[Mailman-Users] managing pending subscriptions and confirmations

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Mon Feb 4 03:28:22 CET 2008

Jan Steinman writes:

 > I seem to be gathering a fair number of unrequited pending  
 > subscriptions on several mailing lists. I see them by grepping for  
 > "pending" in /var/log/mailman/subscribe, and then checking for  
 > corresponding "new" entries. I did this after one of my hosting  
 > clients complained that people were subscribing to her newsletter, but  
 > weren't actually getting added to the mailing list.

 > I can only surmise that the confirmation messages are languishing in  
 > people's spam mailbox.

Seems possible, but I've never seen this.  I think it's more likely
that people are ignoring them, likely because they don't know what
they are.  There are a number of things you can do.

(1) Edit the list signup page to be emphasize that the confirmation
notice *must* be returned, and that it should arrive (or be available
for pickup for those whose mail clients don't auto-refresh) within a
few minutes of requesting subscription.

(2) For clients you trust to know their contacts, you can change the
subscription process to "approve" from "confirm" or "approve and
confirm", so that the user doesn't need to return the confirmation.
You really want diligent clients, though, otherwise *your* service can
get a reputation for spamming (this has been historically the case
with several large providers, where a few complaints from inadvertant
subscribers get your whole IP range banned for their service).

(3) You could edit the subject line of the confirmation request method
to be a lot more friendly and longer.  This would make it more likely
that the users would recognize it for what it is, and also you could
wrap the confirmation number to a second line where it might be less
obtrusive and frightening.

I don't know how well the typical broken-by-design mail clients used
by a lot of "just plain folks" would handle that, though, and it
probably requires hacking the sources.

 > One of my clients is considering using a paid service called "Constant  
 > Contact" (http://www.constantcontact.com) because they claim they can  
 > get through people's spam filters.

Anybody who just wants to "get through" spam filters is a spammer or
aiding and abetting spammers.  Don't associate with them, and firmly
ask your clients not to do so.  A full-service customer relations
consultant who helps with the whole relationship is another matter, of

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