[Mailman-Users] Special characters in the subject line deleted

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Mon Jul 13 08:44:21 CEST 2009

Malte Gersch writes:

 > When I send a mail with the test subject "Umlauteäuüö" to a list,
 > procmail delivers the mail to mailman with the header line
 > "Subject: =?iso-8859-1?B?VW1sYXV0ZeR1/PY=?=".

That has nothing to do with Mailman, then.  It is being done by the
mail agent that composed the message, and it is required behavior by
the Internet standards, which permit only ASCII in the headers of mail
being sent over the Internet.  I suspect that your mail composition
agent is not very well-designed, however, because that subject should
probably have been encoded in an equivalent but perhaps more readable
fashion as:

    "Subject: =?iso-8859-1?Q?Umlaute=A4u=FC=F6?=".

 > The mail from mailman to the list-subscribers has the subject
 > "[Testlisteäü]Umlauteu". i.e. the special characters are missing
 > and the space after "]" is missing, too. The header line is
 > "Subject: =?utf-8?b?W1Rlc3RsaXN0ZcOkw7xd?= =?iso-8859-1?q?Umlaute=E4u=FC=F6?="

The failure to decode the non-ASCII characters is peculiar.  The
missing space, however, is mandated the standards (the space should be
inside one of the oddly-encoded words; the space between them must be
ignored for technical reasons).  That seems to be a Mailman bug.  I
don't think there's anything you can do about it except remove the
non-ASCII characters from the list tag in brackets [], and wait for a
revision to Mailman.

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