[OS X TeX] Lobbying for Reply-To as it used to be

Wendy McKay wgm at cds.caltech.edu
Mon Mar 22 20:00:29 EST 2004

On Mon, 22 Mar 2004, Gerben Wierda wrote:

> I think Gary's poll is a good idea. Let me add one argument in favour 
> of going back to the old way:
> > I look at this issue more in a semantic way. What sort of list is it? 
> > Is it a discussion group, a asynchronous electronic meeting? In that 
> > case, there should IMO be a reply-to towards the list. In a meeting, 
> > talking to the group is default, talking to your neighbour is the 
> > exception. Is the group less of a community but is it an open group? 
> > Then I prefer a list without reply-to set to the list.
> >
> > So, sometimes I prefer reply-to to the list. Sometimes I prefer 
> > reply-to to the author. As we seldom see a posting on the list that 
> > should have gone to the author only, and since this list is about 
> > sharing knowledge, I do like to see the answers given to other people. 
> > I can sometimes learn something from it. So, yes, one can hit 
> > reply-all by default, in which case the message is sent twice, once 
> > through the list and the other directly (Mail.app has a history of not 
> > handling those duplicate messages correctly btw, one just used to 
> > disappear in a black hole). But since my replies generally are of the 
> > 'useful for everybody' category (or at least I hope so) I need to hit 
> > reply-all all the time. If that is true for everyone (sice this is 
> > mostly a 'sharing' forum) it has just become non-default to do what is 
> > the semantic default, i.e. a reply should normally go to the group.
> So in my view, the reply-to group on this list is preferable because 
> most replies to questions are useful for most people on the list. If 
> the list was a lot of repeatd newbie questions with a few kind sould 
> like Bruno helping them out, I think a reply-to sender would be better. 
> But this list is not like that. I actually like to see the answers to 
> most questions.

I agree with the sentiments above because (1) it is interesting to 
see the discussion especially when  different answers are given to the 
same problem, and (2)  because we have a better chance of the threads in 
the archive being complete.

If the reply is only of interest to the sender, then that's easy for
the responder to arrange. Saying thank you is easy to do to 
already posted answers.   Putting together an analysis and summarizing 
answers might might take a lot more time to do.
Besides, some of the answers may not apply to the original poster 
but could be helpful to others, and we get to see all points of view.

But more important for completeness, wouldn't it be better to ensure that  
the list is answered otherwise there will be no place to RTFriendlyArchive
to find solutions to the questions in one thread, nor will future 
responders be able to say, check the archive and be sure there is an 
answer posted?

Personally, I learn more about things I might want to do  or not do later 
with TeX on Mac OS X from  this discussion list than  anywhere else. 

There are a some kind souls who voluntarily make an effort to see that
questions get answered on this list and I would suggest going with 
a default that is the least amount of work for them!!
(They should get extra voting power based on the number of answers they
provide! ;-)

Anyway, If the  decision of the poll, is to reply to sender as the default 
and  the final answer does not make it to the list, would 
original posters of the question kindly  be reponsible for sending in the 
answer to the list, so the archive will be complete and we can all 
learn how the problem got solved.  

Otherwise, responders answering the questions could  reply both to the 
sender and the other recipients on the list and try not to lose patience  
with duplicate answers  (if that happens).  Good mailing lists and  mail 
applications should  eliminate duplication sooner or later!

On some of the other mailing lists, the burden is on the mailer to prevent 
the duplication and  listers do  reply to both the sender and the list.
However, we are now putting the burden on to Gary, who may be willing but
not able to switch over at this time.  

Just my two cents worth.

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