[Mailman-Users] how to arrange a list with 'affiliate' members

Barnaby Scott barnabydscott at yahoo.com
Tue May 11 18:20:11 CEST 2004

Thanks for your reply. This was a solution I
considered, but as you point out, members of one list
do not have an automatic right to post to a
'sub-list'. As the moderator, I really do not want the
job of subscribing/unsubscribing people to the extra

As for the Reply-To munging, you make some very valid
points, and personally I am, in principle, on the
non-munging side of the debate. However you seriously
underestimate the technophobia of my members! These
people are confused enough - many cannot even grasp
the idea that you use 'Reply' to reply to *any* kind
of email and, conversely, our archive is awash with
replies that are actually new threads (presumably
because they cannot operate their address book and
therefore reply to an old post to save typing the
list's address - despite then having to delete all the
original message!) With the exception of myself and
perhaps 2 other members, I believe they all actively
hate everything to do with computers and only tolerate
them because of what they can do. Not surprising
really, when you learn that we are all hand-makers of
furniture - so by definition have turned our backs on
much that is technical. 

So despite my natural inclination, I really do think
there is a place for Reply-To munging, and with
clientele like mine I'm afraid I really can't budge on

In desperation I am now working on a script which acts
as a gate between the two lists. An address which
aliases to this script will be subscribed to both
lists, though only to one topic in 'discuss'. My task
is to make sure that any one message can pass through
the gate to the other list only once so that no loop
could ever be established (even in the event of
X-BeenThere headers being lost). Any tips on this
project would of course be welcome. The principle
seems pretty straightforward, but making it fool-proof
is a bit harder.

--- "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen at xemacs.org> wrote:
> >>>>> "Barnaby" == Barnaby Scott
> <barnabydscott at yahoo.com> writes:
>     Barnaby> I am trying to configure a list or
> group of lists to
>     Barnaby> exhibit the following behaviour, but
> have been having
>     Barnaby> trouble:
>     Barnaby> I run a list called 'discuss', which is
> a discussion list
>     Barnaby> for members of our organisation. We
> would also like to
>     Barnaby> invite a handful of people to be
> 'affiliate' members, but
>     Barnaby> who would not have quite the same
> experience of the list.
>     Barnaby> We want these 'affiliate members' to be
> able to post to
>     Barnaby> 'discuss', and any replies to their
> posts to be
>     Barnaby> distributed to them. In addition we
> would like regular
>     Barnaby> members to be able to insert a keyword
> to indicate that
>     Barnaby> the conversation they are starting is
> to include these
>     Barnaby> 'affiliate members'. But for all other
> list traffic, they
>     Barnaby> would excluded.
> Why not just have two separate lists, and
> automatically subscribe the
> "discuss" members to the the "affiliate" list?  No
> keyword needed,
> just address your post correctly.  Reply-To will not
> go to an "unsafe"
> place (unless a discuss member decides to move a
> thread from the
> "affiliates" list to the "discuss" list, and forgets
> to change the
> address---but I don't see why this is more likely
> than forgetting to
> remove the [affiliate] tag).
> Since the discuss list is apparently closed (ie,
> membership requires
> moderator approval), this imposes a slight burden on
> the moderator (I
> don't think vanilla Mailman provides a facility
> where subscribing to
> one list subscribes you to a second list
> automatically), but otherwise
> is just what the doctor ordered AFAICS.
>     Barnaby> The only other solution I could think
> of was to have
>     Barnaby> another list - say 'open', of which
> 'discuss' was a
>     Barnaby> member. This would allow control of who
> was an affiliate
>     Barnaby> member, and would take care of inbound
> posts to
>     Barnaby> 'discuss'. However, to allow replies
> back to the
>     Barnaby> affiliate members would involve either:
>     Barnaby>  *Having the 'discuss's reply-to
> UN-munged
> Yup, in this case Reply-To Munging Is Unquestionably
> Harmful.
>     Barnaby> (which I am against because we have
> 100% non-technical
>     Barnaby> people, and no replies would ever reach
> any list at all
>     Barnaby> if they had to remember to hit 'reply
> to all'!)
> It's a shame that you and list admins who think like
> you didn't start
> lobbying their members and the vendors to fix their
> broken MUAs ten
> years ago, but that's no reason not to start
> now---it's not the last
> time this kind of case will arise.
> N.B. Stop using "non-technical" users as an excuse. 
> If they're typing
> replies, they have sufficiently well-developed
> muscle memory to handle
> this, too.  The problem is that the users, quite
> rightly IMO, resist
> using reply-to-all because it pollutes their screen
> with unwanted junk
> addresses, and annoys fellow list members with
> duplicate posts.  They
> "know there's a better way," and they are
> right---but their MUAs don't
> offer it.
> So fix the damn MUAs, and everybody's happy.  It's
> technically trivial:
> add a reply-to-list function which looks at
> List-Post first, and if it
> exists uses its value (only), otherwise acts like
> reply-to-sender.  As
> default for _both_ list folders and personal mail,
> this works over 95%
> of the time for me, and I participate in a lot of
> lists where I want
> to make private replies, or include non-list-members
> as CCs.  For 95%
> of users, I bet making reply-to-list default would
> work 99% of the
> time, and they'd quickly learn to use
> reply-to-sender and even
> reply-to-all correctly for the exceptions.  Somewhat
> surprisingly to
> me, I do not make the mistake of posting private
> replies to a list
> (except when Reply-To is being munged, and I've
> fixed my reply-to-
> sender function to ignore Reply-To if it points to a
> list).  YMMV, but
> this really looks plausible to me, and ought to be
> tried.
> The only problem is getting lots of people who use
> broken MUAs to
> write to their vendors.  My list members use sane
> MUAs, I can't help
> with this.  ;-)
> -- 
> Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences    
> http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
> University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai
> 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
>                Ask not how you can "do" free
> software business;
>               ask what your business can "do for"
> free software.

Do you Yahoo!?
Win a $20,000 Career Makeover at Yahoo! HotJobs  

More information about the Mailman-Users mailing list