Re: answers

Brian Gaines (
Fri, 8 Dec 1995 06:03:55 -0500

Joern Scheer remarks
>every now and then it seems necessary to remind some of us that if you want to
> send a PERSONAL message to someone you got a message from through the
>pcp net, do NOT use the answer button on your mailing system screen.
>Because then everyone will read your personal message.

The problem referenced is a genuine usability bug in virtually all email
interfaces when used with mailing lists. They display the "From:" field
in the header, not the "Reply-To:" field, and users think they are sending
to the person designated in the "From:" field when they the mailer is
sending to the address designated in the "Reply-To:" field, normally a
list server.

Some lists "overcome" the problem by not using the "Reply-To:" field, but
this makes it more awkward to reply to the list and results in the opposite
problem, replies to the list only going to an individual.

Email browsers were designed before lists became common and most have not
been updated to be effective with mailing lists.

So, beware the problem but don't be embarrassed if it happens to you -- it
happens occasionally with experienced users on most list servers.


Dr Brian R Gaines Knowledge Science Institute
University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4
403-220-5901 Fax:403-284-4707