[Mailman-Users] Introduction, and another archive question

Jan Cohen najnehoc at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 26 00:38:39 CET 2008

Hi folks,

I'm a "well-versed in perl/php but doesn't know squat about python" information architect/sr. tech writer who's volunteered his time to help the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) straighten out a few quirks with their Mailman-based mailing list.  The question: is there any way (e.g., custom handlers) to add a link to the footers of smtp-generated messages that would allow readers to navigate to a specific thread in the IxDA's web-based archive?  We've been able to set up the indexing for mail generated via the IxDA's web-based app satisfactorily, but we haven't been able to find an answer to the indexing question for mail that's sent to the list via an email app.  A more detailed description of our setup follows:

Here's how our current system works. Everything starts with
the Mailman listserv. All member messages addressed to discuss at ixda.org go
through Mailman. It mails them back out to the entire membership and at the
same time creates an HTML archive of the message. That archive is here:


( http://tinyurl.com/33ek3s is the link what's actually presented on the web)

When Mailman creates the individual HTML page for a particular message, it
assigns a sequential unique id and embeds it in the filename for the created
page. About a year ago we started scraping those HTML archives and putting the
contents of messages in a database and using them to drive the website at
ixda.org. The unique ids we use for our posts are based on the unique ids Mailman

The problem is, the unique ids don't exist until after Mailman sends out the
e-mail to the list, so it's not clear how to embed them in the e-mail
beforehand. On the web we have an advantage. We don't need to embed the actual
post id, which is unknowable in advance; we only have to embed the id of the
initial post in the thread, which we already know at the time of composition.
We append that link onto the body of the message before we send the e-mail from
the website to Mailman.

Members who send e-mail directly to discuss@ get their e-mails redistributed
through Mailman directly without an opportunity to add any link to the e-mail.
Even if we had a way to know the post id to embed, it's not clear whether it's
possible to create a dynamic footer of any kind in Mailman.

Any idea for other ways to structure the system?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Jan Cohen

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