[Mailman-Users] Question on forwarded admin requests.

Richard Barrett r.barrett at openinfo.co.uk
Thu Feb 19 21:08:38 CET 2004


On 19 Feb 2004, at 16:55, John Grunder wrote:

> Thanks for the advice Richard.  Does turning on the Administrative 
> filter
> force Mailman to check for administrative commands in the subject line
> only?  I get the sense that some of the list members trying to get off 
> of
> the list simply enter a phrase such as "Yes, unsubscribe me from the 
> list
> too!".  I am sure that this comes from the body of the message, rather
> than the subject line.

The code that does the checking is a function called is_administrivia() 
in the file $prefix/Mailman/Utils.py

 From a quick look at the Python code (which is quite legible if you 
want to take a look yourself) it appears to check both the subject line 
and the first 5 lines of the message body.

The check applied is to look for any of a set of words defined as keys 
to a dictionary called ADMINDATA in $prefix/Mailman/Utils.py. These 
include unsubscribe, subscribe and others from the lexicon of email in 
commands that are majordomo'ish.

The criteria that appear to be applied are that the first word of the 
subject or one of the first 5 body line is one of the key words and the 
number of words following that keyword on the line are between limits 
prescribed by min and max values in ADMINDATA associated with that 

So, your "Yes, unsubscribe me from the list too!" example would be 
missed, but a simple "UnSubScriBe" would be detected as administrivia.

It should be quite simple to modify the algorithm to allow the key word 
to be the zeroth to some configurable n'th word on the line which might 
work better for you but I would want to add some checks, say on the 
maximum number of non-blank lines in the body and such to avoid 
generating too many false positives for administrivia from legitimate 
messages. It might also be worth opening up the number of words that 
can follow the keyword.

If you want me to send you a modified version of 
$prefix/Mailman/Utils.py incorporating my thoughts then let me know.

> I think we have some people that just can't follow directions.

Tell me about it. First you have to get them to read it, then to 
understand it; I am uncertain as to which is the more difficult. Still 
without the users where would we be: happy and out of work :)



> Richard Barrett <r.barrett at openinfo.co.uk> writes:
>> On 18 Feb 2004, at 20:18, John Grunder wrote:
>>> Has anyone seen a situation in Mailmain 2.1 where administrative
>>> requests
>>> (subscribe, unsubscribe) might be forwarded back to the unmoderated
>>> list,
>>> and thereby to the general list members?
>>> Is there a setting which could make this happen?
>> The "(Administrivia filter) Check postings and ...?", the 
>> administrivia
>> option, on the General Options web admin GUI page for a list will
>> affect detection of administrative messages sent to a list's primary
>> mail alias. If turned off this will prevent the administrivia filter
>> operating and ensure that, for instance, subscribe and unsubscribe
>> requests are not diverted from the list to the list admin.
>> The default for this list attribute is controlled on list creation by
>> the value of the DEFAULT_ADMINISTRIVIA configuration variable in the
>> $prefix/Mailman/Defaults.py/mm_cfg.py
>>> We have a list which was converted over from Majordomo last month to
>>> Mailman and now all of the members are being flooded with messages 
>>> from
>>> the list requesting to unsubscribe.  Since this overloads other
>>> member's
>>> mailboxes, they too are asking to unsubscribe, and the wave builds.  
>>> We
>>> need to stop this somehow.
>> Why not send a message to the list with a mailto link to the
>> listname-unsubscribe mail alias and text reminding people to use that
>> alias to unsubscribe.

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