[Mailman-Developers] Features query

Steven Clift slc@publicus.net
Sat, 10 Aug 2002 13:16:33 -0500

I am a huge Mailman fan, listowner, non-techie ... I just checked out 
the member web interface for the 2.1 version and archive back a 
couple months for this list.


Get MIME verse plain text ... none of my list users will know what 
MIME means.  If the default for lists plain text for users, then I 
would reverse the question and explain what a MIME digest is, perhaps 
list a few e-mail programs/versions+ that support it and few big ones 
that don't.


1. Passwords - will it be there be one universal password for all 
lists a person has on a server (particularly for the autogenerated 

2. Daily list post limits - Can we technically limit the number of 
posts per person per day.  With a two post limit, an attempt to post 
a third time would either moderate or bounce the post based on the 
list settings.

2. Archives - Are there plans for enhanced integrated archives in 
2.1?  If not, is there a sub-group working on this topic?  I'd like 
to connect with anyone who has implement an elegant solution here 
(and figured out how to munge e-mail addresses to prevent e-mail 
harvesting) that allows a wrap around of a sites general look and 
navigation.  Further, what about a "Subjects" digest option that 
would only e-mail out the subject lines with links to the archived 
posts the line below?

3. Syndication - Minnesota E-Democracy <http://e-democracy.org> is 
slowly moving our remaining lists off Yahoogroups.  We'd like to 
connect "what is happening now" on our mailing lists to our home page 
using RSS or something similar to place automatically updated subject 
line links to specific archived posts.  I am aware of what 
http://mail-archive.com does.

3. List searching/monitoring - How about e-mail list archive searches 
via the web and the ability to be notified via e-mail when lists you 
are directly subscribe to use your keywords.  Imagine 300 e-mail 
lists across Minnesota - the value of our very public local community 
discussions and statewide topical information exchange e-lists would 
be greatly enhanced if people had a non-list member "lurking" option.

4. Enhanced directory information/statistics - I am interested in the 
automatic generation of statistics that would help a user determine 
if a list is worth joining (i.e. is it alive, member numbers, message 
volume) as well as the creation of additional fields 
<http://www.publicus.net/opengroups/meta.html> that list managers of 
"public" lists can opt into to using.  The big idea is that groups 
sites using Mailman could gather and distribute their directory 
information (not unlike listserv or the list directories at 
Yahoogroups) making it easier to find e-lists of interest.  
(Obviously major anti-e-mail harvesting controls would have to put in 
place or these concepts could make it too easy to overwhelm list 
owners with non-member e-mail posting attempts.)

5. Member directory - You might write this off as a web forum thing, 
but E-Democracy could really use an option that would assign every 
list member on our server a public page where they could opt-in to 
tell other members about themselves.  Something like
>From here we could also hang links to their posts across the 
different list public archives (has anyone seen a good MYSQL e-list 
archive system) as well as consider options for E-Bay like ratings 
from other participants on substance and style (we host 
political/community discussions and we need tools that enhance member-
to-member self-governance and accountability).

I know this is a lot and much of this might be Mailman 5.0.  My 
honest sense is that Mailman, once it has a user-oriented web 
for list members, simple, yet powerful web archives, and a DMoz-like 
directory scheme for public lists, could become an open source 
wildfire that saves low cost/free e-mail group communication on the 
Net as Yahoogroups folds due to the lack profitability.  My whole 
deal is to promote tools that allow people to organize and 
communicate in groups, particularly in local communities around the 
The truth is that the most important freedom on the Internet is the 
freedom of electronic association NOT speech.  Speech is only 
effective or powerful when you have an audience.  E-mail lists are 
the most powerful tool for group communication and freedom on the 
Internet and I see the increasingly enhanced progess of Mailman as 
one of the key democratization on the Internet and honestly, in the 
"real" world.  Keep up the good work.

On the side, if you don't think I am full of b.s. and are interested 
in connecting with other "civic-interested" techies that I have met 
around the world (I speak on e-democracy globally), please drop me a 
note: clift@publicus.net

Steven Clift