[Mailman-Users] Migrating a list to a new email address

Mark Sapiro mark at msapiro.net
Fri May 15 07:21:06 CEST 2015

On 05/14/2015 09:32 PM, Bill Christensen wrote:
> I'm thinking that the best way to deal with this is to move everything,
> including the archives, to a newly created list on the same domain
> name.  The alternative signup method i've set up works, so if i set the
> new list to "Advertise this list..." = NO in Privacy, I'm hoping the
> spammers won't figure out that the new mailman list exists.  I could
> also set it up as a closed list if that's possible since the new
> registrations will be entered manually in bulk, though I don't see any
> settings which disallow all subscriptions.

Privacy options... -> Subscription rules ->  subscribe_policy  st to
Require approval and then discard all requests.

> So I'd like confirmation on how to move a list to a new address under
> the same domain.  I figure I need to:
> 1) take a backup copy of the <oldlistname>.mbox file in /archives/private
> 2) take a copy of the current subscriber list (already done using the
> list_members command)
> 3) create the new list, aliases, etc and associated email addresses
> 4) remove /archives/private/<newlistname>.mbox
> 5) rename <oldlistname>.mbox to <newlistname>.mbox
>     5b) do I need to replace all instances of <oldlistname> with
> <newlistname> everywhere they occur in the .mbox file? Would doing so
> cause any problems?

5b) No. You don't need to edit the old .mbox file in any way. Of course,
if there are say URLs in the bodies of messages (other than scrubbed
attachment links) that point to the old list, you may want to fix those.

You can do all the above (1-5) in one step with the script at

See the FAQ at <http://wiki.list.org/x/4030617> which mentions this and
a few other methods.

> 6) rebuild the archives

See the note in the second half of that FAQ about scrub_nondigest.
Similar info is in the script's -h/--help output.

The archives will be moved with the -a/--archives option to the script.

The reason you may want to rebuild the archives are the "more
information about this list" links still point to the old list name and
likewise, links to scrubbed attachments if any.

> 7) test the new list
> 8) bulk subscribe the subscriber list to <newlistname>

Already done with the -m/--members option to the list.

> 9) delete the old list
> Did I miss anything?

If you have and pending requests, a digest mbox or list specific
templates, you may want to move those, but the -e/--extra_files option
to the script will do that. It also takes care of alias generation for
the new list if you use Mailman/Postfix integration. Otherwise, you may
need to update aliases manually.

In short, the whole process is

1) Install the clone_list script in mailman's bin/ directory.

2) bin/clone_list -m -a -e old_list_name new_list_name
(there are also options to change subject_prefix, list owner and list
password, but they default to keeping current values.)

2a) maybe
 bin/arch --wipe new_list_name
(or maybe 3a)

3) Test

4) bin/rmlist old_list_name

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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