[Mailman-Users] mail loops: list-request and vacation messages
Chuq Von Rospach
chuqui at plaidworks.com
Tue Jun 26 00:14:19 CEST 2001
On Monday, June 25, 2001, at 11:02 AM, Gunnar Evermann wrote:
> Some guy send a request to list-request and left for holidays
> activating some stupid vacation feature in his Mailer (Outlook). When
> Mailman replied to the request message Outlook sent back not one but
> two vacation messages  back to list-request.
> It would be nice if Mailman was more resistant to these mail loops
Suggestions on how?
the mailbot that guy used was seriously broken and non-conforming. It
ignores Precedence headers, which are there (in part) to tell mailbots
NOT to mailbot a message in the first place, and it's not smart enough
to not repeatedly mailbot a single address. Both of those are basic,
trivial functionality ANY mailbot ought to have -- and many of them have
had for 15 years or more. It's sad there are still people who think they
can write softwrae that are so uninformed about stuff they're writing,
but that's a different argument.
Did the guy who set up the mailbot give mailman any way of telling this
was a mailbot, or a loop? Did they include any keywords, like "out of
the office" or "vacation" or "I am an idiot who's mailbot is going to
make you crazy now"?
Unnfortunately, there's a basic reality here -- no matter how smart you
make mailman, one stupid mailbot can sidetrack everytihng you can do to
stop it. Can Mailman get better? sure. what can't? But until people find
ways to make it better, it's hard.
What did this mailbot do that an automated systems like Mailman
These mailbot loops are the bane of administrators, especially since the
worst ones are usually started on Friday afternoon before a 3 day
weekend, because the worst of the vacation bots are set up at the last
minute by someone primarily interested in LEAVING, not making the
mailbot work, and otherwise aren't configured, tested or monitored --
and the admin is likely gone and doesn't know until he comes back after
the weekend that the mailbot's been sending 2000 messages an hour. And
the idiot who sets the mailbot up blames you, of course...
If you can find something the mailbot did that (a) would allow mailman
to recognize it as such, and (b) wouldn't cause false positives by
blocking legitimate messages, let us know. We'll look at improving
mailman to trap it. But the blatting mailbot is the problem -- it's
ignoring ALL of the things Mailman's done all along to tell the mailbot
to leave it alone and not bother telling us about the vacation; worse;
that vacation bot isn't smart enough to know it's already told us -- it
must think we're really stupid to have to tell us repeatedly....
Chuq Von Rospach, Internet Gnome <http://www.chuqui.com>
[<chuqui at plaidworks.com> = <me at chuqui.com> = <chuq at apple.com>]
Yes, yes, I've finally finished my home page. Lucky you.
Some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant.
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