[Mailman-Users] Are any attachments ok to allow on a listserv?

Steff Watkins s.watkins at nhm.ac.uk
Tue Jan 18 11:32:59 CET 2011

> -----Original Message-----
> From: mailman-users-bounces+s.watkins=nhm.ac.uk at python.org 
> [mailto:mailman-users-bounces+s.watkins=nhm.ac.uk at python.org] 
> On Behalf Of Ruth Indeck
> Sent: Monday, January 17, 2011 3:52 PM
> To: Mailman Users
> Subject: [Mailman-Users] Are any attachments ok to allow on a 
> listserv?
> Many people say that the best thing is not to allow 
> attachments at all on a listserv.

So you get a list with.. let's say 100 users on. Sounds reasonable,
right? One of those users just 'has to share' a 'great PDF' that they
found on the environmental effects of mining cheese off the north face
of Donald Duck and so posts it to the list.

Let's say that the PDF is a "reasonable size" of.. 3 megs?

3 megs in.. times 100 (subscribers) = 300 megs out. OK, if you've got a
fast line but it may slow things down a little if you haven't.

Now, let's say that one of the receivers of the original email decides
to reply to that email. Users being the general bundles of light and joy
that they are known to be don't necessarily think to strip off any
attachments when they forward.. Oh.. and let's go full-on
Armageddon-scenario and say that this particular user also ADDS their
own pdf file (again 3mb) as a response.

Now you got an email with two 3meg files comes into your list.. for
distribution to 100 users.

Boom! There goes the neighbourhood! :)

OK.. Maybe a bit over the top "doomsday scenario" but it is still
reasonably possible.

Now imagine being the poor sap on the end of a slow line trying to get
their email and having to wait while you clean out their mailbox with
the original email (3mb) and the reply (6mb)... *yawn* this email's
taking forever!

I'd personally disallow any attachments unless it was specifically
stated in the list's description that they were "allowed and to be
expected". If the list users must share files/content then they can
always just put in their email a URL pointing to the resource. That way
you also reduce the chance/risk of a virus/piece of malware sneaking in
as the end user's web-browser should (hopefully) do some form of
content-vetting/virus-scanning/BL checking beforehand.

Of course, YMMV.


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