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Re: Let's shut down address@hidden

From: Ken Raeburn
Subject: Re: Let's shut down address@hidden
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 2005 13:49:51 -0500

On Dec 12, 2005, at 04:10, Alan Mackenzie wrote:
Morning, Richard!

On Sun, 11 Dec 2005, Richard M. Stallman wrote:

   gnu.emacs.bug is supposedly a moderated newsgroup.

Where does it say that?  This group is not moderated, and never was.

Hmmm.  It's certainly moderated at my ISP's server, and all posts I've
ever seen sport the header:

"Moderated" for a mailing list generally means someone is actually monitoring the content and choosing which messages to let through. "Moderated" for a newsgroup, I believe, just means that submissions are sent to an email address for "approval" rather than distributed from the server where the posting is done. This can be used for "moderation" in the normal sense, or just some automated processing/ filtering with no human intervention. I believe the latter is what's going on, thus the confusion.

Reducing the spam would be useful.  One thing we could do to reduce
the spam is set things up to reject messages which fail to contain
"emacs" in the subject or body.  If these rejections send back an
auto-reply telling real users what to do, it should not be an

Probably the most effective simple measure would be to block everything
whose subject line starts with "?$B".

Various other techniques are available too, especially if the gnu.org mail system can be tweaked -- greylisting, HELO-dotted-quad checks, delayed-greeting... depends on what risks you're willing to take for poorly-behaved or non-RFC-compliant senders, etc. (I use a combination of the above on my home system, and get very little directly-delivered spam. At work, we don't use them, but some simple tests suggest that the HELO-dotted-quad test would trap almost 40% of my spam.)

The sort of process I envisage would work something like this:
(i) Mail arriving at the list goes through the (presumably already
installed) automatic filter (Spamassassin?).
(ii) Of what's left, anything from a known serious poster passes through. (iii) Anything which is a response to an existing article passes through.
(iv) The rest stays in limbo for up to 24 hours; during that time, a
moderator may accept it or reject it;
(v) After 24 hours (moderator on holiday?) articles will get passed
through to the list.

That sounds sensible. Though in my experience, the Mailman message moderation interface is nice for small amounts of work, but kind of clunky for dealing with large quantities of mail. Enough so that I hacked up some elisp to parse the HTML pages, and I do most of my list moderation in emacs/ielm. My hacks are still kind of clunky, but reduce the amount of wrist motion and per-message typing, when most of them are to be treated the same way.

Anyone want to hack up a real mailman-interaction mode, with summary listings and automatically-applied per-list filters and other fun stuff? :-)


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