[ mailman-Feature Requests-1822565 ] Plain text option for nondigest

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Wed Oct 31 07:39:33 CET 2007

Feature Requests item #1822565, was opened at 2007-10-30 03:33
Message generated for change (Comment added) made by jimpop
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Category: None
Group: None
Status: Open
Resolution: None
Priority: 5
Private: No
Submitted By: Cyndi (cyndi)
Assigned to: Nobody/Anonymous (nobody)
Summary: Plain text option for nondigest

Initial Comment:
I searched this to the best of my ability and there seems to be no current method to do it.  I found this:
and searched the feature requests, but it seems no one has submitted this yet, as far as I can tell.

You have a plain-text option for subscribers to select if they receive the digest.  I've tested it and it works perfectly.  Messages that came through as HTML gobblygook in the nondigest will display as lovely plain text in the digest.

What I would love is a plain-text option for the nondigest.  Just exactly what you do for the digests, only post by post.  Yahoogroups does it, as do many other  mailing list sites/programs.

It seems that currently I have only three choices:

1) Convert all posts to plain text.  I can't get this to work right though (I am using a hosting service via my ISP, so they may not have all the prereqs, or I need to tweak it more myself).  But this means people who want HTML can't get it.

2) Get MM to hold all HTML posts for moderation, then I send rejection notices insisting that people post in plain text only.  This "works" but disenfranchises people with poor email skills or who use mailers/ISP's like AOL.  I run a support group filled with people who have brain processing deficits, as well as those who simply don't understand computers.  I've tried for years to get folks to post in plain text and most just can't.  I finally gave up and hand-edited the HTML posts, but this isn't possible on MM (and I hate doing it).

3) Live with it.  Most people have HTML-capable mailers (I'm an oldtimer holdout, but can switch).  The problem is that some of my subscribers are blind or otherwise can't deal with HTML-formatted email (not all have converting software).

A choice #4 (user option for nondigest plain text) would be wonderful.



Comment By: Jim Popovitch (jimpop)
Date: 2007-10-31 02:39

Logged In: YES 
Originator: NO

Hi Cyndi,

First, I am a huge fan of Mailman as well as a long time administrator of
a Mailman system.  Now that I have said that, let me say that I agree with
you that scrub_nondigest doesn't work the way you (nor I) feel it should. 
I leave it disabled on our systems.  That said, what I think you need is
something like demime before the email hits Mailman.  I used that for years
before deciding that HTML email would be ok for our lists.  I do understand
your situation is such that you don't have console access to the system,
but perhaps you can ask your hosting provider to supply if for you.  Again,
I don't think that scrub_nondigest will do what you need, and there is
little else in Mailman to change the overall format of incoming email
messages.  Best wishes. -Jim P.


Comment By: Cyndi (cyndi)
Date: 2007-10-31 02:23

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Originator: YES

If I miss a question, or don't give the answer you need, please ask again.
 Note that I say "HTML" when I really mean "HTML or MIME or related

I am using Mailman on sonic.net. Version 2.1.9.  I can't find more
information than that...my guess is that it's being run on a unix box (or
some flavor of linux).  If it is modified, I don't know where or how.

I started a mailman test list with 4 other volunteers from my current
(majordomo) list so we can work out the kinks.  I am subscribed under two
addresses, so I have digest and nondigest.  I use a non-HTML capable mailer
for most of my work, though I have access to HTML/MIME-capable ones.  My
volunteers use various ISP's and mailers and mostly post in HTML.

When someone posts to the test list in HTML, I get gobbygook in the
individual posts.  The readability varies, depending on their mailer and
settings.  Then I did my new subscription address and chose digest with
plain text.  The digests are completely readable with no HTML code or
anything else like that.  This includes digests made up of posts that were
HTML/junk in nondigest mail.  So the same emails are coming through
differently in nondigest (no conversion) and digest (plain text

When I tested the scrub_nondigest setting, the posts still went through,
but the content was removed from any that were not sent in plain text.  For
example, this was the complete body of one message (the sender posted in
HTML and included a small graphic as part of the test; the MM footer was
appended correctly at the bottom, which I have removed here):

An HTML attachment was scrubbed...

If you go to that URL, you'll see that the message is a complete mess.  My
plain text posts came through fine (just like they did before using the
scrub_nondigest setting), but anything with HTML or a graphic got the
treatment above.

So, I turned the scrub_nondigest setting back off and went to the Content
Filtering page.  I turned it on and removed the attachment types but
otherwise left defaults as is.  I got errors similar to those with
scrub_nondigest.  Perhaps I need to put more of the defaults back in; I am
willing to play with it if I can find some clear directions.

If it would be helpful, I would be happy to forward emails to you from my
tests.  Or I could run new tests at your request.  I've already posted to
sonic.help.lists which is my ISP's internal newsgroup for MM issues (no
replies on that topic yet).

Thanks very much for your discussion and let me know if I failed to answer
a question fully.



Comment By: Mark Sapiro (msapiro)
Date: 2007-10-30 23:15

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Originator: NO

Sorry. I didn't read the message you referenced in your original
description. My bad.

However, I don't understand why you say scrub_nondigest "was a total
disaster" and regarding plain digests "I've tested it and it works
perfectly."  Exactly the same scrubber process is applied in both cases.
Perhaps when you tested the digest, you looked at a multipart/alternative
message and when you tested scrub_nondigest, you looked at an HTML only
message. Or perhaps you are using someone else's modified Mailman. If so,
perhaps you could convince them to abide by the terms of the GPL and submit
their patches.

As far as the scrubber links not working well is concerned, the only issue
with current Mailman project Mailman that I am aware of is you have to log
in if your archives are private. There are other issues I am aware of with
some cPanel versions, but those are beyond our control. What problems did
you have, and what Mailman version is this?

HTML to plain text conversion relies on an external program (default
lynx). In older versions of Mailman there were issues because
quoted-printable and base64 encoded HTML was passed to the external program
without decoding, but this was fixed in (I think) 2.1.7.

As far as the request for an individual option is concerned, it is a valid
request, but even though you seem convinced that we know how to do what you
want for digests, I'm not convinced, so we need to resolve that first.
Otherwise you may get a user option for something that you consider


Comment By: Cyndi (cyndi)
Date: 2007-10-30 22:24

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Originator: YES

Well, you yourself said that anyone wanting this ability to be per-user
should submit a feature request here (see
http://www.mail-archive.com/mailman-users@python.org/msg36881.html ).  So I
did.  If it can be per user for digests, I don't see why not for
nondigests, but you know the limitations of the software.

I already tested the scrub_nondigest option and it was a total disaster. 
It didn't do any conversion.  All it did was take all the text (along with
any attachments) in the message and remove it, then put a link to where to
find it.  Even that didn't work well.

I also tested the Content Filtering to do HTML conversion to plain text
and it was even more of a disaster.  I found some instructions that
indicate it is very complex to setup, but my browser crashed so I'll have
to look them up again.  I think it might be possible to do HTML conversion
on all the posts but only if my ISP agrees to do some stuff on their end. 
And it's not straightforward.

For right now, I would be happy with a bug-free way to do conversions for
the entire list.  But I still think a feature where the user can choose
HTML or plain text individual posts is a good thing.


Comment By: Mark Sapiro (msapiro)
Date: 2007-10-30 21:48

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Originator: NO

Perhaps you didn't search well enough, or perhaps we just hide or don't
describe the option in these terms, but the Non-digest
options->scrub_nondigest option in the list admin interface will do what
you want. It will apply the same process that is applied to the plain
digest to individual messages.

The only problem is this is a list option, not an individual subscriber


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