[Mailman-Users] query re "message has implicit destination"

Bretton Vine bretton at hivemind.net
Thu Aug 31 01:21:48 CEST 2006

Dragon said the following on 2006/08/31 12:24 AM:
> I just tested this on one of my lists. I sent an e-mail with the To: set
> to one of my other e-mail addresses and the CC: set to my list address.
> It worked as advertised when I had it enabled.

I can confirm my own testing duplicates this.

> My personal opinion on this situation is that the user was not telling
> you the truth.

I share this opinion, but have no evidence to support it other than mild
speculation. Co-incidence I had two instances in a given 24 hour period,
where one fitted the model perfectly and worked as indicated, while the
other defies explanation yet requires it.

> I cannot answer if there was any community input into that decision.
> However, the decision that was made seems quite logical to me.

Ditto, however if you'll bear with me here, I'm not a developer either
(sysadmin) and answers that satisfy technical people don't always satisfy
decision-makers (however familiar they are with the concepts/technology).

What I'm gathering from the development of this discussion is that my
initial suspicions were correct and it's possibly just a case of someone
trying to shift blame. After all, they would have received immediate
notification of the moderator approval and if urgency was of the essence
could easily have followed up with me direct.

When you're in the business of providing list-based communication to paying
clients (who understand the usefulness of lists, and are mostly technically
inclined etc) it doesn't help to give a BOFH answer. At least by discussing
the issue I have references from other people who've tested the situation
and together we contribute to the pool of user knowledge :-)

> I don't really understand why this is a concern, to me it just doesn't
> make a difference. It is very easy to override the implicit destination
> behavior if it is not appropriate for your lists. I honestly think
> somebody is making a mountain of a mole hill here.

I have an excellent boss, who requires exact, simple answers to often
difficult questions. I don't think I'm alone here. And one should never
mistake ignorance for idiocy, something an /awful/ lot of open source
developers (well zealots perhaps) are inclined to do (imho), whether it be
through elitism or sheer exasperation at the types of questions asked by a
user base. i.e. RTFM or RTFAQ default reply.

If I'm being pedantic (yes again!) it's because these things do come up, and
where I was schooled you weren't a fool for asking a question, no matter how
simple or obvious the answer might be to anyone else.

> As I said above, this should never have happened as far as I can tell.
> I'm sure one of the developers with more knowledge about this will
> correct me if I am wrong.

I'm hoping for more information so I can prepare a summary of the situation.
Clearly there are two potential answers:

 1. We don't have the full information from the original poster
 2. We don't have the full information in terms of documentation or skills

If you're in the business of 'making things happen' via mailing lists, and
over 10 years experience in doing so which of the above is more relevant?
(it helps to have good mentors who can see the impact of collaborative
principles and not just the ideologies available to implement them -- the
textbook answer is seldom the one they want to hear)

> The only potential problem I see, and it is a difficult one to solve, is
> with e-mails with forged sender addresses that match list member
> addresses. These e-mails will get through to the list.

Exim ACLs seem to be taking care of that nicely. Roughly 1 in 10 000 failure
over last 6 months. And the system has that sort of load on a daily basis.

> Just be aware that such things do tend to increase list-member
> dissatisfaction and the more volatile/vocal members may comment upon
> such things on the list. This was one of the driving forces behind my
> lists migrating from an older version of majordomo to mailman earlier
> this year.

In my experience (to date) list-member dissatisfaction is related more to
unwanted posts from fellow list-members who don't know how to
reply-to-sender when a list is set to reply-to-list; and those who don't
know how to reply-to-list when it is set to reply-to-sender and less about
unwanted posts.

  i.e. user-education/user-error related more than spam concerns

(For epic flame wars feel free to join some .ZA lists where people are more
than happy to bicker for days over netiquette and internet ideology <chuckles>)

> That is one person's opinion, I would be willing to bet that most people
> who run members-only lists would disagree.

That one person's opinion is the foremost expert on Internet policy on the
African continent. And yes, we've been running lists for quite a long time
already. And that person pays the bills, and only funds what produces
results so their opinion counts considerably if I want to remain employed <grin>

>> I don't quite agree, but it seems to be a point of view without a strong
>> counter-argument.
> And this is why this setting exists as an option.

When someone asks "but why is this enabled by default" an answer of "but you
can turn it off" is seldom sufficient in satisfying their curiosity.

Some people want options and flashing lights and a machine that goes "ping"
while others actually want to know why the lights flash in the first place.
I work for the latter <wink>

Believe it or not, their is an intelligent user base out there and if you're
not a coder, it helps to at least ask (or pass on) the questions you hear
from it. But I digress ...

| Bretton Vine | 083 633 8475 | bretton at hivemind.net |
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"To dare to live alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had
rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in
their closet." - Charles Caleb Colton

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