thunderbird / mailing list / reply

  • Written by Walter Doekes

  • Published on: 12/06/2012

How do you reply to a mailing list post when you do not have the mail in your INBOX? With Thunderbird it is easy enough, as long as you know how.

How it works

Mail threads are matched by comparing the In-Reply-To header with the Message-ID.

Here’s an example from an Asterisk project reviewboard mailing:

Date: Fri, 08 Jun 2012 08:08:42 -0000
Message-ID: <20120608080842.8103.32910@hotblack.digium.com>
In-Reply-To: <20120607143847.27705.11556@hotblack.digium.com>
References: <20120607143847.27705.11556@hotblack.digium.com>
Subject: Re: [asterisk-dev] [Code Review] Fix issue of unrecognized inbound
 ACK when Asterisk responds to an INVITE with a 481

Every e-mail message has a globally unique message identifier. You can tell that a mail is a reply to another mail, by comparing the mail’s In-Reply-To to the Message-ID of the original.

In the example above, the original message has: Message-ID: <20120607143847.27705.11556@hotblack.digium.com>

On to the problem at hand: where do I fill out that In-Reply-To in my Thunderbird e-mail client?

The solution: the command line to the rescue!

How you do it

If you wanted to reply to the message above, you’d take the message id — most mailing list web interfaces do show the message id — from that mail, and call thunderbird like this. (Make sure you replace the values where appropriate.)

$ thunderbird 'mailto:asterisk-dev@lists.example.com?In-Reply-To=<20120608080842.8103.32910@hotblack.digium.com>&Cc=yourself@example.com&Subject=Re:%20bla%20bla'

Thunderbird will pop up a Compose window with the Subject and Cc pre-set and, most importantly, it will set the In-Reply-To and References headers for you.

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