Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(October 1999)

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Subject: Re: Local alias problem
From: Michael Brach <michael . brach @ ruhr-uni-bochum . de>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 09:40:28 +0200
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
Cc: michael . brach @ ruhr-uni-bochum . de
References: <199910190800 . BAA23397 @ honor . greatcircle . com>

Thank you for your replies!


> Subject: Local alias problem
> emails (e.g. TO: user @
 anywhere) are often locally forwarded to alias
> adresses, (e.g. firstname .
 lastname @
 anywhere). This causes problems, when
> a user wants to contribute to a private list and the subscribed adress
> is not equal to the sender adress.
> How can I handle this situation? Is this a subject to list configuration
> or policy? I want to avoid contacting the single user, for most of them
> don't know about internal aliases. I do manage two lists (with Majordomo
> and Listserv), but I am not a programmer.

A. "you must post from your subscribed address"-policy (1)(2)
B. multiple subscriptions for the same person; all but one are set to
NOMAIL (3)(4)(7)
C. As B., but majordomo-managers have to help themselves, for there is
no NOMAIL option (5) (6)

> I have an explicit policy on my list that says "you must post from
> your subscribed address", period.  No exceptions, and no double
> subscribing, either.  For the most part it works fine.  Every so
> often a post will kick out and I will write a nice letter to the
> offending poster explaining the policy and they usually get it.
> Those that dont are usually lurkers.

> | I have an explicit policy on my list that says "you must post from
> | your subscribed address", period.  No exceptions, and no double
> | subscribing, either.  For the most part it works fine.  Every so
> | often a post will kick out and I will write a nice letter to the
> | offending poster explaining the policy and they usually get it.
> That's draconian.  For your list, Danny, it may be necessary or even ideal,
> but for most that I've been on, it's severe.  That's why some packages sup-
> port a roster of non-subscribed addresses with posting rights.
> I moderate my list, so it's no problem for me to keep records of members'
> alternate addresses.  All somebody has to do is write to me once from the
> subscribed address to say, "foo @
 bar .
 baz is I" and after that I'll accept
> posts from there as well, if of course the post is otherwise acceptable.
> But what I'd really like to know is why you forbid double subscribing.  It
> seems to me that that can't hurt, so what are the particulars of your list
> that make double subscribing a bad thing there?

> My policy is people can recieve posts to any address they want (helps for
> sorting for many or has other logistical advantages to choose).
> And people can post from any address they want.  Some people like to post
> anon with a free email account.  This is fine.  Some people have the
> forwarding problem.  Some people just have more than one account.  Some
> people have email problems and need a backup account to post from.
> The software I use (Bestserv...we have to use it; it's watered down
> majordomo) has an "alias" subscription option.  It means you count as a
> subscriber for posting purposes (only subscribers can post) but you won't
> recieve posts at that address.
> Listserv has this option too; it's called NO MAIL.  They can subscribe and
> then set it to NO MAIL so they are in the subscription database but won't
> recieve posts there.  I'm sure Majordomo has a similar option.
> Users subscribe on their own and if they have trouble posting (and can't
> figure out the alias problem from my help pages) they tell me.  I then tell
> them how to set up an alias (I have a cheat sheet for all the list
> commands).
> I think most users do get forwarding once you explain it to them.  I mean
> just show them the mail you got from them and what address it came from.
> This is different from the address they give out to others.  Not too
> hard...though I know it's easy to overestimate user's abilities :-)

> Sympa provide per user reception options. One of them is 'nomail' it
> is used to have multiple subscribtion but unique message reception.
> In addition a liste can be configured to distribute all messages from
> subscribers and forward others to the list editor.

> I have this problem all the time, particularly with people on big corporate
> networks where the incoming address is something like fred .
 smith @
 bigcorp .
> and the outgoing address is fsmith @
 mail14 .
 atlantis .
 bigcorp .
 com .
> For my Majordomo lists, I make a parallel pseudo-list called <listname>-extra
> to which people can subscribe their write-only addresses.  It's not a real
> list, mail to <listname>-extra is rejected, it's just added to the list of
> files that majordomo uses to validate mail to the real list (just as
> subscribers to <listname>-digest can post to listname.)
> This is very easy to do with majordomo, and requires no code changes,
> just one line in the list config file.

Using Majordomo, I maintain lists in triplets.  There is an X list, an
X-digest, and an X-posting list.  The X-posting list is used for extra
posting addresses like this.  If I approve a bounce from an unsubscribed
address, I generally force them onto the X-posting list.  Generally,
are posting from a new address because their address has changed and
old address is being forwarded.  The average user frankly does not know
when their ISP changes their mailing address.  This procedure means that
need only do this once per new address.

I also have a majordomo extension that allows people to move between the
lists without going through the confirmation dialog, that is, I support
"set mail", "set nomail" and "set digest" for the lists.  This simply
unsubscribes and subscribes people to different lists in the triplet. 
X-posting never has any mail set to it other than the announce.

However, if the announce bounces, I will unsub the user from the
list.  I do insist that they use real addresses.  Very few announces

This is explained at

What happens when they try to unsub?  If they kept the instructions, it
will tell them how to submit an unsub that simply needs to be approved.
There is also a web interface that they can use on behalf of any address
that they can still get e-mail at.

Oh, yes, an unsub from the main list will try the digest list if they
not on the main list.  This fix eliminated at least one confused user
e-mail per month, even though there are instructions in every footer.

How often does this happen?  Several times a day, on all the lists I
and the approve-and-subscribe is a keystroke that runs a script.

Listproc, the clone-implementation of Listserv, also has the NOMAIL

Listar has this functionality as well, as does Mailman (and I think
Sympa and Lyris do as well).

In fact, Majordomo is - as far as I know - the only package that does
provide for this functionality in some way, though I know a few people
have patched their own copies to give it this functionality.  (Usually
requiring admin intervention, unfortunately.)

Michael Brach
Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum
Lehrstuhl für Sportmedizin (Prof. H. Heck)
D-44780 Bochum
Tel. +49-234-322-3112 oder -4099
Fax. +49-234-321-4323
email: michael .
 brach @
 ruhr-uni-bochum .

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