[Mailman-Users] Description text not appearing in "To:" header?

Mike Brudenell pmb1 at york.ac.uk
Mon Apr 10 12:40:02 CEST 2006

Greetings -

--On 9 April 2006 17:17:37 -0700 Mark Sapiro <msapiro at value.net> wrote:

> Mike Brudenell wrote:
>> Things have been going very well, except I've just noticed that messages
>> I'm sending out to my test list are coming through with the header:
>>  To: testlist at lists.york.ac.uk
> Because that's how you addressed the message you sent.

Hmmm, I think my mental model of Mailman's operation needs tweaking 

>> However given I had set the list's 'Description' setting to "A test
>> list" I  was instead expecting it to be:
>>    To: A test list <testlist at lists.york.ac.uk>
> If the list is anonymous, that's what the From: header will look like,
> but Mailman doesn't change the To: header unless the list is fully
> personalized in which case, the To: becomes the message recipient, not
> the list.

We're currently using (a rather old version of) Lyris ListManager at 
present.  As standard this deliberately rewrites the "To:" header of 
messages it distributes out to members of lists so that:

    a)  Whatever was in the "To:" header is removed, then
    b)  It is replaced with the list's short description followed by
        the list's address

To be honest this is one of the things I hate about Lyris ListManager, as 
it makes it difficult when someone cross-posts their message to a number of 
lists: as standard a recipient only sees their copy as going "To:" the only 
list they're on, so any reply they make goes only to that one list, rather 
than all the lists the original was posted to.

(Yes, it is possible to alter this, but the standard is this action.)

I had, incorrectly by the sound of it, assumed Mailman worked the same way 

    1)  Mailman's built-in help text for the 'description' setting says:

            description (general): A terse phrase identifying this list.
            This description is used when the mailing list is listed with
            other mailing lists, or in headers, and so forth. It should be
            as succinct as you can get it, while still identifying what the
            list is.

OK, so the above might refer to the 'header' you can get Mailman to include 
within the message body up at the top, or it could mean the true headers of 
messages (ie, the To:/From:/Subject:/Received:/etc header lines).

By itself it's a bit ambiguous, but then we also have:

    2)  Section 2.1.1 of the Mailman Admin help pages at GNU's site
        says this:

            In the general list overview page, which shows you every
            available mailing list, each list is displayed with a short
            description. The contents of this variable is that description.
            Note that in emails from the mailing list, this description is
            also used in the comment section of the To: address. This text
            should be relatively short and no longer than one line.

This seems pretty clear, and I also found the same information on other 
sites' help pages using Google (sadly I didn't note down the URLs for any 
of these).

If Mailman doesn't rewrite the "To:" header as standard perhaps the 
information in (2) above relates to an earlier version?  I did manage to 
find a thread suggesting a change in this area had been experimented with 
but then backed out, albeit back in 2002:


I'll just assume that Mailman (now) doesn't/shouldn't rewrite the "To:" 
header as standard and the Mailman Administration help page is out of date.

Thanks for the help,
Mike B-)

The Computing Service, University of York, Heslington, York Yo10 5DD, UK
Tel:+44-1904-433811  FAX:+44-1904-433740

* Unsolicited commercial e-mail is NOT welcome at this e-mail address. *

More information about the Mailman-Users mailing list