[Mailman-Users] Question about topics

Mark Sapiro msapiro at value.net
Fri Jul 21 00:21:20 CEST 2006

FH wrote:

>I'm trying to figure out how the topic feature works.  We have an expression
>in the regexp box (ie Foo[1]) and the body lines variable is set to 0 since
>the expression should be in the subject line.  However everyone on the list is
>still receiving the messages sent w/ "Subject: Foo".  The filter is enabled,
>the person who is subscribed to the topic also has "yes" on the "Do you want
>to receive messages that do not match any topic filter?", everyone else (who
>is not subscribed to the topic) has "no" for this.  BTW we are using mailman

The person subscribed to Foo should receive all posts because of "Yes"
for "Do you want to receive messages that do not match any topic

The people not subscribed to any topics should receive all posts
because as it says "Do you want to receive messages that do not match
any topic filter?" "only takes effect if you've subscribed to at least
one topic above".

In short, Your list is working as it should. In order to filter on
Topics, the user MUST subscribe to at least one topic. Otherwise, the
user always receives all posts.

>At first I thought it might be a problem w/ the regexp,

There might be. If it is literally 'foo' as you say, it is OK. It is
also OK if it contains no white space or # characters, but although it
doesn't say so, the regexp is compiled in verbose mode which means #
introduces a comment and whitespace is ignored so to include either a
# or whitespace in the regexp, it must be backslash escaped or in a
character class. This is changed for Mailman 2.2 (not yet released)
and existing topic regexps will be converted if necessary when you

>but reading through
>the archives I found 
>"Members who don't select topics continue to receive all posts. "
>and the wording on the end of the "Do you want to receive..." question ("If no
>topics of interest are selected above, then you will receive every message
>sent to the mailing list.") is bringing up the question of whether or not the
>list/membership is configured properly.  Do I have to change something on the
>membership page of those who are NOT to receive the messages related to the
>topic I'm trying to configure (it's the only one btw)?  If so what needs to
>change and is there any way to configure the topic such that only those who
>are interested have it configured and everyone else is left alone (it's a
>relatively small list but it seems very cumbersome to change everyone if a
>single topic is added to a large list).
>Any suggestions would be appreciated.  If there's more info that is needed
>please let me know and I'll see if I can get it to you.

If I understand correctly, You want to have a 'foo' topic, and some
people want to get all messages and some want all messages except
those matching the 'foo' topic.

If I have it right, you can't do this the way you are trying to. You
have two possible options as I see it.

1) instead of defining a 'foo' topic, define a 'not foo' topic. This
may or may not be possible, but a regexp like


might work. See <http://docs.python.org/lib/re-syntax.html>.

Then people who want all messages don't subscribe to any topics and
people who want just 'not foo' messages subscribe to the 'not foo'
topic and say "no" to "Do you want to receive messages that do not
match any topic filter?"

I think a better method is

2) Define a 'foo' topic as you have. Also define a 'none' topic with a
regexp such as '$.' that won't match anything. Then people who want
all posts subscribe to 'foo' (and 'none' if they want) and say 'yes'
to "Do you want to receive messages that do not match any topic

People who don't want 'foo' subscribe to only 'none' and also say 'yes'
to "Do you want to receive messages that do not match any topic
They won't receive 'foo' posts because they are subscribed to a topic
and they are not subscribed to 'foo', but they will receive all other
(non-matching) posts.

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

More information about the Mailman-Users mailing list