[petsc-users] Mailing list reply-to munging (was Any changes in ML usage between 3.1-p8 -> 3.3-p6?)

Satish Balay balay at mcs.anl.gov
Thu Apr 18 10:09:54 CDT 2013

On Thu, 18 Apr 2013, Jed Brown wrote:

> Satish Balay <balay at mcs.anl.gov> writes:
> > On Wed, 17 Apr 2013, Jed Brown wrote:
> >
> >> John Doe sends email to petsc-users and the mailing list rewrites
> >> Reply-To back to the list.  Now any user hits reply-all and their mailer
> >> gives them a message that replies *only* to petsc-users, dropping the
> >> original author.  This is a problem,
> >
> > Its a problem only if the author is not subscribed.
> If they are not subscribed OR if they have turned off delivery. 

As mentioned this is a mailing list. And that 'minority' usage is
possible with alternative workflow. subscribe and use a filter.

> Even with delivery turned on, they cannot reliably filter using
> "petsc-users AND NOT to:me" because their address will be
> chronically dropped.  This makes the list volume more burdensome.

Again 'minority usage. Since one would not care about following list
except for 'when they post' - They would filter list traffic into a
different folder - and look at that folder only when they post to that

As I claimed the usage is possible [for the minority use case]. Its
insisting that the 'exact workflow' as with 'non-reply-to: lists'
should be supported is not what I accept.

> > Or remove option 'subscribe-but-do-not-deliver' for our usage of
> > 'Reply-To: list'
> That is back to the current model

Whih I think is fine - and optimized for majority usage. And change
has extra costs [which you are ignoring.

> where (I think) many people ask questions on petsc-maint just
> because it's more effort/noise to be subscribed to petsc-users with
> delivery turned on.

using petsc-maint is fine. But here you are suggesting using
petsc-maint should be discouraged.

> >> Perhaps a middle ground would be to have the list copy the From header
> >> over to Reply-to (if it doesn't already exist) and then _add_ the list
> >> address to Reply-to.  That still isn't quite right when cross-posting,
> >> but it would allow us to advertise "subscribe with delivery off and ask
> >> questions on the list" or even "mail the list without subscribing"
> >> instead of "always write petsc-maint if you can't be bothered to filter
> >> the high-volume list".
> >
> > Earlier in the thread you've supported: reminder emails to folks doing
> > 'reply' instead of 'reply-all:' as an acceptable thing. [and this
> > happens a few times a day]. But here a reply of 'use petsc-maint'
> > instead of subscribe-but-do-not-deliver with petsc-users' is suggested
> > not good. [which happens so infrequently - except for configure.log
> > sutff].
> I think almost nobody uses subscribe-without-delivery to
> petsc-users/petsc-dev because it's useless with the current reply-to
> munging.  I reply to the other point below.

I doubt most users know about subscribe-without-delivery option of
mailing lists. And I think most users think petsc-users as not a
mailing list - but as petsc-maint.

> > And I fail to see how 'e-mail petsc-maint without subscribing is not
> > good - whereas 'email petsc-users without subscribing is a great
> > feature'. [yeah you get archives on petsc-users - but I don't think
> > uses are as much concerened about that.]
> Each time someone resolves their problem by searching and finding an
> answer in the archives is one less time we have to repeat ourselves.
> The lists are indexed by the search engines and they do come up in
> searches.  When a subject has already been discussed, linking a user to
> that thread is much faster than retyping the argument and it encourages
> them to try searching before asking.  My perception is that a lot of
> questions come up more than once on petsc-maint.  We can only link them
> to the archives if it has already been discussed on petsc-users, and
> with so many discussions on petsc-maint, it's hard for us to keep track
> of whether the topic has been discussed.

I don't object to more archiving of issues.

> > And I'll submit - its easier for most folks to send email to
> > petsc-maint instead of figuring out 'subscribe-but-donot-deliver stuff
> > on petsc-users'. [Yeah 'expert' mailing list users might expect
> > "subscribe with delivery" workflow to work.]
> Which is why we would encourage them to write petsc-users, either via an
> easy subscribe-without-delivery, or by having their original message
> only go to a few of us, where a reply from any of us automatically
> subscribes them without delivery.

I already do the second part with the current mailing lists. [plenty
of users post without subscribing every day - which goes into
moderation. I appprove/subscribe that post.]

> If the list interpreted any mail from a subscribed user as subscribing
> the Cc's without delivery, we could also move discussions from
> petsc-maint to petsc-users/petsc-dev any time the discussion does not
> need to be kept private.

I agree this usage is not supported currently. [but I don't know if
that automatic-cc-subscribe-as-without-delivery is possible]

> > Perhaps the problem here is - I view petsc-users and petsc-dev as
> > public mailing lists - and primary purpose of public mailing lists is
> > all to all communication mechanism. [so subscription/ reply-to make
> > sense to me.]  And petsc-maint as the longstanding
> > non-subscribe/support or any type of conversation e-mail
> > to-petsc-developers.
> I've always thought of petsc-maint as the intentionally _private_ help
> venue.  If the conversation does not have a good reason to be private,
> then I'd rather see it on a public (searchable) list.

the whole argument is more archives and email-without subscribing. I
don't buy the stuff about "subscribe with delivery" or reply-to is
breaking stuff.

And the cost is more replies going to individuals. And some extra
spam.  And huge logs to subscribers. [and advertise petsc-users as
support list - not mailing list].

> > But most use petsc-users [and some view it] as a support e-mail adress
> > [with searchable archives]. If thats what it it - then
> > no-subscribe-post or subscribe-but-do-not-deliver stuff would be the
> > primary thing - and recommending that would make sense. And then we
> > should be accepting build logs on it as well - and not worry about
> > flooding users mailboxes iwth them. [compressed as openmpi list
> > recommends]
> I wonder if we can do either (a) selective delivery of attachments
> greater than some small threshold and/or 

I don't know if there is an option for that. Currently all moderators
get such emails.

> (b) create a [config] topic that people can unsubscribe from.
> (Maybe leave unsubscribed by default.)
> http://www.gnu.org/software/mailman/mailman-member/node30.html

But the user has to set the correct topic in the subject line when
they post? Again transfering decision from 'use petsc-users vs petsc
maint' to use subject: 'installation' vs 'bugreport' vs 'general'.

> > [what about petsc-dev? some use it as reaching petsc-developers - not
> > petsc development discussions.
> I don't think that's a problem.
> > And what about petsc-maint? redirect to petsc-users and have
> > petsc-developers an non-ambiguous place for non-public e-mails to
> > petsc-developers?]
> How about converting the petsc-maint address to a mailing list that
> allows anonymous posting, but that has private delivery.  We don't use
> RT numbers anyway.  Then any time the discussion clearly doesn't need to
> be private, we just move it to petsc-users or petsc-dev.  Workable?

I guess petsc-maint doesn't matter anymore - as everyone should be
using petsc-users. I'll remove the limits on petsc-users and petsc-dev
and add you as admin so you can set things up as you see fit.


More information about the petsc-users mailing list