- New third party archiving option that uses The Mail Archive. The
implementation subscribes or unsubscribes the firstname.lastname@example.org address from the subscriber list.
I find this whole discussion fascinating. I've been thinking about these types of possibilities for a while, and have been watching gmane and mail-archive off and on for inspiration for what Kabissa might do. Archiving is getting to be a big 'problem' at Kabissa currently, esp as our archives get older and bigger, and we desire to move to a more interactive and useful format for archiving discussions and making them more accessible via the web, i.e. in forums. Maybe the short-term answer is to encourage the listowners of our very busy lists to move their archives to mail-archive or gmane.
In my view, this sort of functionality belongs at the other end - the site that wants to provide the archiving service. Over the years I've been toying with the idea of developing a tool hosted at Kabissa that would enable our members (organizations working in Africa) to submit lists that they want to archive and make accessible via Kabissa... both lists hosted on Kabissa's own mailman and those hosted elsewhere. This would be beneficial because the list may not be well archived elsewhere (chronic problem with pipermail archives), may otherwise only be archived at Yahoogroups (advertising driven and not easy to export archive to move it later - also don't include attachments), or may not be archived at all. Part of the process of submitting the list for archiving on Kabissa (providing name, description, home page, subscribe instructions etc) would optionally include subscribing an email address at Kabissa to the list itself.
The described patch to Mailman is very interesting, though, and I'm glad it's been done. I haven't tried the patch, but from what I'm hearing the issue of it appearing to endorse one or other archives can be dealt with by making the feature customizable - i.e. have a control line where mailman admins can configure whatever external archiver they want, with completely configurable fields: the name/description of the archiver and the email address to automatically add. The mail-archive and gmane options would be included as examples but commented out.
Without opening a can of worms, hopefully, let me close with one last thought. I realize this has probably been discussed ad nauseum in other places, but there's a bit of a flaw in all this. Email addresses can be faked, and so an archiver based on email is going to be fraught with problems - or at least a whole lot of spam on the archives once the spammers figure out how it works. On our own system, we use Mailman's own archiver subsystem for gatewaying messages to our Fud Forum (http://www.fudforum.org). Another way I've tried successfully is through the use of an email address made up of random characters that gets delivered to Fud. That works fine, and since the list is on Kabissa (managed by me) and the Fud is on Kabissa, the likelihood of spammers getting in by spoofing addresses is pretty low.
Anyway, contact me off list if you want to discuss this further, esp if you can point me to resources/threads where this issue is dealt with to your satisfaction - it will help me to convince developers of various forums that it's worth opening the door to e-mail list/forum gatewaying. Here's a classic example of a thread on the Simple Machines Forum board: http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=10166.0
-- Tobias Eigen Executive Director
Kabissa - Space for Change in Africa http://www.kabissa.org
environmentally vibrant Africa, supported by a strong network of effective civil society organizations. *