Re: [PATCH] Restore original keybinding ('r' = reply-to-all)

Subject: Re: [PATCH] Restore original keybinding ('r' = reply-to-all)

Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2012 11:24:21 -0400

To: David Bremner, Jameson Graef Rollins, Carl Worth,


From: Jesse Rosenthal

On Wed, 27 Jun 2012, David Bremner <> wrote:
> My bias is probably apparent in that I pushed the original patch...

And mine in that the first thing I did in my .emacs, back in 2009 or so,
was write a reply-to-sender function, and reverse the behavior. In fact,
I just got around to using the built-in behavior in the last couple of
weeks or so.

> I think the there is potential for unfortunate mistakes with either set
> of bindings. On the one hand sending replies to unintended people can be
> very embarrassing. 

Or something close to career-threatening. If you are in an office
situation with non-technical folks, which I am, and which more and more
of our users will likely be, replying-all accidentally can be quite
dire. The deans and the chair of my department frequently send out
requests for votes or comments to the whole department or faculty. In
many cases, the information requested is ridiculously confidential for
the medium; an accidental reply-all would be -- and I'm not overstating
-- disastrous. Incidences of this are rare, because it's not the default
in most standard clients. Even those coming from mutt or gnus are likely
to be surprised.

If it's not obvious, I'm pretty strongly against Carl's roll-back.  I
could, of course, just uncomment my old correction in my .emacs, but I
think it's a change that could hurt users. Those who are more likely to
prefer the reply-all behavior are more likely to be able to change the
defaults. Those who aren't likely to change the defaults are more likely
to be bitten, badly, by a default reply-all behavior.

> On the other hand, forgetting to reply to the group can also be
> problematic.

True that. My solution to this has been to write what I call a
"smart-reply" function -- it replies-all when you want it to, and
replies-to-sender the rest of the time. It's pretty simple, and I sent
it into the list before[0], but the basic functionality is that I give
it a list of to: addresses that I will want to reply-all to by default
(essentially, my mailing lists), and those will, by default, reply
all. Others will by default be reply-to-sender. I realize this
complicates the setup a bit, but it makes everyday use quite easy.



[0] id:""