[Mailman-Developers] Patch for Mail Archive mirroring

Tobias Eigen tobias at kabissa.org
Sat Apr 30 20:33:39 CEST 2005

>>  - New third party archiving option that uses The Mail Archive.  The
>>  implementation subscribes or unsubscribes the
>>  archive at mail-archive.com address from the subscriber list.

I find this whole discussion fascinating. I've been thinking about 
these types of possibilities for a while, and have been watching gmane 
and mail-archive off and on for inspiration for what Kabissa might do. 
Archiving is getting to be a big 'problem' at Kabissa currently, esp as 
our archives get older and bigger, and we desire to move to a more 
interactive and useful format for archiving discussions and making them 
more accessible via the web, i.e. in forums. Maybe the short-term 
answer is to encourage the listowners of our very busy lists to move 
their archives to mail-archive or gmane.

In my view, this sort of functionality belongs at the other end - the 
site that wants to provide the archiving service. Over the years I've 
been toying with the idea of developing a tool hosted at Kabissa that 
would enable our members (organizations working in Africa) to submit 
lists that they want to archive and make accessible via Kabissa... both 
lists hosted on Kabissa's own mailman and those hosted elsewhere. This 
would be beneficial because the list may not be well archived elsewhere 
(chronic problem with pipermail archives), may otherwise only be 
archived at Yahoogroups (advertising driven and not easy to export 
archive to move it later - also don't include attachments), or may not 
be archived at all. Part of the process of submitting the list for 
archiving on Kabissa (providing name, description, home page, subscribe 
instructions etc) would optionally include subscribing an email address 
at Kabissa to the list itself.

The described patch to Mailman is very interesting, though, and I'm 
glad it's been done. I haven't tried the patch, but from what I'm 
hearing the issue of it appearing to endorse one or other archives can 
be dealt with by making the feature customizable - i.e. have a control 
line where mailman admins can configure whatever external archiver they 
want, with completely configurable fields: the name/description of the 
archiver and the email address to automatically add.  The mail-archive 
and gmane options would be included as examples but commented out.

Without opening a can of worms, hopefully, let me close with one last 
thought. I realize this has probably been discussed ad nauseum in other 
places, but there's a bit of a flaw in all this. Email addresses can be 
faked, and so an archiver based on email is going to be fraught with 
problems - or at least a whole lot of spam on the archives once the 
spammers figure out how it works. On our own system, we use Mailman's 
own archiver subsystem for gatewaying messages to our Fud Forum 
(http://www.fudforum.org). Another way I've tried successfully is 
through the use of an email address made up of random characters that 
gets delivered to Fud. That works fine, and since the list is on 
Kabissa (managed by me) and the Fud is on Kabissa, the likelihood of 
spammers getting in by spoofing addresses is pretty low.

Anyway, contact me off list if you want to discuss this further, esp if 
you can point me to resources/threads where this issue is dealt with to 
your satisfaction - it will help me to convince developers of various 
forums that it's worth opening the door to e-mail list/forum 
gatewaying. Here's a classic example of a thread on the Simple Machines 
Forum board: 



Tobias Eigen
Executive Director

Kabissa - Space for Change in Africa

* Kabissa's vision is for a socially, economically, politically, and 
environmentally vibrant Africa, supported by a strong network of 
effective civil society organizations. *

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