my first test

Joe Nelson joe at
Mon Sep 24 21:39:35 UTC 2018

> I found the historical method (recommended by Mailman) to be somewhat counter-intuitive, but I accept it as a hard-won best practice and an artifact of internet culture.

What's a more intuitive method? Munging the From to appear to be from the list so that a plain reply would default to going to the list? I guess I can't argue someone into the belief that one method is intuitive or not, but there's something tidy about the idea that a Reply goes to the author and a Group Reply (aka Reply-All) goes to the group. If I were seeing an email client for the first time and investigating the buttons, I would assume that the Reply-All is the big scary one and Reply is more private.

But more concretely, there are three advantages that I can see:

1. As you noted, it conforms with internet practice, most recently RFC5322.

> 3.6.2.  Originator Fields:
> The "From:" field specifies the author(s) of the message, that is, the mailbox(es) of the person(s) or system(s) responsible for the writing of the message.  The "Sender:" field specifies the mailbox of the agent responsible for the actual transmission of the message.
> [...]
> In all cases, the "From:" field SHOULD NOT contain any mailbox that does not belong to the author(s) of the message.

2. It allows originating addresses to sign the message with DKIM, preventing impersonation. Although the From-munging alternative also works with DMARC, our chosen behavior of preserving the From, Subject, and Body allows the signatures to work. This helps prevent a list operator from spoofing member messages.

3. From-munging uses Reply-To, and email clients often have a degraded interface with respect to the Reply-To header. It’s usually not visible in the message list, not used for sorting, and not added to the address book

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