I am looking at the thread of a particular Emacs bug report through the bug-gnu-emacs archives. Suppose I want to make a public reply to one of the posts in the thread. On the web page of the post, I see a button I can use to reply:

reply via email

If I click on the button, my email client will fill in the post author's personal email address in the "To" email field (e.g. john.smith@example.com). If I actually send the email, will the reply be made public? I want to make a public reply. How can I ensure that I am making a public reply?

I thought that I have to send replies to 123456@debbugs.gnu.org (where 123456 represents the bug report number), so do I need to add 123456@debbugs.gnu.org to the "CC" field or something?

1 Answer 1


Great question. I never noticed those buttons on the web page before.

Yes, if you click that button it will open your mail client with only the person you're replying to in the To list.

To have the mail also go to the bug list (for that bug thread) you need to also include the bug number in the To list (or the Cc list, I think), in this form: 12345@debbugs.gnu.org, just as you guessed.

You might even want to file an enhancement request to have the button also address the bug thread. (Using M-x report-emacs-bug might be sufficient for that, even though the web site is more general than just Emacs; dunno.)

  • If not mistaken, you would also need to set the In-Reply-To: header to the correct value in order to reply to the correct message. webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/23197/…
    – Flux
    Mar 28, 2021 at 8:54
  • @Flux: I don't think that's correct. But I'm no expert on this. (Perhaps it depends on your mail client etc.?) In my experience, using Reply All in my mail works, and that just puts all of the recipients in To: or Cc:, as far as I know.
    – Drew
    Mar 28, 2021 at 17:00
  • That's because your email client sets the In-Reply-To: header for you when you reply to an email that is already in your inbox. The question here is about replying to a post that one is seeing on a webpage. In this case, I think one would need to manually fill in the In-Reply-To: header with the correct value. It appears that this value can only be obtained from a hidden input in the HTML source of the webpage.
    – Flux
    Mar 28, 2021 at 17:44
  • I see. In know next to nothing about such things. Please consider adding such info as a separate answer, to either answer the Q completely or complement my answer. I can't speak to that part, as I know nothing about it. Thx.
    – Drew
    Mar 28, 2021 at 18:28
  • This is all very confusing because there is a bug in the GNU mailing list archives that has not been fixed in years. There is a mistake in the code that generates the "reply via email to" button, which makes the button quite useless for replying to threads. Refer to this mailing list thread: Source code for "reply via email" on lists.gnu.org
    – Flux
    May 11, 2021 at 5:34

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