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Mailing list CC's

From: Bob Proulx
Subject: Mailing list CC's
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2005 13:10:05 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.6+20040907i

Here is a message I recently sent to an individual after observing
that they never CC'd the original poster.  This seemed topical after
reading today's discussion.


Thanks very much for answering questions on the mailing lists.  It
is appreciated.  However I noticed today that you have not been CC'ing
the original poster.  I looked back through several of your posts.  So
I thought I would drop you a note and let you know that it is very
likely that the people you are replying to are not receiving your
followups.  Which is a shame since they are useful.

This is going to sound contrary to common sense on most discussion
types of lists.  Normally on a discussion list you would only send
your reply to the list and never include the address of the person you
are replying to since they are subscribed.  On discussion lists you
can assume that anyone posting there is subscribed to the list.
Sending them a CC means they get a duplicated message and that is not
appreciated by many on the net.  Certainly it is considered rude on
most discussion lists.

But on bug reporting lists such as the address@hidden lists there is no
assumption that the original poster is subscribed.  It is a cold drop
address that is advertised as an address that anyone can send bug
reports.  Therefore on the bug-* lists it is normal to include the
original poster in the address CC list.  Otherwise they won't see the
response at all.

However, anyone who replies to the original poster is certainly
subscribed since that is how they saw that message.  Therefore only
the original poster and the mailing list needs to be listed in
subsequent messages.  If you miss it is not a big deal.  On the bug-*
lists people don't get upset if they get an additional CC at this
point.  But if possible the address should be original poster and
mailing list only.

Normally I use the Mail-Followup-To: header when I reply to a poster
setting the reply to the original poster and to the mailing list.
After that anyone that replies with a mailer smart enough to respect
that header will do the right thing automatically.  Also, when I post
original messages to these lists I set that header as well to just the
list.  This is all automatic with modern mailers like 'mutt'.  So
while it might sound complicated I don't even notice it.

Hope that helps,

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