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[liberationtech] list reply-all

Matt Mackall mpm at
Wed Mar 20 14:45:56 PDT 2013

On Wed, 2013-03-20 at 12:52 -0500, Gregory Foster wrote:
> If we're going to require people to use their brains, perhaps its not
> too much to ask that individuals take responsibility for paying
> attention to who they are speaking to.

Necessary but not sufficient.

I have lived long enough to learn that _other people_ will make mistakes
that harm me and that I should proactively prevent them where I foresee
them. Simply taking responsibility for my own actions is not enough. Let
me take you back to my example:

A: <operational discussion on activist group list>
B: Right on! ps: how's <extremely embarassing private matter> going?
B: Oh SH*#&$#*T, I'm SOOOOO sorry, I didn't mean to reply-all!! I feel

For the record, I was A here, not B. Yes, B should have used her brain
and never committed anything confidential to email, especially given the
numerous discussions of operational security we'd had prior to that
point due to many of our associates being called before grand juries or
worse. This was not sparkly-ponies-discuss, folks.

But tell me, how exactly does B "take responsibility" for this class of
error anyway? Written apology? Some number of lashes or hail marys,
perhaps? Foregoing all future use of email? None of this is any
consolation to A.

Here's an opportunity to demonstrate some real responsibility instead.
If you voted FOR reply-to, recognize that in doing so, you've
effectively admitted that you can't be relied upon to accurately address
your own mail. And that makes you exactly the sort of person (aka
"normal human") who might some day mistakenly send a privacy-violating
reply (or worse!) to a public mailing list where reply-to is on. Before
that happens, consider making a proactive effort to reduce the odds of
that sort of mistake by yourself and everyone around you by asking for
reply-to to be disabled.

Mathematics is the supreme nostalgia of our time.

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