[Mailman-Users] A new wishlist item: options to clean up inbound or digests.

Ed Halley ed at halley.cc
Sun Sep 16 20:56:38 CEST 2001

I do not use the Mailman server myself, but I am a member on several
Mailman-driven lists.  I usually sign up with the digest form, as that
fills my mailbox with fewer messages.

One frustration I have with any digesting software, and Mailman is no
exception, is that the digest is not very smart:  it leaves in lots of
redundant noise that could be removed from the summary.

Of course, it won't be possible to make the digest software overcome the
lack of etiquette that its users display, but there are a few
automatable anti-noise features I'd like to see.

These can either be hardwired into Mailman, or they can be made into
orthogonally selectable options.  These can be done on the input side,
or on the digest output side, either way.

Option 1:  Remove Tail List Signature from Inbound
  When receiving a message to a list, if the last N consecutive lines
  match the list's own signature lines (ignoring leading regex
  [\[\]\|\>\t ]*), remove those lines from the inbound message.
  Also remove a line preceding the N lines which is exactly "--",
  the standard signature-follows mark.  Defaults off if O#2 below
  is also implemented, defaults on if not.

Option 2:  Remove Redundant List Signatures from Inbound
  Like O#1 above, except it looks through all lines of the message,
  not just the tailing N lines.  Defaults on.

Option 3:  Remove Redundant Blank Lines from Inbound
  Any multiple consecutive lines that are blank (again ignoring
  leading regex [\[\]\|\>\t ]*) are removed.  Only one consecutive
  blank line is allowed.  Defaults on.

Option 4:  Remove Personal Signatures from Inbound
  Any trailing lines following the standard signature-follows mark,
  a line exactly "--", are removed.  Defaults off.

Option 5:  Maximum Reply Quotation Level from Inbound
  For any line beginning with the regex [\[\]\|\>][\[\]\|\>\t\ ]*,
  count the non-whitespace characters in the match.  If the
  count is greater than the chosen maximum, replace it (and similar
  consecutive lines) with a line that reads "[ deep reply quotations
  edited out by Mailman for brevity ]".  Rationale:  people have
  seen the deeply quoted material several times.  Defaults to off, but
  suggests a maximum of 3 levels if turned on.

Other options are to perform O#2, O#3, O#5 only when compiling a
digest, and not for all inbound messages.  This makes for a condensed
digest, while leaving direct-from-list inbound messages alone.

Unfortunately, this has to be a set of admin configured options; to
offer this as an individually adjustable set of digesting options would
require compiling all requested permutations of digest options.

I think the actual processing load will be tolerable for any human
usable mail list, and would only be a problem for machines that
host many dozens of very active Mailman lists.  The benefits, on the
other hand, will be mightily popular with Mailman-list mail recipients,
for the lower signal-to-noise ratio of their daily digests or emails.

(I'm not on mailman-users at python.org, so if you'd like to reply, reply
directly. Thanks.)

[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]

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