[Mailman-Users] What would your dream Mailman web interface look like?

Jay Sekora jsekora at csail.mit.edu
Mon Apr 27 23:34:29 CEST 2015

Sorry I'm getting to this so late...

On 04/02/2015 03:48 PM, Andrew Stuart wrote:
> What’s on your wishlist for the perfect Mailman web interface?

Well, the thing I find most frustrating about the current (2.X) Mailman
web interface is the "Adminsitrative Database Results" page.  I manage a
bunch of moderated lists that get large numbers of messages a day, with
varying ratios of junk (spam, off-topic-for-list, misdirected,
unauthorized, etc.) vs. legitimate messages that should be approved.
The current design is very space-inefficient for held messages, so I can
only see three held messages (more precisely, the accumulated held
messages for three senders) on the screen at once.  If I'm scrolling
through hundreds of messages like that, it's very very hard to keep my
place, make sure I'm clicking on the correct line, and make sure I
haven't missed any messages.  (For high-volume lists, that means that
"Discard all messages marked _Defer_" is too dangerous to use.)

Also, because messages appear in an unpredictable order, it's very hard
to see patterns.  I can see at a glance if I got three messages from a
particular address, but I can't see at a glance if I got three messages
with subjects starting "Curso-Taller" or "Urgent!" or from the same domain.

So what I would like would be a much more space-efficient summary page,
with one or at most two lines per message, so I could get 20 or 30
messages in view at once, with sortable columns.  Something like (mocked
up in plain-text, and assume each message is on one line):

defer(_) accept(_) reject(_) discard(_) more[V] |
admin at asesoriascreativ...[V] | Curso-Taller: Como hacer Presentaciones...[V]

defer(_) accept(_) reject(_) discard(_) more[V] | norelpy at example.ro[V]
| Von Dr. Mark Smith[V]

defer(_) accept(_) reject(_) discard(_) more[V] | info at microsoft.com [V]
| Vouz avez gagne le prix Microsoft $4,000,000[V]

where the things I've marked with [V] (that's supposed to be a
down-arrow) are links that provide more information.  (This actually
seems to be a great place for JavaScript, which I normally hate; if
JavaScript is disabled those links could all go to a page with more
detailed information about the message, like the [1], [2], etc. links
now, but if the user has JavaScript enabled they could just expand the
table to insert the information below the current entry.  Or maybe
there's a way to do that with just CSS.)

The table would be sortable by column (and ideally, maybe by things that
aren't columns, like the bare domain of the From: line, the message
size, whether the message has attachments, and so on).

A related frustration is that the admindb page, and its single-message
view, don't handle encoded data very usefully.  That's obviously a very
tricky thing, given that you can't trust the sender to have encoded
headers or bodies validly, and especially in the case of attachments the
senders are likely to be malicious.  I don't know that I would want data
decoded *by default*, but it would be nice to be *able* to decode
headers and text attachments.  (Similarly, for HTML-only messages, a
textual summary of what the top of the message is going to look like
would be useful, since now, the extract you can see is likely to be all
stylesheet and formatting junk, even for legitimate messages from
Windows users.)  And if a header or body *fails* to decode, that's
useful information too.

Currently, I'm mostly using the command-line "listadmin" tool, which
happens to present an interface pretty similar to what I'm talking
about, but I've wanted a much more compact moderation interface since
long before I knew about listadmin.

I'd love to see the default admindb pages in MM3 be easier to manage.


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