[Mailman-Users] Bounce notification not handled normally

Mark Sapiro mark at msapiro.net
Wed May 26 17:49:40 CEST 2010

Keith Blackie wrote:

>I have a situation where subscriber email addresses are being bounced after 
>the failed address has been forwarded to an autoresponder. The problem is 
>that the mailman strips the sender's address out of the response before it 
>is sent to the administrator for action.
>On the mailing list, I have the unsubscribe threshold set to 3 bounces, but 
>the email response (bounce), while being recognized as a bounce, it 
>processed as a post to the mailing list and is subsequently sent out to all 
>list members,

So what you have is some list member address is delivered to some MUA
that returns a DSN or other message to the list posting address which
presumably it gets from the To: header of the message it received or
possibly from the Reply-To: if your list sets the Reply-To: to go to
the list.

Thus, Mailman's bounce processing does not appear to be involved at all
since the 'bounce' is not sent to the listname-bounces address.

Also, if the above is the correct scenario, and the message is being
held as a non-member post or for some other reason and is forwarded to
the list admin for approval, the notice to the admin should contain
the message as received by Mailman with nothing removed.

>further, the sender is stripped from the headers and I cannot 
>identify which account it comes from, since the autoresponder does not 
>follow the usual process of identifying the offending mailbox in the body of 
>the autoresponse.
>I hope this is clear, and that I can find some configuration that resolves 
>the issue ... previously to identify one of these email addresses, I had to 
>send an email, then immediately unsubscribe everyone from the mailing list 
>and let mailman respond with an unhandled bounce notification, only then was 
>I able to identify the offending address ... but then I had to re-subscribe 
>every list member, and while it only takes a minute to do so it is a real 

It is not clear to me whether the autoresponse message is being held
for approval or being delivered to the list without being held. If it
is being held, and admin_immed_notify is Yes, the notification to the
admin should contain the message as received. If you can't identify
from headers or body of this message, where it originates, then I'm
not sure what's going on, but the Received: headers of this message
should at least enable you to identify the server it comes from.

If the message is not being held, but just delivered to the list, make
sure the list does not accept non-member posts. Then, if the post is
accepted, it must be from a member. If this is an anonymous list,
Mailman will log the original From: in Mailman's 'post' log, and if
not, the message saved in archives/private/listname.mbox/listname.mbox
should have information as to which member address originated it.

Note that your scenario of sending and immediately unsubscribeing
doesn't make sense. If a bounce is delivered th the listname-bounces
address, it is either recognized as a bounce or not. If not, it is
forwarded to the admin as an unrecognized bounce (if
bounce_unrecognized_goes_to_list_owner is Yes), and otherwise, it is
processed as a bounce. The fact that the bouncing address is not a
list member is irrelevant. In that case, Mailman just ignores the

So it seems more likely that unsubscribing everyone caused a returned
post to be held as a non-member post. If that is the case, you can
accomplish the same thing without unsubscribing anyone by making sure
that Privacy options... -> Sender filters -> member_moderation_action
is Hold and then setting everyone moderated under Membership
Management... -> Membership List -> Additional Member Tasks

Also, if the message is being returned to the list posting address
because of Reply-To, you could just temporarily set Reply-To to go to
a specific address, namely yours.

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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