Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers

Todd Zullinger tmz at pobox.com
Mon Jul 5 21:39:15 UTC 2010

Felipe Contreras wrote:
> Right, but I wonder if I send a mail to all the *-owner lists. Maybe
> the Reply-To would be munged and the threads will diverge.

The *-owner addresses are simply aliases.  They are not mailing lists

> I think it's much safer just to grep for all the admins and send a
> mail directly.

Please don't.  While I can't stop you from doing so, I personally
would find it annoying if everyone that wanted to contact me with some
business related to the users list did so by direct email.  It makes
filtering mail difficult for one.

> Ok, I don't mean to offend, but what is there to do for a ml if not
> moderate messages? Changing the settings? That's not really much
> work at all IMO.

Yeah, the users list is one of the easier lists.  Other lists, like
the websites list, where webmaster at fedoraproject.org mail goes, take
more effort precisely because they allow non-members to post. (And,
for the websites list, not doing so would be completely wrong.)  For
this list, it's much more of a debatable position.

> In any case, there has been only speculation about the amount of
> moderation that would need to be done, right? In my experience it's
> pretty easy to spot spam mail, so even without spam filtering I
> think the job of moderating should not be that hard.

For the websites list it ranges around 20 or so messages a day.  I
have some handy scripts to help automate it as much as I can, but it
still takes some time.  Adding more, higher volume lists would only
add to that time.  Worse though, IMO, is that it introduces a delay
into the communication while folks who's messages are moderated wait
for myself or another admin to check and clear the message.

I think it's preferable to simply reject non-member posts, which lets
the sender know the list policy requires subscription.  The previous
setting of discarding such mail was a mistake, again IMO.

> You could put me as moderator to give a try, there can't be much
> damage to be done. In the worst case I would discard good mail as
> spam, but that's what the system has been doing all along up to today.
> If it really seems to be too much work, then the exercise can be
> cancelled.

Something to be discussed with the other list admins/moderators.  I'm
not sold on the idea of making list posting open, but I'd be willing
to try it and see what effect it had on the moderation queue.  Thank
you for your offer. :)

> BTW. I'm noticing something wrong in the Reply-To header of this mail
> (two times the ml)

This comes from some folks sending mail to the old
fedora-list at redhat.com address.  I've not looked closely to see
whether we can fix that up.  It would likely take a little work at the
system level on the mailman server and possibly coordinating with the
redhat.com mailman admins.  (The Fedora Project now hosts our own
mailman server, rather than using the same setup as Red Hat.)

Todd        OpenPGP -> KeyID: 0xBEAF0CE3 | URL: www.pobox.com/~tmz/pgp
Good judgment comes with experience.  Unfortunately, the experience
usually comes from bad judgment.

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