[Mailman-Users] Is it OK to unshunt "bad" messages?

Sebastian Hagedorn Hagedorn at uni-koeln.de
Fri Apr 25 18:34:11 CEST 2008

Hi Mark,

thanks for your reply.

--On 25. April 2008 09:21:12 -0700 Mark Sapiro <mark at msapiro.net> wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> Sebastian Hagedorn wrote:
>| I just noticed a message in the "bad" directory. I looked at it with
>| show_qfiles and it looked harmless. Probably it was broken WRT its MIME
>| encoding, but it wasn't a virus or anything. On a whim I ran unshunt on
>| the "bad" directory and the message was then delivered to the list.
>| Basically I'm curious why Mailman didn't consider the message "bad" that
>| time around. Is unshunt-processing somehow different from normal
>| processing?
> I'm guessing that you are running Mailman 2.1.10 with the patch from
> <http://mail.python.org/pipermail/mailman-users/2008-April/061360.html>,
> since there's little else these days that would put anything in the
> 'bad' queue.

No, it's 2.1.9 with two patches you sent me a few weeks ago.

> Did the file have a .psv extension?

No, it was a .pck file. I found this entry in the vette log:

(3438) Message discarded, msgid: <c39b437d2808.47ee2e26 at wmich.edu>

Then I read this comment in Defaults.py:

# When a message that is unparsable (by the email package) is received, what
# should we do with it?  The most common cause of unparsable messages is
# broken MIME encapsulation, and the most common cause of that is viruses 
# Nimda.  Set this variable to No to discard such messages, or to Yes to 
# them in qfiles/bad subdirectory.

So I guess that's what happened, although the log line "message discarded" 
is a bit misleading. BTW, is there a reason why the list a message was 
addressed to isn't logged when messages are discarded?

> You should really look in the 'error' log to see the message associated
> with preserving the entry.

There was nothing in "error", only that line in "vette".

> It may have been an actual unparseable
> message due to defective MIME structure, or some possibly transient
> issue. In the first case, I'd expect the same error to occur upon
> unshunting, but not necessarily in the second case. There is nothing
> really in bin/unshunt that would make it succeed without correcting the
> underlying problem.


> The main problem with unshunting a message from the 'bad' queue (other
> than having to change the extension from .psv to .pck or .bak) is that
> true shunted messages have an item in the metadata indicating the
> original queue. Preserved messages in the 'bad' queue don't have this,
> so they will be unshunted to the 'in' queue by default, which may not be
> correct - e.g. they may have come from the bounce queue.

But that should be obvious after looking at it with show_qfiles, right?

Cheers, Sebastian
     .:.Sebastian Hagedorn - RZKR-R1 (Gebäude 52), Zimmer 18.:.
Zentrum für angewandte Informatik - Universitätsweiter Service RRZK
.:.Universität zu Köln / Cologne University - ✆ +49-221-478-5587.:.
                   .:.:.:.Skype: shagedorn.:.:.:.
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