[Mailman-Developers] Mailman 2.1 Topics for Dummies

Terri Oda terri at zone12.com
Wed Mar 12 15:50:41 EST 2003

I'm writing the mailman list subscriber documentation and I'm trying to find
a good way to explain how topics work.  Most if it isn't too hard to do,
but, unfortunately, I'd have to explain regular expressions to people for
them to be able to look at any topic and figure out how to post to it.  That
seems a little excessive, so I've simplified and just give examples to show
some things which they're likely to encounter.

But I wonder... Wouldn't it be easier if Mailman could just *tell* people
what needs to appear in their subject line or keywords line when they click
on the details of any given topic?  If your topic regexp is something like
\[Networking\] then it's not going to be inherantly obvious to everyone that
that means you put [Networking] in your Subject line, and if people make the
logical error of using \[Networking\] in their subject line, it won't work. 
I'm not sure the best way to avoid this... maybe something which gives a
minimally matching expression so if someone checks the details for the
networking topic, they see:

Name:                  Networking course
Pattern (as regexp):   \[Networking\]
Description:           Networking course for complete beginners wishing to 
                       establish a simple home newtork
To post under this topic , put "[Networking]" (witout the quotes) into the
Subject: or the Keywords: line in your message.  (These lines can also
appear in the first X lines of the body of your message.)

I know, I can put this into the description, but we can't assume everyone
will do this, and right now the member interface doesn't even mention how
this matching is done -- for all the subscriber knows, the pattern could
match on the entire message!  The suggested tag for posting could be
generated from the regular expression or inputted by the admin.

Also, does it say anywhere that this is done case-insensitively?  I didn't
see it when I was glancing around, but it's possible that I missed it.  If
it doesn't say so, can we make it say so somewhere? It should say so at
least in the admin pages, but I can't think of any good reason not to
mention it on the member options page too.


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