[Mailman-Users] handling mail undeliverable to list owners

Mark Sapiro mark at msapiro.net
Mon Jan 31 21:41:35 CET 2011

Richard Haas wrote:
>We have a moderately sized Mailman installation (+2000 mailing lists) which
>recently upgraded a long-standing Mailman v2.1.5 service to v2.1.14. The
>upgrade went quite well, but since the upgrade the list owners of the
>DEFAULT_SITE_LIST (i.e. "mailman") mailing list are seeing a marked increase
>in the number of undeliverable emails to (other) list owner addresses, which
>the "mailman" list owners did not see with the previous version/installation
>of the software. While unlikely, they may have been a customization in
>either Mailman or Postfix that was lost in the transition; the logic in
>~/Mailman/Message.py which sends list owner bounces to DEFAULT_SITE_LIST
>seems unchanged since 2.1.5 (at least).

The important changes were in ~/Mailman/Queue/BounceRunner.py which has
changed significantly. The site list owner(s) now receive some
categories of bounces that were previously just ignored.

>Let me be clear: these are valid bounces from some list owner addresses that
>do not deliver, because a person who was a list owner has departed the
>organization and the mailbox to which a list owner address routes no longer
>exists. These messages not errors in Mailman.
>Often, a single list owner address will bounce to the DEFAULT_SITE_LIST,
>while other valid list owners remain available for that same list -- in that
>case, DEFAULT_SITE_LIST members need take no action.

They should probably remove the bad address anyway, if for no other
reason than to stop future notifications.

>When there's just one
>owner for a list and that address bounces, the list is orphaned (which is
>good to know), but we have other means to reclaim unused lists (periodic
>reregistration), and the administrative notice which bounced is frequently
>not something that would be posted to the list anyway (e.g. spam, erroneous
>out-of-office mail, spoofed sender, etc.) -- particularly if the list has
>fallen into disuse. It would be nice to only see the bounces when there are
>no other list owners (of the same list) to receive them.

What you are seeing is bounces of mail to a list-owner. At the point
when we are deciding what to do with this bounce we don't know without
parsing the message what address bounced (the message is To:
LISTNAME-owner), and even if there are other owners, we don't know
which if any of them may have bounced too.

>Are there any Mailman configuration options which adjust the handling of
>bouncing list owner emails, short of customizing the Messages.py or
>adjusting filters on the DEFAULT_SITE_LIST policies? None leap out in

No, and if you wanted to modify the code, the place do do it is in
BounceRunner.py, not Message.py.

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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