[Mailman-Users] Creating multiple new lists, and one-page subscriber interface

Chuq Von Rospach chuqui at plaidworks.com
Thu Aug 17 08:01:38 CEST 2000

At 12:30 AM -0700 8/17/00, Katim S. Touray wrote:

>2.  Has anyone implemented a one-page subscriber interface to Mailman. What I
>want is a facility for people to be able to subscribe/unsubscribe 
>and set their
>subscription options from one page, rather than having to go from one list to
>the next (if they're subscribed to more than one list).  Ideally, the options
>would all be set or re-set by check boxes and/or radio buttons, for 
>ease of use.

I'm (slowly) working on redesigns of the user and admin interfaces, 
and I'm also trying to come up with a new way to handle how messages 
and pages are generated. There are various places where (IMHO, of 
course) the structure gets a bit sideways or convoluted and doesn't 
scale to large sites or sites with users on multiple lists (or 
multiple admins with shared responsibilities...)

I'd be curious what you'd like to see in this, to see how well it 
syncs up with what I'm thinking...

The basic design weakness in mailman is that the center of the 
universe is the list. That's perfectly okay if you have one list, or 
a few, or lists that are more or less independent of each other. But 
try having 35 lists where on average users are on 4-5 lists, where 
each list has at least two listops and everyone needs to keep track 
of which password goes where -- it gets ugly fast.

In reality, the center of universe should be the *user*. Right now, 
lists have subscribers. In my view, users should have subscriptions. 
you clean up a lot of confusion and ugliness from the point of view 
of the end users. Easily 90% of the problems I'm debugging now boil 
down to pilot errors caused by confusion over user passwords, because 
people on multiple lists don't realize they have a separate password 
per list, or simply can't keep them all straight. It really shows the 
need for the user to have a password to the server, which gives them 
access to all of their subscriptions.

What I find nice is that when I dumped my user base into mailman with 
basically nothing but the documentation mailman gives them and no 
real coaching, they've been able to deal with it pretty sucessfully. 
That's very encouraging, but I'm about to do a survey to see if there 
are hidden problems I haven't seen yet.... But it went quite 
painlessly. Other than the password confusions (of which it's all 
over the map, but it boils down to just not being clear to them which 
password goes where when...), the only other thing that's caused 
significant pain was that everyone had digest mode switched off when 
they moved to the new server, and despite multiple warnings and notes 
telling them what to do, some simply don't pay attention. But you can 
only idiot proof so far...

Chuq Von Rospach - Plaidworks Consulting (mailto:chuqui at plaidworks.com)
Apple Mail List Gnome (mailto:chuq at apple.com)

And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
and say 'Man, what are you doing here?'"

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