add option to configure reply behavior when "reply-to" header is set by mailing lists

RESOLVED FIXED in Thunderbird 57.0

Status

enhancement
RESOLVED FIXED
2 years ago
2 years ago

People

(Reporter: martin.monperrus, Assigned: jorgk)

Tracking

unspecified
Thunderbird 57.0

Thunderbird Tracking Flags

(thunderbird_esr5256+ fixed, thunderbird56 fixed, thunderbird57 fixed)

Details

(Whiteboard: TB 56 beta 4 and TB 52.4.0 ESR)

Attachments

(1 attachment, 1 obsolete attachment)

There has been an important behavioral change in "reply" behavior when "reply-to" is set by mailing list software. The change applies to simple reply, not reply-to-all. 

Before October 2016:
The message would go to the address set in "reply-to" header

After October 2016
The message would go to the address set in "From" header

This change was controversial, see discussion on bug 77304 (discussion closed) and bug 1309486.

In order to resolve the controversy and keep an healthy and satisfied community, one solution is to add an option to configure the reply behavior.

Proposal: 

Configuration name: "mailnews.reply_target_for_mailing_list_with_reply-to_header" (string)
Configuration values: "from", "reply-to", "list-post"
I'm all for this, or any variation thereof that allows users to revert to the "correct" behavior.
Strongly support this. 

This, or something functionally equivalent, was actually what the reporter of bug 77304 requested as a fix. Instead, a feature change was made leading to bug 1309486 and, arguably, not solving the original request (since it merely changed a hardcoded option, rather than adding a choice).

This feature request would neatly resolve both the original and new bug, giving both requestors (and others with the same issue) the solution they need.
I'm all for this. Mail clients should follow the Reply-To set in the inbound email by default. Failing that, the user must be allowed to configure the mail client to behave as expected, which is to honor the Reply-To header.
I also support this. But it should be made fast. Currently I have to use an old TB with security problems to avoid the annoying bug 1309486.
To me, it seems it should follow the original behavior of letting the list admin decide.  But if not that, then I agree with this proposal that users be allowed to determine.
I'm on board with this change, but I'd like to see a slight modification to the proposal.

Most of the mailing lists I subscribe to include a reply-to header, but a few don't.  For those few, a simple reply has always been addressed to the original sender.  I've always found this to be annoying, but it IS technically correct.

I would like to have a configurable option that lets me always send replies on mailing list messages to the mailing list (assuming Thunderbird can detect that it's from a list), whether there is a reply-to header or not.  If it turns out that the message headers do not allow Thunderbird to detect the message is from a list, then a reply will go to the sender, and that's something to discuss with the list admin, not Mozilla.

As long as the behavior is configurable, I'll leave the question of what to do by default up to the devs, though I will say for the record that when there is a reply-to on a mailing list message, I believe the default behavior should honor that header.

I think that having three options (sender, list, reply-to) on a setting with a name like "mailing list reply behavior" covers all reasonable scenarios.  If "reply-to" is chosen, then the behavior would be just like it was before bug 77304 was committed.  If "list" is chosen, then I get the behavior I want.  If "sender" is chosen, that produces the current behavior that is so controversial.
Posted patch 1392371-munging.patch (v1) (obsolete) — Splinter Review
I've added a simple preference mail.undo_list_reply_munging.
When true (default) the munging is undone and the reply goes to From.
When false, the reply goes to Reply-To.
This reinstates previous behaviour.

Note to the reviewer. This is making the code added in bug 77304 conditional:
https://hg.mozilla.org/comm-central/rev/b91eb48f1dae#l2.49

I got a little tired of the discussion, I spent 30 minutes writing a post (bug 1309486 comment #51) and 10 minutes writing a patch.
Assignee: nobody → jorgk
Status: UNCONFIRMED → ASSIGNED
Ever confirmed: true
Attachment #8901469 - Flags: review?(acelists)
Comment on attachment 8901469 [details] [diff] [review]
1392371-munging.patch (v1)

Review of attachment 8901469 [details] [diff] [review]:
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Can you find a better name than 'munging'? ;) Users will have no clue when they hit the option in about:config.
Also document the option in mailnews.js.
Comment on attachment 8901469 [details] [diff] [review]
1392371-munging.patch (v1)

Review of attachment 8901469 [details] [diff] [review]:
-----------------------------------------------------------------

I agree with :aceman, the name could be a bit more user friendly. I'd prefer something like 'override_list_reply_to', which more accurately describes what the current (default) setting is.

But, still, thanks. This is a very useful modification. The name of the config setting is just semantics. The code is fine.
Actually, most of the time it took me to put the patch together was thinking about the name.

"Munging" is actually used: http://marc.merlins.org/netrants/reply-to-useful.html
http://marc.merlins.org/netrants/reply-to-harmful.html.

We also don't override the list Reply-To, we only do if it's munged.

Anyway, someone make a correct better suggestion.
OK, in order not to spend hours on this, I went with the suggestion mail.override_list_reply_to.
Attachment #8901469 - Attachment is obsolete: true
Attachment #8901469 - Flags: review?(acelists)
Attachment #8901491 - Flags: review?(acelists)
Comment on attachment 8901491 [details] [diff] [review]
1392371-munging.patch (v2)

Review of attachment 8901491 [details] [diff] [review]:
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks
Attachment #8901491 - Flags: review?(acelists) → review+
And there was much rejoicing!

Thanks for putting the work, Jorg.
Pushed by mozilla@jorgk.com:
https://hg.mozilla.org/comm-central/rev/dc65905992ac
Add pref mail.override_list_reply_to to restore reply-to behaviour. r=aceman
Status: ASSIGNED → RESOLVED
Closed: 2 years ago
Resolution: --- → FIXED
Target Milestone: --- → Thunderbird 57.0
Comment on attachment 8901491 [details] [diff] [review]
1392371-munging.patch (v2)

Risk free and much wanted, so uplift.
Attachment #8901491 - Flags: approval-comm-esr52+
Attachment #8901491 - Flags: approval-comm-beta+
Thank you for committing a fix!

I currently have 52.3.0, and that is the most recent release according to the "About" dialog.  The info on the fix seems to indicate that version 56 will be the first one with the change.

How long before a regular (not alpha or beta) release is available with the change?  I don't feel entirely comfortable trusting my email to a beta release.

Will this only be available in the config editor, or will there be a checkbox somewhere in Options?
This will be shipped in TB 52.4 at the end of the month or in early October. Config Editor only.
Whiteboard: TB 56 beta 4 and TB 52.4.0 ESR
Duplicate of this bug: 1401838
Just installed 56.0b4. I confirm that mail.override_list_reply_to restores the original behavior. Thanks a lot Jorg.
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