[Mailman-Developers] Html headers & footers, unsubscribe

Mark Sapiro msapiro at value.net
Tue Feb 15 18:45:47 CET 2005

Adrian Bye wrote:
>I wanted to be able to put html headers and footers into messages.  I did not
>like the current mailman style of adding an attachment.

I have only looked briefly at the patches, but one problem I noticed is
that the long description of msg_html_header in the patch to
Mailman/Gui/NonDigest.py says "appended to the bottom" instead of
"prepended to the top".

>2.  1-click unsubscribe with the URL under 60 characters.
>I work with users who are less advanced than your average AOL customer, ...

I suggest that while this 1-click unsubscribe may work well for you, it
does not work well in general.

I have managed lists on Topica.com where every delivered message
contains a footer with the address it was sent to and a 1-click
unsubscribe link.

My experience as a Topica list manager and member of the LOD (list
owner's discussion) list is:

1) These things do not substantially reduce the number of "unsubscribe
me" messages sent to the list manager or the OP or posted to the list.

2) These things cause problems for users when a user forwards or
replies to a message containing the footer without removing it and a
subsequent recipient follows the 1-click unsubscribe out of curiosity,
in a mistaken attempt to unsubscribe him/herself, maliciously or just
to try to "teach" the user not to do that.

This occurs on Topica lists despite the fact that Topica removes the
footer from incoming posts and even if the footer has been mangled so
it is not recognizable as such and not removable, the 1-click
unsubscribe URI is recognized and munged so it doesn't work.

If these 1-click unsubscribe links are not removed from replies to the
list (your "less advanced than your average AOL customer" users won't
remove them before replying), they are going to be widely available on
your lists and people are going to be unsubscribed without their
knowledge or consent.

Even if they are removed from list posts as in the Topica case, they
are still available in off-list replies, Ccs and forwards and still
cause problems.

I am not trying to denegrate the work you've done or your contribution
back to the Mailman project. I think this is a fine example of how
open source works. I'm only trying to point out that there can be a
"dark side" to this feature.

Mark Sapiro <msapiro at value.net>       The highway is for gamblers,
San Francisco Bay Area, California    better use your sense - B. Dylan

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