[Mailman-Users] Automatic subscription based on e-mail subject

Richard Damon Richard at Damon-Family.org
Sat Feb 2 14:46:14 EST 2019

On 2/2/19 1:37 PM, Grant Taylor via Mailman-Users wrote:
> On 2/1/19 6:49 PM, Richard Damon wrote:
>> Yes, Mailman has a feature call topics, but that is very different
>> then what the OP is asking for.
> Agreed.  (I thought I covered that in my last email.  Maybe I wasn't
> clear.)
>> The Mailman 'Topic' operation basically provides the ability of the
>> list owner to define topics based on Regex's on the subject (which is
>> helped greatly if posters add the appropriate key words to subjects
>> to allow them to be categorized).
> I'm glad to know that Mailman's "Topic" feature (key word matching)
> works on the subject.  I thought it was looking explicitly for the
> Keywords: header.  That does help some.
> Of course, that does rely on posters putting proper keywords in the
> subject.  Which is less than reliable.
Yes, I have found it not very useful for a general population list. It
might work better on a technically focused list, or maybe if implemented
at the very beginning of a lists history, and a large percentage of the
readers use it, so forgetting to use the right keywords causes a
significant drop in visibility.
> I have long wished that Mailman's "Topic" feature would also look for
> keywords in the body in addition to the Subject and Keywords: header.
> I feel like Mailman's "Topic" feature is under utilized.  :-/
>> I suppose one option that might satisfy the OP would be the ability
>> for the subscriber to add a custom regex as a filter. That way they
>> could get it to filter on the replies they are looking for, and
>> ignore the rest. The biggest issue is that regex's are somewhat
>> archaic for the typical user, but it would only really affect people
>> who try to use it.
> Oy vey.  I would be afraid of how that would likely not scale.  I also
> see security implications in that.  (Running subscriber specified
> RegEx (code) on a server.)  I also feel like that would be mainly
> usable for the single user that specified the RE.  Or are you
> proposing that the user specified RE show up as available "Topics"
> that people can choose to subscribe to?
My suggestion would be to allow the subscriber to specify a RE just for
them, not that it be made available to others. Having an arbitrary user
be able to add something to a screen that other users see would be a
serious risk. Letting a user run a custom RE to determine if mail would
be sent to them shouldn't be a risk, as long as there is no exploitable
bug in the RE code that could be exploited with a crafted RE. I suppose
you might need to be a bit careful about possible Denial-of-Service
attacks with an overly complicated RE
> I feel like this would be best implemented if the poster added a blob
> of text to their subject and configured their client side MUA filters
> to mark messages from the mailing list that don't have said blob in
> the subject as read.
Not sure I would like posters adding unique custom 'blobs' to subjects
to mark them as their topics, that REALLY doesn't scale. Just
programming their MUA to filter out message that don't match the
significant core of the base subject would be sufficient, though that
does say the 'get' all the emails, they just don't need to read them.

Richard Damon

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