[Mailman-Developers] Topics/sublists (was Re: Mailman headers roundup)

Terri Oda terri at zone12.com
Wed Nov 2 21:38:26 CET 2011

On 11-11-02 7:26 AM, William Bagwell wrote:
> Many people (including more than a few list owners) have problems with
> Topics and using them correctly and efficiently. Can proved examples /
> statistics if anyone wants? Oddly, I personally have never seen a
> technical list that uses Topics. Have been greeted by crickets the few
> times I have suggested tuning them on in responce to a political flame
> fest.

For the record, I have seen them used on a smaller technical list (which 
was running courses for different mostly tech topics), but the most 
extensive use of a topic system I've ever seen is actually the Systers 
"dynamic sublists" system:


In short, it uses listname+topicname at example.com style email addresses 
to create sublists (listname+new at example.com to start a new one) and 
allows people to subscribe/unsubscribe from those individually.

Overall, it means admins don't have to go around manually setting up 
topics, it means subscribers don't have to try to read regexes to figure 
out what subject tags they need to get grouped with the right topic, and 
it seems to run a lot more smoothly in practice than Mailman's default 
topic system, having used both.

One of the goals with Systers' summer of code work has been to get some 
of this stuff integrated with Mailman, so if we're talking about fixing 
the topic system, I highly recommend we take advantage of the lovely 
code already prepared for us. :)  We may even already have copyright 
releases on file for this.


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