[Balug-admin] FYI: Mailman config summary for our three lists

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Mon Jun 12 23:05:40 PDT 2006

(Larry, please note apology near bottom for a huge factual error I 
recently made, here, about balug-announce.  Sorry!)

A couple of months ago, Larry was kind enough to give me the changed
administrative password -- which he said had to be changed because
one of the listadmins inadvertantly revealed the old one on one of the
public lists.  So, as mentioned, I am (once again) physically _able_ to
tweak any of the settings -- but would not do so except in close
consultation with other listadmins.

That same access also lets me _view_ the current settings.
(Unfortunately, there's no Mailman administration "view" right 
grantable separately from the "edit" one.)  So, for the sake of
collective knowledge, here's how they're currently set up:

balug-admin-balug.org (this list)

Administrative e-mail addresses:  balugadmin@balug.org, balugadmin-admin@xav.to
Explanation:  These are the people who'll receive "Administer me!"
              nagmails from Mailman, e.g., when a posting is held for listadmin
Analysis:  1.  Note that this roster is entirely distinct from the set of
           people possessing the listadmin password.  A person might 
           be in one group only, the other group only, or both.
           (Being in the roster of people who get nagmail but lacking
           access to act on it really sucks; that's the situation I've
           been in since early 2005 on several SVLUG lists.)
           2.  I'm not sure it's a good idea to list "role" e-mail
           addresses here, since it obscures who's involved in 
           list administration.  E.g., I really have no idea who other
           than Larry is looking after our lists, and this roster gives
           me no clues.

A terse phrase identifying this list: [null]
Analysis:  Bad.  We really should have a list description.

An introductory description - a few paragraphs - about the list. It will
      be included, as html, at the top of the listinfo page:  [null]
Analysis:  Bad.  We really should have a descriptive paragraph.

Where are replies to list messages directed:  Poster
Explanation:  I.e., we aren't doing Reply-To munging.

Send monthly password reminders:  No.
Analysis:  Doesn't really matter much; many people dislike the periodic
           reminders, or raise time-wasting fusses over their supposedly
           "bad security", so maybe this is just as well.  Subscribers who
           _want_ a password reminder can trigger one manually at any time.

List-specific text prepended to new-subscriber welcome message:  [null]
Analysis:  Not a complaint, but this is a missed opportunity to say
           something non-generic to new arrivals.

Check postings and intercept ones that seem to be administrative requests:  No.
Explanation:  Messages that seem to say only "subscribe", "unsubscribe", 
              etc. would be held for listadmin scrutiny rather than sent 
              directly out to the membership.
Analysis:  In my view, this Mailman feature works amazingly well and
           should _always_ be left on absent a very strong reason otherwise.

Maximum length in kilobytes (KB) of a message body: 40kb

Discard held messages older than this number of days. Use 0 for no
        automatic discarding:  0
Analysis:  Since 99% of held messages are spam, I'd say "3".

Languages supported by this list: English-USA (only)
Analysis:  Since you can offer the other 29 languages too, without any
           disadvantages, why not?  (It's obviously not a problem, though.)

How big in Kb should a digest be before it gets sent out:  30
Should a digest be dispatched daily when the size threshold isn't reached: Yes.

Advertise this list when people ask what lists are on this machine:  Yes
Analysis:  Normally, this would mean you could browse at the top of 
           the Mailman HTML tree, to see what lists are on the 
           hosts, and find this one described there, but Dreamhost's
           rather odd configuration makes
           http://lists.balug.org/listinfo.cgi/ entirely uninformative.
           So, the main entry point to the three lists is the explicit 
           hyperlinks to their individual listinfo pages on BALUG's Web pages.

Who can view subscription list:  List members.
Explanation:  Can be set to Anyone, List members, or List admin only.
Show member addresses so they're not directly recognizable as email
     addresses:  Yes.
Analysis:  I personally like these two settings for most lists, as they nicely
           balances openness with a little bit of privacy protection.
           People wanting more can set a per-subscription option to "hide" 
           their presence on the membership roster from everyone except

Action to take for postings from non-members for which no explicit
       action is defined:  Hold
Analysis:  This catches and holds legitimate posts from non-member 
           addresses (which can then be added to an approved roster
           for subsequent postings, at the time an admin clears the
           posting).  However, mostly, it catches and holds spam, 
           which for practical purposes can be otherwise controlled
           (prevented, rejected) only earlier, at the MTA.  Since
           BALUG cannot administer the MTA (only Dreamhost can), this
           probably means a boatload of spam ever day to whoever is 
           reading mail at balugadmin@balug.org and balugadmin-admin@xav.to.

Must posts have list named in destination (to, cc) field (or be among
     the acceptable alias names, specified below):  Yes.
Alias names (regexps) which qualify as explicit to or cc destination
     names for this list:  balug-admin@lists.balug.org, 
Analysis:  1.  You can thank whatever thoughtful person expanded that alias
           list for your ability to use reasonable names, and not just
           the rather over-elaborate _main_ name.
           2.  However, I believe the first entry's redundant, being
           the main, official name and thus automatically honoured.

Ceiling on acceptable number of recipients for a posting:  10
Analysis:  This blocks some spam from the dumber spammers, plus 
           hideously excessive crossposts.  One might reduce it
           to 5 without problems.

Is archive file source for public or private archival:  Public
Analysis:  Again, in my view, best unless you have a _real_ need for
           secrecy and don't mind discouraging new participants.

How often should a new archive volume be started?  Monthly.
Analysis:  With this low traffic, I'd have picked quarterly, myself.


(Options and comments same as before, except as noted.)

List of non-member addresses whose postings should be automatically
   accepted:  rick@linuxmafia.com, larry.platzek@gmail.com,  rms@gnu.org
Analysis:  1.  This is redundant but harmless if the address _is_ 
   subscribed, which mine (rick@linuxmafia.com) is -- so I'm removing it.
   Still, the thought's appreciated.  2.  FYI, this roster is where addresses
   get autoadded to, when a listadmin approves a held post from a 
   non-subscribed address _and_ also checks the nearby checkbox to 
   allow postings from this address in the future.

List of non-member addresses whose postings will be automatically
   discarded:  service@amazon.com, morinokumasan66@ocn.ne.jp
Analysis:  (Not a complaint, just an observation)  This reflects
   listadmin action against a spammer, i.e., a checkbox similar
   to the one noted above, but to _discard_ all future postings 
   arriving from this address.  One should be careful about being
   fooled by forged headers, though.  Also, there's really not a 
   lot of point individually blocking sender usernames like 
   "morinokumasan66" that are probably script-generated by the 


(Options and comments same as before, except as noted.)

By default, should new list member postings be moderated?  Yes.
Analysis:  OOPS!  I've made a huge error in my earlier post:  The
     "announce" mailing list _is_ set as moderated.  Larry, my 
     apologies -- and I now dimly recall that this matter has come
     up before.  Sorry, I'm on so many mailing lists, I can't always
     keep them stright.
     Anyhow, for the record, only the subscribed addresses of Larry,
     Art Tyde, and David Sifry are set so they can post without being
     held for listadmin scrutiny (no moderated flag).

List of non-member addresses whose postings will be automatically
    discarded:  zonal_info1@yahoo.co.uk, eqhla.eqhla@aucma.com.cn,

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