[Mailman-Users] Privacy issue

Mark Sapiro mark at msapiro.net
Sat Oct 3 01:29:24 CEST 2009

Rob Lingelbach wrote:
>On Oct 1, 2009, at 11:07 AM, Monaghan, Patricia wrote:
>> Hello--I don't know if I'm writing to the right person.  I've just  
>> been alerted that all test of all messages on a DePaul mailman group  
>> are available to the public on google.  The list is private and I am  
>> concerned about this.  Could you tell me if this can be rectified  
>> and/or who to contact about this?
>Under Archiving Options, what settings are enabled?

If archive_private is set to private, the archives will be inaccessible
to google. If archive_private is public, google can index the
archives. If you switch it to private, it will take some time for the
entries to age out of google, but the links on googles pages won't

>Also, contact your Systems Administrator and ask that the file  
>robots.txt be adjusted
>to disallow the list's archives from being indexed by google, though  
>I'm not certain that
>google follows the usual rules about robots.txt.

Of course it does. See
but as pointed out there, robots.txt can prevent google from crawling
portions of your site, but won't stop it from indexing pages on your
site that it finds via external links. To stop this, you need to add a
robots meta tag to the pages

You could for example change the existing

     <META NAME="robots" CONTENT="noindex,follow">

tag in the archidxhead.html archtoc.html and archtocnombox.html
templates to

     <META NAME="robots" CONTENT="noindex,nofollow">

and the

   <META NAME="robots" CONTENT="index,nofollow">

tag in the article.html template to

   <META NAME="robots" CONTENT="noindex,nofollow">

See the FAQ at <http://wiki.list.org/x/jYA9> for information about
making modified templates.

Note that if you do this, you probably want to rebuild the archives
with bin/arch to update the existing pages.

Mark Sapiro <mark at msapiro.net>        The highway is for gamblers,
San Francisco Bay Area, California    better use your sense - B. Dylan

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