[Mailman-Users] Possible problems using a site-wide list auto-responder?

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Tue May 5 18:39:57 CEST 2015

Bill.Costa at unh.edu writes:

 > The auto-responder feature built into Mailman looks like it would
 > be perfect for the site-wide list as a way of letting users know
 > when somebody will be looking at their questions (normal business
 > hours) and to point them to self-help documentation.

Autoresponders are dangerous since they can be used to send mail to
anybody simply by forging their address in From (which is trivial to
do if you have any knowledge of how mail works).

 > But since the site-wide list is used for various automated tasks,
 > are there any downsides or cautions in using this feature?  I was
 > thinking of turning it on both for the posting address as well as
 > the -owner address.

If users are posting fairly frequently, autoresponses can get annoying
quite quickly, although you can specify an interval such that within
that interval only one autoresponse will be sent, and then the
autoresponses are suppressed for that period.  However, for the use
you describe, I think it would be appreciated as long as the self-help
documentation is well-crafted, easy to access, and kept up to date.

There is also an "ack" feature for posts, which is per-subscriber.  I
don't know how customizable the ack message is, but the advantage is
that the subscriber controls whether she gets those messages or not.
And in your case you may not want ordinary users to be subscribed to
that list (but there may be a workaround for that).

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