ADMIN: PLEASE READ Re: [TAXACOM] Royal pain in the ass

Peter Rauch peterr at SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU
Fri Jul 27 11:12:37 CDT 2001

discuss it, please send to comments to me directly, and not to
Taxacom (where the topic of discussion is systematics /
collectons / taxonomy / jobs / etc RELATED to those field of

 On Fri, 27 Jul 2001, Susan B. Farmer wrote:
> Not only is replying to the list a problem, but I've just
> gotten 4 "out of the office" and one "bounce" message due to
> the last post.  This sort of reply should go to the list
> owner, not the sender.

No. When you send a message to someone, whether privately and
directly, or via a mailing list, if someone (_your_
addressee) wishes to respond to you about their "vacation" or
whatever, they should respond to _you_ and not to others
--especially not to the administrator of the list.

It is up to the subscribers of Taxacom to decide whether they
SET themselves to NOMAIL when they go on vacation or to the
field. If they don't, because they forget, or because they
believe it is more important to tell you --the message poster--
that they're on vacation, then that is between you and them if
you don't want to be told --you tell them to set themselves to
NOMAIL or to otherwise not respond to your posting.

If, on the other hand, the response is directed TO TAXACOM, then
the list administrator will intervene to SET the subscriber to
NOMAIL, or even to DELETE their subscription. Some few folks
might think it's important to let _everyone_ on a list know that
they did not yet read some subscriber's message because the
person is on vacation, but the practice on Taxacom is to assume
that such individual status is between the author and the
recipient, and not for the whole list to endure.

Regarding the matter of whether Taxacom should be congured to
have the default address in the "Reply-To: email header field,
the list is indeed configured to supply the address of the
posting author and not of the list itself. This issue has been
discussed before. The central concern of those who preferred the
reply to default to the author was "to save embarrassment by
accidental/unintentional replies going to Taxacom" and "too many
personal exchanges being directed through Taxacom". I frankly
prefer to enhance the opportunity for _discussion_ by defaulting
replies back to Taxacom, but acceded to others' wishes and
reconfiged Taxacom some years ago to default to the author.

There is really no simple configuration answer that guarantees
that either the author's or the list's address will
automatically be included in the reply's "To" field. Each email
software product has its own very idiosyncratic configuration
features. It's first up to you the sender to configure your
email software to "reply" according to your favorite rule. And,
it's first up to you the sender to be assured _before_ you press
the SEND key to KNOW to whom you are sending your message.

Please don't continue this thread on Taxacom. If you wish to
discuss the Taxacom default configuration, please contact me
directly. If you wish to discuss the general philosophy of email
reply schemes, or email products, please find some other place
--neither Taxacom nor me. :>)

Thank you for your attention,
Peter Rauch
co-admin, Taxacom

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