[ntp:questions] forwarding

Brad Knowles brad at stop.mail-abuse.org
Wed Mar 16 08:44:40 UTC 2005

At 12:50 AM +0000 2005-03-16, Per Hedeland wrote:

>  I can't really buy the argument that the mailing list is needed for
>  those that don't have access to Usenet though

	For the more clueful members, no the gateway is not strictly 
required.  It just makes working with the group a lot easier, since 
messages can be handled right along side all your other e-mail, and 
you don't have to waste your time going out to the newsgroup on top 
of everything else.

	Even when I was actively administering one of the top-rated news 
servers in Europe, I wasn't hitting the newsgroups myself on a daily 
basis.  There was no need, and I didn't have the interest or the time 
to waste hours upon hours trying to find the needle in the haystack 
all over again each and every day.

>  But in my opinion the non-Usenet-standard form of this gateway is a
>  severe negative impact on the group,

	A lot of the damage comes from clients whose behaviour we cannot 
control.  Once critical information has been stripped out, we can't 
add it back.  For the moment, once a client includes yet another copy 
of the prefix in the "Subject:" header, we can't strip that out.

>     In contrast, preserving the Message-ID means that the buck in
>     principle stops the second time someone tries to feed the message
>     into Usenet - it will be rejected since the message already exists
>     (for those that don't know it, this is a fundamental property of the
>     Usenet flood distribution mechanism).

	Having witnessed frequent floods of unimaginable proportions, I 
can tell you that this algorithm is not sufficient.

	Just handling the traffic of articles being offered to you and 
being rejected can blow all but the biggest sites off the net, if 
there's a big flood and one of your peers is being nice by using 
IHAVE, instead of going straight to TAKETHIS.  If they're not being 
nice, and they're simply pushing everything to you that they have and 
letting you drop it on the floor if you don't want it, even the 
biggest sites can easily be nuked out of existence.

	Been there, done that, watched various top sites with "unlimited" 
bandwidth get seriously hosed.

>>	However, what does not happen in Mailman 2.1.5 is the *removal*
>>  of all previous examples of the prefix which may have been put in the
>>  subject line by MUAs.
>  Sorry, but this is nonsensical. Mailman inserts the string on messages
>  sent out on the mailing list - none of the newsgroup's business *so
>  far*. A properly functioning MUA will not modify the Subject on a reply
>  other than by prefixing with "Re: ", or allowing modifications performed
>  manually by the user. Ergo, all responses on the mailing list will still
>  have the string that mailman inserted, and it is still there when
>  mailman gateways the message into the newsgroup.

	Mailman inserts one and only one copy of the subject prefix, and 
then only to the messages which are sent to the mailing list.  It 
takes great pains to avoid adding a second copy of the subject prefix 
to all future messages which may be posted to the mailing list, and 
it takes great pains to ensure that it is never responsible for 
adding a copy of the subject prefix to any messages that are 
gatewayed to the newsgroup.

	At the moment, that is as far as Mailman can go.

>                                                   Saying that "the MUA
>  put it there" makes about as much sense as saying that the MUA produced
>  the text of the message - technically correct, but entirely pointless.

	No, not pointless.  Not pointless at all.

	Mailman goes out of its way to ensure that it is not directly 
responsible for adding a copy of the subject prefix to messages which 
are posted to the newsgroup.

	The next version of Mailman has code to optionally strip all 
examples of the subject prefix from any message that crosses from the 
mailing list to the newsgroup.

>>                                    One solution to this problem will be
>>  incorporated into Mailman 2.1.6, which I am planning on installing as
>>  soon as it is officially released.
>  From the source I looked at, this would be a quick one-liner to fix - no
>  need to sit around waiting for the next "official release".

	Uh, no.  It's not a one-liner fix.  That's what i thought, and I 
tried it, and it doesn't work.

>                                                               Removal of
>  the Message-ID munging might actually require commenting out more than
>  one line, IIRC.

	You can't just comment out this code.  You're going to have to 
come up with a real fix for this issue, if you want to have a 
snowball's chance of getting the gateway configuration to changed so 
that it no longer creates it's own Message-ID: header.

>                   The ability to modify and fix is after all one of the
>  major advantages with using open-source software.

	If you can come up with a patch that provably achieves the 
desired goal, please feel free to upload it to the Mailman Patch 
Tracker at <http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?group_id=103&atid=300103>.

	Once the patch has been tested and confirmed, we can talk about 
whether or not we wait for the next release version (which will 
presumably include the desired patch), or whether we go ahead and 
apply the patch to the system we have currently installed.

Brad Knowles, <brad at stop.mail-abuse.org>

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

     -- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania
     Assembly to the Governor, November 11, 1755

   SAGE member since 1995.  See <http://www.sage.org/> for more info.

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