Using mailman without passwords WAS Re: [Mailman-Users] Mailman

Matthew Davis bigdog at
Sat Jan 25 23:11:52 CET 2003

* Jon Carnes (jonc at wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Terry McClaugherty"
> Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 10:57 PM
> Subject: [Mailman-Users] Mailman
> > Hi, is it possible to set Mailman up so if a user just sends an email
> > with the word subscribe in the subject then they would be subscribed to
> > the list?
> Yes there are work-arounds that let you do this.  Yes, it is a very bad idea
> to setup a list this way - as I'm sure you will eventually find out.

Just testing this on my mailman installation (Mailman 2.1) and it doesn't
require a password.  I have nothing extra installed (wrappers/addons/etc).

1. I subscribe'd by sending an empty email with 'subscribe' in the subject
to listname-request at host

NOTE:  This same process was repeated using the web based form without
supplying any password.  However, mailman did assign me a password (which I
ignored for the rest of the steps).

2. confirmed by just replying to the email sent to me (which finalized my
subscription process and I start receiving mail).

3. I unsubscribed by sending an empty email with 'unsubscribe' in the
subject to listname-request at host

NOTE: Going to http://host/mailman/options/listname/address%40host gives me
an unsubscribe button.  Pushing this sends me the unsubscribe confirm email.

4. a reply to the sent email finalizes the unsubscribe process.

All steps done without any passwords being sent or used.

So editing the templates (welcome message) and other web forms, one could
easily remove refrences to the password, so users won't know the difference.
Without password authenticating the user can only unsubscribe or have the
password sent to them.  All other options (digest mode/etc) cannot be set by
the user, only the admin.

Now my 2 disclaimers.
1. Do with this information as you see fit, its not the recommended way to
setup a list.
2. Take it for what its worth, it was free.

| Matthew Davis /\ |
| Saturday, January 25, 2003 / 04:42PM       |
Only in America do we use the work "politics" to describe the process so well. "Poll" in Latin meaning "many" and "tics" meaning "bloodsucking creatures"

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