[Bug 1082495] [NEW] Support bracketed prefixes in subject as filters

Gordon P. Hemsley gphemsley at gmail.com
Fri Nov 23 21:12:08 CET 2012

Public bug reported:

Many large mailing lists use bracketed prefixes in subjects as a way to
filter messages into smaller buckets, allowing some subscribers to read
all mail sent to the list while allowing others to filter messages (in
their mail client) to read only the messages they are interested in.

For example, the W3C's www-style mailing list uses these tags to filter
messages based on which CSS spec they refer to. Thus, a subject line
that begins "[css3-fonts]" will be assumed to be about only the
css3-fonts spec, with a target audience of only those interested in that
particular spec and not, say, the css3-flexbox spec (whose subject lines
would be prefixed with "[css3-flexbox]").

To handle this, the Mailman archive interface would provide an option to
filter only on particular prefixes (as well as messages that don't have
any prefixes), allowing a user of the archive to use it as they
otherwise would, but filtering the output such that they only see the
messages they want to see, instead of the whole archive.

In addition, it would be helpful to allow mailing lists to automatically
prefix subject lines when the message is sent to an e-mail address using
a plus alias.

For example, sending mail to www-style+css3-fonts at w3.org would prefix
the subject line of the message with "[css3-fonts]" in the message sent
to subscribers and in the archive, whereas sending mail to www-
style+css3-flexbox at w3.org would prefix the message with

It should also be allowed to have multiple prefixes on a message, and
having such messages be treated as if they had any prefix individually.
In terms of plus aliasing, there are two ways to handle it: (1) allow
aliases to specify multiple prefixes in a plus alias using some
separator (e.g. a comma: www-style+css3-fonts,css3-flexbox at w3.org); or
(2) detecting and intercepting when a single message was sent to
multiple e-mail addresses with different plus aliases for a single
mailing list (e.g. sending the same e-mail to both www-
style+css3-fonts at w3.org and www-style+css3-flexbox at w3.org), treating it
as a single message with multiple subject prefixes when sent to
subscribers or stored in the archive.

Now, I understand that this is likely a huge undertaking, but I think it
would go a long way to helping users with large and diverse mailing

** Affects: mailman
     Importance: Undecided
         Status: New

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  Support bracketed prefixes in subject as filters

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