[Mailman-Users] list management via email

Jon Carnes jonc at nc.rr.com
Tue Mar 16 01:56:21 CET 2004

On Mon, 2004-03-15 at 05:02, Leigh Silvester wrote:
> Okay I have spent about 5 hours going through archives but not found anything that addresses my scenario.
> In a nutshell I wish to be able to manage the membership of a list via emails sent by a PHP script, emails to a list admin which would probably include admin password to authorise the action to automate administration.
> Background.
> The lists are to be closed ones that are distribution lists for various societies/organisations.
> Have previously done this with ColdFusion/Lyris, where the Coldfusion scripts send an email containing a password and "subscribe listname joe.bloggs at bloggs.com joe bloggs [quiet]" to a lyris list admin address that automatically adds that address to the relevant list.
> Similarly a passworded message containing "unsubscribe listname joe.bloggs at bloggs.com [quiet]" would remove that address.
> The intention is to update details on the list as users update their details on a database conatining information in addition to their email address. This means users have a single point of maintaining their details while the owners of these lists gain the advantage of suing the efficiecny of using a mail list for mass emailing, rather than doing PHP mail which can put a bit of a strain on the server when sending tens of thousands of emails.
> Is such a thing possible with Mailman?
> I have done a few experiments sending emails with "subscribe" to a small closed list I manage but it hits the "posting by a non-member" issue.
> Obviously I could send it with the listmanager email address but then it would try to subscribe the listmanager - which is already subscribed...
> Ideally I am hoping to be flamed with "... it's all here [link] in black and white if you bother to look for it".
> This will be on a hosted server to which I will not have shell access.
> Regards
> Leigh

If you look *way* back in the archives you'll see a discussion from 3+
years back where I setup a client to be able to be able to do command
line activities via special email addresses to a mailman list.
Afterwards I coached someone else in a successful effort to do the same.
The special addresses (like listname-quiet_remove at domain.com) did a
specified Admin task for a list. Each email had to start with a text
line that included a special enabling password - something like:
  password: ubergeek

That was followed by a list of email addresses to be removed from the

The script sent back a confirmation email indicating which users had
been removed and which were not (and the reason they were not - such as,
"email address not found on list".

These small command-lets are very easy to write.

Of course these days, I would simply hack the Python code and add the
desired functionality.  Mailman's code is fairly easy to follow and it's
all cut and paste. You might look at it as a good way to learn Python!

Good Luck - Jon Carnes

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