[Mailman-Developers] Re: Dates

Barry A. Warsaw barry@digicool.com
Tue, 1 May 2001 23:02:19 -0400

Phew!  A little thing like dates gets us geeks in an uproar.
Whodathunk? :)

First, Mailman will not rewrite Date: headers for messages exploded to
the list.  I'm a firm believer in the least-munging rule.  If the
message gets sent out dated in 1982, then that's what the recipients
will see.  So that one's off the table.

Second, /all/ we're talking about is placing the article in the
archives.  Ideally, the original Date: header would be preserved in
the archive.  But on the other hand, it really doesn't help people
find information when a message is placed 8 years into the future.

Mailman's current approach is less than ideal, and I think the right
thing to do is for the archiver to put some sanity checks on the date
for collation purposes.  What Mailman and the receiving MTA can do is
to mark the message with at least one date it can trust -- the date it
received the message (if that server's clock is broken then oh well).

So, forgetting about Mailman and Pipermail right now, what do
archivers like MHonArc do when handed a message dated way in the
future or way in the past?  Do they dutifully put the message in the
April 2006 bin?

I'm not worried about messages that are a few days off, I'm much more
concerned about messages that are /years/ off.

I think what I will do is leave things the way they are currently,
which gives Mailman the opportunity to be tuned to the archiver being
used.  Pipermail is dumb in the sense that it doesn't sanity check the
Date:, and I can live with the fact that the Date: header in the
archive won't be the original Date: header.  People will still see the
original Date: header in the message they receive from the list (via
regular or digest delivery).  If Pipermail is fixed, we can change the
default to not munge Date: for the archiver, but it's not high on my
priority list.  The site admin can easily change the setting if they
use an archiver that has better behavior.