moderated reply-to-sender coded hashtag results in "you are not allowed to post to this topic" via email #bug


 

I've reported this to support twice but (a) it seems to have fallen through the cracks, and (b) I've been very curious about whether other groups are experiencing it, so I am finally posting it here.

When a hashtag is set to reply-to-sender and someone replies via the web, everything works fine (even in a group set to reply-to-group with "remove other reply options" set). However, when people respond via email, some of them - and this seems random - get a bounce message with a groups.io explanation "500: Error: You are not allowed to post to this thread."

This has happened with both yahoo and gmail email addresses. I ran some tests and discovered that in the case I tested that resulted in the error message, the reply actually *did* reach the recipient and that the error message was erroneous. Nevertheless, this has caused great havoc in my group, since we are using this kind of hashtag for condolence messages(*), and people are feeling very upset thinking that their condolences didn't get through, they're trying again, they're contacting me offlist, they're posting about it to the group, etc. 

Is anyone else aware that their group is experiencing this problem? It does not happen with every reply - only some of them, and I haven't been able to figure out the circumstances under which it happens. Perhaps the hashtag code is only meant to work with web replies, and not with email? Perhaps it's a simple matter of an erroneous error message, and the error message could simply be eliminated?
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J

(*) we took a page out of Helen's tanyackd playbook for this 

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu


 

p.s. Two details: (1) I at first thought the problem was that our group was set to "remove other reply options," but that is now unchecked and it still happens, and it happened in my testing as well in a group that was similarly uncheckedl; (2) it happens whether the person clicks on "reply to group" or just "reply".

J

 

Messages are the sole opinion of the author, especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu


 

J,

When a hashtag is set to reply-to-sender ... when people respond via
email, some of them - and this seems random - get a bounce message
with a groups.io explanation "500: Error: You are not allowed to post
to this thread."
That's correct behavior on Groups.io's part - they aren't allowed to post to that thread because, per the hashtag, replies should go to the sender instead.

The randomness comes from the behavior of the replying member's email client. Most correctly send the reply only to the sender and they don't get an error back. At least not from Groups.io, as they would not have received anything.

But sometimes the email service will reply to the sender with a CC to the group's posting address. In some cases this may be because the user has opted for "Reply to All" as their default reply, in other cases it may be a mis-feature of the email interface.

Perhaps the hashtag code is only meant to work with web replies, and
not with email?
No, it is intended for both.

But apparently some email services don't do the expected thing, or the user has forgotten that they set "Reply to All" as default and didn't notice the CC in their composition window. In mobile email interfaces the CC might not be shown unless one "opens" some header details.

Perhaps it's a simple matter of an erroneous error message, and the
error message could simply be eliminated?
The error message could be more specific "... because this thread is marked ReplyToSender". But I'm not sure those same people won't be just as confused/concerned that their condolence didn't go through.

Shal

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