List Protocal (was What BA's Use the 2625w)

Todd, KA1KAQ ka1kaq at GMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 17 10:07:11 EDT 2006

On 4/15/06, Al Parker <anchor at> wrote:
> Hi Tom, Ron, et al,
>     I guess I got this discussion fired up, so I'll jump back in.  Yes, I
> agree that almost all replies should be shared with the whole list.  Ron's
> set up 3 lists to operate the "unusual" way, and is probably on at least 3
> more that are the "other" way.  I know I should be quick enuf to look at
> who my reply is going to, but I'm not very good at it.  I try to reply to
> "all" most of the time, but sometimes see a post from a friend & just rip
> off a note to him that has no interest to the group.  I'll try to watch
> what's going where.

I'd add that there's probably a good reason why email is set up with a
"Reply" or "Reply to All" feature: not all things are intended for
everyone, and one could make an argument that we should be smart
enough to know the difference. I believe that the vast majority are
and post as they deem appropriate, for whatever reasons.

At the end of the day, we still have something called 'choice' which I
don't think should be taken away from the individual. While you could
make an arguement that setting up a list to make all replies go out to
all, you could just as easily make one against it because many folks
find it annoying and just won't bother to respond at all.

The AM radio list is set up so that all replies go to the list, and
the list admin has reminded folks repeatedly to reply only to the
poster for listings of gear for sale, for example. It still doesn't
work, because the vast majority of people and places that use email
are set up with 'reply' going to the individual and 'reply all' going
to the entire group included in the original post. I've also seen it
happen a fair amount where someone simply responds to an old friend
they haven't heard from in a while by hitting reply and having it go
to the list, as Al pointed out. It's happened to me a few times.

So, along with being counter-intuitive, IMHO it also discourages posts
since the reply may contain content not specific to the original post,
private in nature, and so on. Sure, you can override the instinct to
simply hit reply (used in 99.9% of other cases) and take the
roundabout route of typing out the original posters address only,
removing other addresses or whatever else, but why bother? If we can't
be trusted or allowed to decide on our own whether a post should be
sent to all and instead be told 'you must reply to all', it's just
easier to not bother with the few 'exceptions' to the rule.

Six of one, half dozen of the other as they say. Personally, I don't
believe folks are missing out on anywhere near as much as they fret
about. Throw in the rules associated with most lists that do not apply
to private replies, and it becomes pointless pretty fast. Of the other
lists I belong to that require a response to all, only one has regular
activity. The others are dead most of the time. And of the posts on
the active list, 25-30% are unrelated or not applicable to the list as
a whole. I suspect that if it were set to the normal way of replying,
the posts would only drop by 25-35%. Seems like a reasonable trade off
to me.

If we really want to make the lists run smoother and better for all,
trimming excess text from replies is a much better place to start, in
my view.

de Todd/'Boomer'  KA1KAQ

BTW, I was going to post this privately to my old friend Al, but
decided to share it with all. (o:

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