[Mailman-Users] Bounce messages

Mark Sapiro msapiro at value.net
Sat Oct 29 01:58:31 CEST 2005

Ashley M. Kirchner wrote:
>    We'd like to set one of our lists up so that permanent/fatal errors 
>(such as invalid mailbox, unknown user, unknown host) would immediately 
>get unsubscribed, while temp fails (such as mailbox full, try again 
>later, etc.) will simply go through the normal motions.
>    With that, we have a few questions:
>    a) Does mailman discern between a temp fail and a permanent fail on 
>a subscriber's address?  Obviously this would be the way to figure out 
>who gets unsubscribed right away and who doesn't.

Yes, but not really well. "Hard" bounces increment the score by 1.0
while "soft" bounces increment the score by 0.5

>    b) How do we configure mailman to do this immediate unsub of the 
>permanent/fatal errors?

See below:

>    b) in logs/bounce, I see various different bounce scores.  Can 
>anyone tell me what those numbers actually mean?
>    Jul 16 23:14:54 2005 (1835) user at domain.net: list current bounce 
>score: 3.0
>    Jul 17 05:10:59 2005 (1835) user at domain.com: list current bounce 
>score: 4.0
>    Jul 22 10:21:11 2005 (1835) user at domain.org: list current bounce 
>score: 5.0
>    Jul 27 12:00:49 2005 (1868) user at domain.gov: list current bounce 
>score: 2.0
>    Aug 17 06:17:18 2005 (1868) user at domain.edu list current bounce 
>score: 1.0

It is a report of that user's current bounce score. Read the material
on the Bounce processing page in the list's admin interface.

For configuration try the following bounce processing settings:

bounce_processing Yes

bounce_score_threshold 1.0  i.e. the first hard bounce hits the
threshold, but it takes soft bounces on two days.

bounce_info_stale_after 0 but see below. This is the part that may not
work well for soft bounces.

bounce_you_are_disabled_warnings 0

These settings will cause a member who hard bounces to be unsubscribed
immediately (or sent a probe which will cause the unsubscribe if it

The problem is with soft bounces. If you set bounce_info_stale_after to
1 or more, then anyone with soft bounces on two consecutive days (or
any two days with less than bounce_info_stale_after days in between)
will be immediatly unsubscribed. This seems a little harsh. OTOH, if
you set bounce_info_stale_after to 0, soft bounces will never
disable/unsubscribe a member because only one bounce is scored per day
and yesterday's bounce is always stale. This seems a little lenient,
but may in fact be OK

Mark Sapiro <msapiro at value.net>       The highway is for gamblers,
San Francisco Bay Area, California    better use your sense - B. Dylan

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