[Mailman-Users] archive_private locks up admin interface?

Mark Sapiro mark at msapiro.net
Wed Nov 23 07:32:08 CET 2011

Daniel Griscom wrote:

>I'm using Mailman 2.1.14 on my congregation's website, hosted by 
>site5.com. We use it for a couple of dozen mailing lists, and haven't 
>had many troubles.
>Problem 1: someone noticed that all the list archives were publicly 
>viewable, and even Googleable, which is a Bad Thing. So, I went into 
>the Mailman admin interface to turn off the archives.
>In the Archiving Options page, I found the "archive_private" setting. 
>The description was a bit vague, but it seemed to be what I wanted, 
>and currently was set to "public". So, I set it to "private", and 
>Problem 2: boom! The Admin interface crashed, saying
>>Bug in Mailman version 2.1.14
>>We're sorry, we hit a bug!
>>Please inform the webmaster for this site of this problem. Printing 
>>of traceback and other system information has been explicitly 
>>inhibited, but the webmaster can find this information in the 
>>Mailman error logs.

And we can't help you without seeing this log information.

>Problem 3: the Mailman admin interface for this list seems to be 
>permanently borked. When I go back to the admin page, I'm invited to 
>log in, but when I do it crashes again with the above message. 
>Restarting Firefox (8.0.1 on OS X 10.5.8), deleting cookies, using a 
>completely different browser: nothing helps.

Because it's a server problem, not anything to do with your local

>Small good news 1: the list is still processing email. Small good 
>news 2: the other lists' admin interfaces on this machine aren't 
>borked, just the two I tried setting archive_private to "private" on. 
>(I broke the second one so I could test whether emails were being 
>So, I need help on two items:
>1) How do I un-bork those two mailing lists, without losing all of 
>the list settings (especially the list of members)?
>One note: since this is a shared server, my account is nailed down 
>pretty tightly, and I'm pretty sure I don't even have access to the 
>main mailman directories. So, I'll probably need to pass instructions 
>on to the hosting company's tech support.

No. You need to report the issue to the hosting service, and they need
to contact us directly if they need help resolving it. This will be
more effective than having to pass information through you in both

>2) How can I keep the public from seeing these archives? In truth we 
>don't need them even privately, so either making them private or 
>getting rid of them completely would be fine by me.

Either set the archive_private to private as you tried or set archive
to No or both. Note that merely setting archive to No while leaving
archive_private set to public will stop future archiving but will
leave the current, public archive intact and accessable.

>Of course, if the answer is "set archive_private to private", then I 
>need help on a third item:
>3) How can I debug Mailmain's problem with the archive_private setting?

Provide the contents of Mailman's 'error' log or report this issue to
the hosting provider.

Note that there is some underlying issue in the Mailman installation.
Merely setting the archive to private should not break the admin web
interface, but we have no clue as to what the problem is without
seeing Mailman's logs.

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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