[Mailman-Users] Finding abandoned lists and most recent activity

Dennis Black dblack at ualberta.ca
Wed Jun 8 21:57:25 CEST 2005

Quoting Mike Alberghini <sysmda at zim.gsu.edu>:

> I'm the admin of a Mailman system with several hundred lists.  I'm trying to
> write some scripts that will scan the mailman directory tree and find lists
> that are abandoned, never used, etc.

The following is what I use to find 'potentially' dead lists.

Mailman modifies the /list/config.pck every night processing digests, so
finding an access or modified time on those was not an option.

I used the theory that if an owner hasn't accessed their admin page in a
year, it either means their list is _very_ stable, or the list is dead.
There may also be lists that are only used once a year.

I determine the last time a list's admin page was accessed by
using a webpage counter by Muhammad A Muquit, muquit at muquit.com from


The counter is hidden on the list admin page, but I have the access time
recorded in /usr/local/etc/Counter/data in the form listname.dat:

16 Jun  6 08:00 list1.dat
16 May 28 22:39 list2.dat
16 Jun  2 12:27 list3.dat

In a year's time, I'll run a script like

# Find lists that haven't been modified in the last year and mail report.
cd /usr/local/etc/Counter/data
find . -name '*.dat' -ctime +365 -print > /tmp/oldys
if [ -s /tmp/oldys ]; then
   cat /tmp/oldys | mailx -s "Mailman unused list check" somebody
rm /tmp/oldys

At that point, I can email the owners and ask if they still want the list.
Or change the script above to email each owner in a 'for..do' loop.

Dennis Black
Internet Applications
Computing and Network Services
Ph:(780)492-9329 Fx:(780)492-1729
news stats http://news.srv.ualberta.ca
mailman stats http://www.mailman.srv.ualberta.ca/graph/mailgraph

More information about the Mailman-Users mailing list