[Mailman-Users] Umbrella/Parent Lists

Wesley T. Perdue wes at greenfieldnetworks.com
Thu May 8 21:51:56 CEST 2003


I've recently implemented Mailman 2.1.2 for my office.  I'm completely happy with Mailman, with one exception: I'm surprised at the lack of support of nested lists.

I too came across Jon Carnes' workaround shell script (thanks, Jon!); it didn't meet my needs as-is, but inspired me to write a more elaborate Perl script that comes closer.  I needed a solution that provided an arbitrary depth of list nesting; my Perl script supports that.  It uses rules written in text files (one file per parent list, which includes the component list names) to automatically build the parent lists from their component lists.

For example, eng is the list of all engineers at my company; it is composed of three lists: the hardware engineers, the software engineers, and others that must monitor the eng list.  The hardware engineer list is itself composed of three different lists.

My script lacks one feature I need: I'd like it to be driven by membership changes in the child lists, rather than cron-driven.  That is, when someone joins or leaves my software list, I'd like my eng list to be automatically updated.  I'm not a Python programmer (I'm barely a Perl programmer), so it may take me a while to figure out how to implement this feature.  Arbitrarily rebuilding all parent lists on a frequent basis is a waste of resources on my already busy server; plus, it introduces a time delay in the parent-list-updating.

My script does not address your need for posting rules based on list membership; that seems to be a more involved change to Mailman's behavior, which will probably need to be written in Python.

I have more basic posting rules needs; in general, I allow all list members to post to the list, and then use the regular expression rules to also allow posting from within our site, while denying posting from anyone off-site.

If your lists are low-traffic or you have staff that can act as list moderator(s), a combination of regular expression rules and manually moderating the lists may be a useful way to restrict posts.  For example, you could allow initially moderated posts for list members, moderate posts from non-list but site members, and discard posts from non-site members.

I hope you find this helpful.

Wes Perdue
IT Manager, Greenfield Networks

At 09:07 AM 5/7/2003 -0500, Greg Harris wrote:
>After looking through the many articles on this topic, I am still not
>seeing a truly dynamic fix.  First, I am not very familiar with python
>programming and this is the first time I have set up a mailing list, so
>please be forgiving.
>I am mainly looking at how to allow all users from certain other local
>lists, to post to a higher list.  Let me try to quickly explain.  I work
>in a public school system, so I will use that example.  The High School
>Principal would be in a list which would only include himself and the
>Assistant Principals, HS-Principals.  That list would be covered by a
>Principals list.  The Principals list would be a compilation of the
>different building principal lists and all principals would be able to
>post to the Principals list.  However, HS-Principals would also be part
>of HS-Staff.  HS-Staff would be an umbrella for the list English,
>Science, etc.  Only HS-Principals would be allowed to send to HS-Staff. 
>Hopefully by now, you can see that this is just using the organizational
>structure for a creation of Umbrella/Parent lists that would encompass
>the entire district.  Essentially, I want to put each user in only one
>list, and then use those lists to determine who can write to what lists.
>Although the initial setup will be huge, the long term management will
>be much easier than trying to add each person to all the lists that they
>would be a part of.
>Rather than using scripts and cron jobs to build lists, it would seem to
>be a better use of resources to use regular expressions in the
>accept_these_nonmembers.  Unfortunately, I do not have the experience to
>write these expressions.  Has anyone else tried this?  Am I completely
>off my rocker and about to watch it burn?
>Greg Harris

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