[META] Mailing list issues, was: delite me from your mailing list

Chuck Swiger chuck at codefab.com
Thu Jan 25 00:24:16 UTC 2007

On Jan 24, 2007, at 3:32 PM, Lawrence Rosen wrote:
> This whole experience concerns me on multiple levels. Why should we  
> allow
> people (other than me and my friends, of course) ever to post  
> repeated spam
> messages through some automatic script that they negligently invoke?

Are you volunteering your time to moderate postings to this list?   
Switching to a moderated list would result in near-perfect removal of  
spam and excessive unsubscribe requests being posted to all members....

> And why should it be so easy for malicious people (Matthew Flaschen  
> explicitly
> excepted) to unsubscribe third parties from this list?

It's not.

When a mailing list program receives an unsubscribe request, it sends  
an email containing a "magic cookie" in the message in the Subject  
header, email body, and/or as part of an URL to the subscribed email  
address.  Only if the recipient replies to the message preserving the  
cookie, or clicks on the unsubscribe link, does that person actually  
become unsubscribed.

> Can't someone find a more sophisticated subscription and posting  
> mechanism than this email list?

EZMLM is mildly dated in terms of mailing list functionality,  
although people who like qmail find it integrates well with EZMLM.

I am of the opinion that Mailman, www.list.org, would be a  
significantly better solution as it by default ensures that an  
unsubscribe link appears in the footer of all list messages, has  
somewhat more secure handling of subscribe and unsubscribe cookies (I  
don't believe it is as vulnerable to forged subscription requests as  
EZMLM is), and it is smart enough to identify admin traffic like  
people sending an unsubscribe request to the list itself and hold it  
for moderator/list-admin action, rather than just blindly spamming  
everybody on the list with noise.

Mailman also supports an option for enabling temporary list  
moderation, so that a list which is under attack from spam,  
flamewars, or subscribe/unsubscribe issues can be filtered and  
moderated until things settle down, and then revert to unmoderated  
behavior once things quiet down.

Of course, this is up to Russ Nelson as postmaster at opensource.org...


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