[Mailman-Users] Using mailman to take care of mailer-demons

Jon Carnes jonc at haht.com
Mon Jan 14 18:59:57 CET 2002

So the problem is that you want a list of the email addresses that are
undeliverable, so they can be removed from the database (either manually or
via a script).

Mailman does some of this.  You can read the ~mailman/logs/bounce log file
and see some of the mails that are bouncing (and why).  Mailman handles
these bounces automatically for you (based on the values that put in config
for the list) - removing the bad addresses from Mailman's database.

Other bounces (that come back in a non-standard format that Mailman can't
interpret), will be posted to the admin for handling (assuming you have the
list set so that only members or admin's can post).  These messages are
stored in ~mailman/data/..

You should be able to scan the bounce log file daily and pluck out email
addresses that are bad.  You should also be able to scan the held messages
in ~mailman/data/.. and pluck out the ones that are bounces.  The syntax of
a script to do that on a daily basis is pretty simple.

You could then feed that list of bad addresses into a script that flags them
in your oracle database.

Note: some folks have reported that Mailman drops certain bounces.  In
otherwords, they just disappear.  I haven't seen that kind of behavior, but
if it is true, then you will miss some of the bounces that come back, and
you will do better to simply run a email checking program.  There are
several versions available.  You feed the program a list of email addresses,
and it gives you back a list of bad email addresses and good email

The address checking program opens up a message envelope with a mail server
and act as though it is going to drop off a piece of mail for the user in
question.  If the server okays it, then the program simply stops talking to
the server and no message is sent.  If the server rejects the address, the
program marks the address as bad.  Again no message is sent.

You will get some false positives from this, but it does works for a
majority of bad addresses.

Hope this helps - Jon Carnes
----- Original Message -----
From: "Morten Brix Pedersen" <morten at wtf.dk>
To: <mailman-users at python.org>
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2002 9:20 AM
Subject: [Mailman-Users] Using mailman to take care of mailer-demons

> Hi,
> At my company, we have a rather big amount of websites where users can
> subscribe to newsletters and more. Now we are having the problem that
> more than 3000 messages are coming back as mailer demons, and a person
> has to delete these e-mails automatically.
> All the e-mail addresses lies in an Oracle database.
> Question: Is it possible to set up Mailman to do this?:
> 1) When a mailer-demon is received for the Xth time, Mailman executes a
> program to delete the user from our Oracle database (and delete it from
> Mailmans database)
> 2) All e-mails not being mailer-demons, should still go through to the
> right person. That is, if an e-mail is being sent to foo at bar.com, then
> mailer-demons should be filtered of, and normal e-mails should still be
> sent to the appropriate person.
> Thanks in advance.
>     - Morten.
> ------------------------------------------------------
> Mailman-Users maillist  -  Mailman-Users at python.org
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