[Mailman-Users] Feature Request: Selective Mass Subscription

Cyndi Norwitz cyndi at tikvah.com
Tue Jul 1 20:03:49 CEST 2008

Hi all, I am finally doing a followup on this.  Mark asked me to vet his
proposed solution to my ISP and see what they said.  They actually took it
quite seriously and discussed it.  I just got a phone call from the head
guy in that department who wanted to speak to me directly about it.  (Mark,
I'm sending you some private email with his contact info.)

Basically, they are very concerned about spammers using their system.
Their first response to my request was to wonder why I thought a spammer
wouldn't be patient enough to add addresses to their lists slowly.

After talking more with me, what he said was that he would be interested in
the feature and would use it *IF* it could be turned on per list or per
user, as opposed to a global on or off.  He said he'd want to "have a
conversation" with each listowner to make sure they really understood how
to keep documentation proving how someone signed up for the list (email
trail, paper from a signup sheet at an event, etc).  He said he'd gladly
turn on the feature for my lists after hearing that I knew how to do this.

I pointed out to him that if it was per list, then I'd be bothering them
every time I set up a new list (I have a lot of little ones).  He agrees
that per user would be much better, if it were possible.  I said I'd heard
hints (am I right?) that MM might be moving in that direction, allowing
listowners to administer (or at least see) all their lists together.  It
would make life a lot easier if the ISP could simply say, "okay, any list
that Cyndi runs can have this new feature."

So that's the feedback.  Thanks for all your time with this.


   Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2008 11:51:02 -0700
   From: Mark Sapiro <mark at msapiro.net>

   Cyndi Norwitz wrote:

   >Please let me know if I should post this elsewhere too.
   >The Mass Subscribe feature has two settings: on and off.

   No it doesn't.

   >ISP has chosen to turn off Mass Subscribe.  Only the invite feature is

   This is not a setting. It is a code modification done somewhere
   downstream of the Mailman project.

   >My request is for an intermediate step that the provider can set.
   >Something like subscribing one name at a time (so it's too much of a pain
   >for a spammer to put in a thousand names) or up to 10 a day, or something
   >that will make a large provider feel more comfortable but not completely
   >remove the feature from the users.

   Turning off mass subscribe and leaving only mass invite is a
   modification not done by us. This request might better be directed to
   whoever made this modification.

   We fully sympathize with the difficulty and frustration of dealing with
   users who can't manage to successfully accept an invitation, and the
   problem of explaining to the VIP that the software doesn't allow this.

   I can see that actual site settings something like


   to allow at most 10 subscribes in any 7 day period, might be an
   alternative that ISPs would use, but OTOH, I think that an ISP that
   choses to disable mass subscribe has likely done this in response to
   large ISP/email services that demand that lists be fully confirmed
   opt-in in order to be whitelisted, so they may not be willing to allow
   even that.

   Before I invest any effort in implementing such an option, I'd be
   interested in an opinion from your ISP as to whether they would use it.

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