[Mailman-Users] Best practices

Christopher Adams adamsca at gmail.com
Tue Jul 25 20:51:03 CEST 2006

Mostly, I agree with Mark on this. You really have to balance what
individual list owners want, how individual lists operate, and the fact that
you may host/administer so many lists that the best choice is the same for

We host over 500 lists. Originally, the default was to 'Hold' messages from
non-members. This might include subscribers who's address had changed or
individuals who thought they were on the list. This is where we needed to
reevaluate the situation. Many list owners are busy and don't want to
continually take action on posts from non-members. However, many list owners
also don't want messages from 'non-members' to be automatically discarded.

Our solution was to make the default to 'Reject', but send a message to the
sender, indicating that their message was rejected because either they are
not a member or their address has changed. One problem with this solution is
that the option for multiple languages becomes a bit of  an issue.

On 7/23/06, Mark Sapiro <msapiro at value.net> wrote:
> David Gibbs wrote:
> >Lawrence Bowie wrote:
> >> I have been rejecting messages from non-members but I am
> >> not sure that is the best practice. Is it better to "discard"
> >> rather than "reject" non-members messages?
> >
> >It depends on the message ... if the message is topical, then I reject
> >the message indicating that to post a person must be subscribed, and if
> >they are subscribed, then they might be posting from a different email
> >address.
> >
> >If the message isn't topical, then I just discard it (for which the
> >'discard all messages marked as deferred' check box is a boon), as those
> >are usually just spam.
> So you have generic_nonmember_action set to 'Hold', and you (or a
> moderator) make a decision on each post.
> I think Lawrence is asking a different question, namely, should
> generic_nonmember_action be 'reject' or 'discard'?
> This is a controversial question, and the answer really depends on the
> list. The 'good' answer is that spam should be filtered out ahead of
> Mailman. Then Mailman and the list owner don't have to worry about
> 'blowback' and spam forwarding issues, but this solution isn't always
> available.
> If you have spam reaching Mailman, it is clearly best to discard the
> spam without sending any kind of 'reply'. Note that holding and then
> discarding the message only does this if respond_to_post_requests is
> set to 'No'. Otherwise, by the time the moderator sees the message, a
> hold notification reply has already been sent.
> Unfortunately, once the post gets to Mailman, Mailman applies the
> generic_nonmember_action in every case. I think we all agree that for
> spam (if it gets this far), this should be discard, but there are
> lists for which this is not appropriate if the message is not spam.
> In the past, Brad has posted examples to this list of situations where
> silently discarding an attempted post has caused significant problems
> for the non-member who thought the post had been received.
> In short, this is a list specific decision. Is your list one where you
> have non-members attempting to post? What are the consequences if that
> post is discarded without notice? How do these balance with spam
> blowback/forwarding considerations to the extent that spam gets this
> far?
> --
> 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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Christopher Adams
adamsca at gmail.com

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