[Mailman-Users] Diagnosing command failures

Gary Merrill ghmerrill at chathamdesign.com
Wed Jan 21 03:59:47 CET 2015

The suggestions you've offered have been tried (at this point multiple
times).  I was really asking whether there is a way to diagnose command
failures in Mailman, and it's clear at this point that the answer is "No."
This isn't entirely unexpected, but I just wanted to check in case there
happened to be something that I'd missed.

A "diagnosis" of

> Error
> LISTNAME roster authentication failed.

is like the diagnoses you used to see in old compilers that would helpfully
inform you of "Syntax error"  or "Invalid expression"  (sometimes without
even a line number).  One wonders why anyone would ever write a utility with
that sort of "error reporting", but it was quite fashionable for years.
Mostly it came from developers writing things for themselves rather than for
people who would use their products -- or for people whom the developers
thought were like themselves, who mostly didn't make mistakes, and who were
man enough not to need diagnostics when they did.  Those were the days when
men were men.  Whatever.  It is what it is.

Personal consultation and observation appears to be the only approach here
that will be successful.


Gary H. Merrill
Chatham Design Consultants
+1 919.271.7259

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mailman-Users [mailto:mailman-users-
> bounces+ghmerrill=chathamdesign.com at python.org] On Behalf Of Mark Sapiro
> Sent: Monday, January 19, 2015 6:09 PM
> To: mailman-users at python.org
> Subject: Re: [Mailman-Users] Diagnosing command failures
> On 01/19/2015 08:30 AM, Gary Merrill wrote:
> >
> > Second, this is a mailing list for a (loosely run) community band,
> > this user is the president of the band and needs access to the mailing
> > Implementing a Mailman list had as its primary goals addressing the
> > problems involved in this user's maintaining his own private copy of
> > his own list -- which was always fraught with error and often out of
> > date.  So having him be able to EASILY get the list is pretty
> > important.  It has taken over six months to get him to switch from his
> > own private list to using the Mailman managed list.  The rest of the
> > band is ecstatic about the Mailman list, since they're now confident
> > that it's always accurate and up to date, and that they won't miss any
> I suggest the easiest thing is to direct him to the list info page at a
URL like
> http://example.com/mailman/listinfo/LISTNAME, enter his email address and
> password in the Address: and Password: boxes near the bottom of the page
and click
> the 'Visit Subscriber List' button.
> Unfortunately, if his address or password is incorrect, all he sees is
> Error
> LISTNAME roster authentication failed.
> > But again, the big GENERAL question here is whether Mailman provides
> > any way of diagnosing such command failures.
> If he is using the email "who" command, he should get an email response.
> Have him forward both his original email and the response email to you.
> Between the two, they contain everything Mailman knows about it. Mailman
> designed to help the user find the mistake in this case, not to log
everything for an
> admin.
> You can search the web server and Mail server logs to find if he is
> LISTNAME-request at ... or POSTing to /mailman/roster/LISTNAME, but you won't
> able to see the actual commands or data he's submitting.
> You may ultimately find that actually sitting down with him is the easiest
thing to do. I
> can give you patches to log everything if that's what you want, but
walking him
> through it may be easier assuming he can remember for the next time.
> --
> 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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