change. And the
    change in the long term is for the
    better. This may even force a request
    for existing MUAs to improve or upgrade
    them to have "reply to all" feature they
    are lacking. Perhaps. In the end if all
    Lists were behave correctly, we would
    have much more solid ground for all
    mailing lists - The standard

    Sourceforge's action in this respect
    was for the better.


  • Ken Coar
    Ken Coar

    Logged In: YES

    Jari, please quote chapter and verse
    of the standards where it is categorically
    stated that Reply-To is not to be used
    by lists. If you cannot do so, then please
    stop claiming that it is a violation.

    Here are some citations that show the
    opposite perspective, indicating that
    MLM use of Reply-To is permissible and

    From RFC 822 section 4.4.3:

    > A somewhat different use may
    > be of some help to "text message
    > teleconferencing" groups equipped
    > with automatic distribution
    > services: include the address of
    > that service in the "Reply-To" field
    > of all messages submitted to the
    > teleconference; then participants
    > can "reply" to conference submissions
    > to guarantee the correct distribution
    > of any submission of their own.

    See also RFC 2822, section 3.6.2
    RFC 2076, section 3.5
    RFC 1855, section 3.1.2
    and even RFC 822, section 4.4.3

    All of these either imply or state that use
    of the Reply-To field to redirect replies to
    a mailing list is common practice and
    acceptable -- and 822 is one of the ones
    that state it outright.

    You cannot say that mailing list usage
    goes against the intent of the RFC
    writers without having been one of the
    writers yourself, so please drop that
    argument too. If the RFC doesn't
    say it, you cannot infer it as fact.

    We are back to this being a matter
    of opinion only.

  • Logged In: YES

    We have been listening to the community...and debating this issue internally. (heated debates I might add)

    We will be turning on the munging feature again...(with a warning label on why you likley wouldn't want to
    use it....with info such as the items that jealto described.).

    It should be back online in the next 14 days or so.

    I don't think many people will use it....but for the few projects that do need to have it...it will be there.

    Feel free to email me about this at pat (at) sourceforge.net if you like. Now on to the next 'religious'


    • status: open --> closed