[Mailman-Users] Privacy Options Filtering

Cyndi Norwitz cyndi at norwitz.net
Mon Apr 29 22:54:26 CEST 2013

Hi Mark and everyone,

I'm going to call this a bug, for lack of a better term.

I use Mailman version 2.1.11.  It's hosted at my ISP and I have zero control over upgrading.  Sometimes they do some custom builds but I doubt that's an issue here.  I've had the same set of issues with previous versions.

I'm having some issues with:
Privacy options: List of non-member addresses whose postings will be automatically discarded.

But it's about the list of expressions and not this specific box.

First of all, as a wish list, I would love love love if you made some changes to this feature.  I know many folks do not filter for spam but I find it very useful.  I can add email addresses to the spam list (you don't call it a spam list, but I do) from the moderation panel, which is awesome.  The trouble is with editing.

1) Yea! You fixed this one already!  The edit box shows 10 lines of addresses at a time.  Now you've added a pull-down expand corner to the box, thank you!

2) To add a domain name to the list, you have to use a regular expression in this form:
^[^@]+@(.*\.)?domain\.com$  (or use net, info, etc).
In other words, the only way to actually know that is to be a programmer or to ask on this list and save it for years, as I did.

Couldn't we just list the domains, in a separate box if required?  After all, we just list the email addresses and obviously the software knows how to handle them.  If we had a box for domains, couldn't the software be programmed to handle them?

3) To add a username (or partial) to the list, you have to use a regular expression in this form:
That is way easier than domain names but still not something most of us just know.  And it only works if it's the beginning of the email address.
Could there be an easier way?  I don't want to run the risk of list owners overdoing this, but some spam usernames are super obvious.  Like freecredit or onlinepoker. 

4) It would be fantastic if we could add an entire domain name to the list of filters from the moderation panel.  Right now it is a multi-step process to do this (and difficult in part because my spam list is so very long).  Again, it would have to be done in a way where a listowner didn't overdo it (like discarding everything from yahoo.com or aol.com because some spammers use those addresses).  But it is pretty frustrating to have a moderation page with, say, 6 spams in a row from the same domain name (something obvious) but each one uses a different username, and you know hundreds more are coming.

Okay, that's the wish list.  Now on to the bug.

The moderation panel click feature will add ANY email address to the filter lists upon request.  There is no check to see if it is a legit email address or not.  But if it adds a bad address, it breaks the filter.  The filter does still work, but it may not work for all the good addresses.  I'm not sure if it works up to the bad address and then stops.

I have had this happen many times and there is no warning at all.  The only way you know is if you try to edit the filter box list.  Then when you save changes, it erases all of your changes and gives you an error message.  The error message I got today said there was a bad email address and then it listed ALL of the addresses (and expressions) in my list.  Very not useful.

I have too many to scan, though I did start from the bottom (the newer ones) and paged up a bit with no luck.  The only way to debug this is to cut and paste the entire list to a text file then paste back a few addresses at a time and save the changes to see if it works.  It took me about 20 mins.  I discovered three bad addresses, not anywhere near each other either, though my guess is they're variations on the same spammer.
nets.service at denmark
nets.kort at service
nets at service-kort

In the past, I've had addresses rejected for having certain symbols in the usernames.  This is the first time I've seen missing domain name places.  I do try to look for bad addresses when I add them to the discard list from the moderation panel, but I get a lot of spam and sometimes I miss them (not to mention that they're not always obvious like these are).

I would like to see the bad email error message come up when you ADD the email address.  If it's done directly on the Privacy page then leave it exactly as it is now.  But please add a check to the moderation page so you can't add a bad email address without at least being warned about it (better if it's rejected).

Also, when giving the error message, please say which address(es) is bad.

That's it for now.  I may not have been posting here for a long time but I'm still a happy Mailman user.


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