[Mailman-Users] Users to change their address themselves

Listwrangler listwrangler at iximd.com
Wed Sep 22 21:40:29 CEST 1999

>for that matter, what advantage does a "change address" function have over
>simply unsubscribing and re-subscribing?

Well for one thing, I'm the administrator, the fewer steps involved in
changing addresses the better. For the user, again, the smaller number of
steps, the better. With unsub then sub there is the  small possibility that
they could unsub but not manage to get resubbed as well.

It's not very effecient either. Right now, you have to go to the sub page,
then go to the edit page, then enter your info, get the acknowledgement,
then go back to the sub page, enter the new address, get the
acknowlegement. With download time for each page. Slow.

For a change of addresses, you could minimize the number of clicks (and
time spent downloading pages) if the edit page let you put in both the old
and new address, then enter your password. (Just like the change password
form.) You click it once, and get one confirmation. Half the time and work.

However, there would need to be an option in the config file 'allow user to
change address yes/no' which would then be selected as appropriate for the
needs of the list. If no, then it gets held for approval. If yes, then it
takes effect automatically. The administrator decides what level of
security is needed for his lists.

Speaking of efficiency: currently when I use the admin password to un/sub
somebody from a list, it gets sent to the pending queue for approval.
That's silly -- anything done with the list administrator's password should
take effect immediately and not require a special trip to the admin page. I
mean, I just approved it by doing it with the admin password. Why a
redundant step to click into the admin page with my password to click the
buttons all over again?

>the only problem i can see is that if the old address is 'dead' then the
>unsubscribe can not be confirmed.  so be it.  leave it alone and it
>becomes like any other 'dead' address in a list.  what does mailman
>normally do with addresses that are consistenly undeliverable?

Then bounce takes over. But -- lots of my users have multiple addresses,
and they don't want email at both of them. (Well, some do. But not
usually.) Therefore they want to switch from one live address to another.

The trick is to figure out how to minimize the steps so that it is both
simpler and more secure for the user (and admin).

>> However, this is no worse than how things are already. Mailman can already
>> be used to subscribe an unwilling user. Just type in that user's email
>> address, set the password, and let it go. If the address looks plausible,
>> the list administrator will approve it.  Eg, I'll subscribe
>> joeuser at yahoo.com but I won't subscribe president at whitehouse.gov .
>this is exactly why subscription confirmation is used.  this should only
>be possible if you have disabled confirmation.

Yes, I did disable confirmation because it doesn't meet our needs.  I've
haven't tested Mailman's confirmations so I don't know exactly what Mailman
does, but I can cite some problems with other confirmation systems:

1) The time limit. If I don't send the confirmation in the allotted window,
I don't get subscribed, and I have to go back and do it all over again. I
usually don't bother. Not everybody lives on email and might not check it
often enough. Most users don't realize there is a time limit.

2) The confirmation doesn't work. You do what it says, and it dumps you,
and you have to do it all over again. Again, people usually don't bother.

3) Press releases. CBS, ABC, A&E, various organizations, etc, are not going
to bother to respond to a confirm request. But I'm gonna send them press
releases anyhow. They all have addresses to be used to receive press
releases and related materials, that's the address I subscribe.

4) The subscribed address has been aliased, so that the responding address
does not match the subscribed address and is rejected. Or the listserve
doesn't recognize that 'user at yale.edu' is the same as 'user at comp.yale.edu'.
Or the address has been munged.

5) If they have to confirm to unsubscribe, they get annoyed. Users tend to
quit when irritated, and they just want the hell out. Having their
unsubscribe delayed pisses them off.

Again, I haven't reviewed Mailman's confirmation process, so some of these
concerns may not apply.

Also, and again, I have not dug into this, it should be possible to set
subscription and unsubscription requests to be handled differently. For
certain lists we carefully screen who gets on and make subscribing hard,
but we don't care if they quit and therefore want to make unsubscribing as
simple as possible. Right now the checkbox sets subscribe and unsubscribe
as the same thing.
>> If you have set Mailman to send a subscription announcement, then the
>> unwilling subscriber gets a message that tells them they've been subscribed
>> and what to do if they want to be unsubscribed, which tends to discourage
>> pranks. However, a high volume list could clog somebody's email box if they
>> don't log on and don't get the 'you have subscribed' email for a couple of
>> days.
>the unwilling user should also get a subscription confirmation request and
>the subscription will not take place until they confirm.

Doesn't meet our needs.

Which also brings me to another suggested featured: timed response from admin.

That is to say, if a pending admin request goes untended for X amount of
time, what happens to it? There should be the abilty to set some options
like, 'after three days, discard'. Or 'after 5 days, do' whatever the
request was for.

And an opportunity to set the reminder frequency. Currently you get one
reminder per day.  A week out of the office and you get seven reminder
messages, none of which tells you anything you didn't already know. If you
could set the frequency -- however many minutes, hours, days, you wanted to
be reminded that would be good. A low priority list could be set to send a
reminder once a week, a very active list could be set to send a reminder
every hour, as it suited the administrator.

And there is a need for an moderator. Normally the listadmin get all
messages. That's not usually necessary. But, if you could select a
moderator and an adminstrator, you could select, 'send administrivia to
moderator yes/no' and send 'administrivia to administrator yes/no' and
'send to administrivia to administrator if moderator does not respond in X
days'. That way you can hand off a list to a moderator, but if it buggers
up, the software let's you know you're needed. Like my moderator who went
out of town for three weeks and didn't tell me...


listwrangler at iximd.com
List administrator and webmaster

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