[Mailman-Users] monster created! untangling many lists with many subscribers?

morna findlay morna at inf.ed.ac.uk
Wed Sep 24 13:21:35 CEST 2003

>We're running mailing lists for one school within a university.  The 
>school has
>several hundred subscribers (personnel) split amongst faculty, staff and
>students, a number of different institutes and programs, all spread over 6
>different geographic locations.  There are members of each institute at each
>location.  There are members of each program at each location, and within each
>institute.  Each location, institute and program has faculty, staff, 
>and students.
>We have been asked to create a list for essentially every different 
>  all faculty, all faculty at location A, all faculty at location A 
>in program B,
>all faculty at location A in institute B and program C, all staff ... you get
>the point.

We keep several hundred lists up to date by sourcing the membership 
of each list from our school database. There's enough info in the 
database to figure out, for example

- a list of students taking each module
- a list of staff responsible for each module
- a list of staff in each location
- a list of staff on each grade

and so on and so on.

In other words - we can create and keep up to date dozens of lists 
that no-one will ever use :-)

We then use CVS to send updates from the database in the form of 
files to the mailman server, and use the  "sync_members" command to 
update the membership every night thus:

#Update mailman list memberships from flat files
PATH=<your path here>
export PATH
export elistdir=<your  list path here>/elists
export elistdir
     for i in `ls $elistdir  `; do
         echo $i
         <your mailman path here>/bin/sync_members   -w=no -a=no -f 
$elistdir/$i $i

It's a bit clunky but it works fine.

The main problem is - moderating the dratted lists.

You seriously don't want to have to do that yourself. Not even to start with!

My advice is to give each group of lists a list-owner and send mail 
for that list-owner to a shared mailbox and let local admin staff get 
on with the moderation duties.


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