FAQ
I'm the admin of a Mailman system with several hundred lists. I'm trying to
write some scripts that will scan the mailman directory tree and find lists
that are abandoned, never used, etc.

The main thing I'm trying to figure out is how to know when the last post to
a list was. We have lists that archive (easy) lists that don't archive and
lists that used to archive but no longer do.

Is there a flag or a file with a last-modified date that will tell me when the
last post to a list was? I'm looking for actual posts, not messages that were
sent and rejected, deferred or held.

I'm trying to find the following kinds of lists:

1. Lists that have been posted to in the past six months
2. Lists that have not been posted to in the past six months
3. Lists that have never been posted to.

I'm having trouble figuring out the difference between a list that has had no
activity and one that does not archive. Any suggestions would be greatly
appreciated.

--
Michael Alberghini
Software Systems Engineer
Georgia State University
mike at gsu.edu

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  • Ralf Hildebrandt at Jun 8, 2005 at 7:16 pm

    * Mike Alberghini <sysmda at zim.gsu.edu>:

    I'm the admin of a Mailman system with several hundred lists. I'm
    trying to write some scripts that will scan the mailman directory tree
    and find lists that are abandoned, never used, etc.
    For these unused lists it's probably the easiest to scan the mail.log.
    The main thing I'm trying to figure out is how to know when the last post to
    a list was. mail.log
    We have lists that archive (easy) lists that don't archive and lists
    that used to archive but no longer do.
    Mailman logs that kind of stuff in the mailman "post" or "smtp" log.
    Is there a flag or a file with a last-modified date that will tell me when the
    last post to a list was? I'm looking for actual posts, not messages that were
    sent and rejected, deferred or held.
    --
    Ralf Hildebrandt (i.A. des IT-Zentrums) Ralf.Hildebrandt at charite.de
    Charite - Universit?tsmedizin Berlin Tel. +49 (0)30-450 570-155
    Gemeinsame Einrichtung von FU- und HU-Berlin Fax. +49 (0)30-450 570-962
    IT-Zentrum Standort CBF send no mail to spamtrap at charite.de
  • Mark Sapiro at Jun 8, 2005 at 7:49 pm

    Mike Alberghini wrote:
    The main thing I'm trying to figure out is how to know when the last post to
    a list was.
    Lists have an attribute last_post_time which is equal to zero if the
    list has never been posted to. Otherwise it is result of the Python
    library time.time() function at the time of the last post. See
    http://docs.python.org/lib/module-time.html#l2h-1944

    --
    Mark Sapiro <msapiro at value.net> The highway is for gamblers,
    San Francisco Bay Area, California better use your sense - B. Dylan
  • Dennis Black at Jun 8, 2005 at 7:57 pm

    Quoting Mike Alberghini <sysmda at zim.gsu.edu>:

    I'm the admin of a Mailman system with several hundred lists. I'm trying to
    write some scripts that will scan the mailman directory tree and find lists
    that are abandoned, never used, etc.
    The following is what I use to find 'potentially' dead lists.

    Mailman modifies the /list/config.pck every night processing digests, so
    finding an access or modified time on those was not an option.

    I used the theory that if an owner hasn't accessed their admin page in a
    year, it either means their list is _very_ stable, or the list is dead.
    There may also be lists that are only used once a year.

    I determine the last time a list's admin page was accessed by
    using a webpage counter by Muhammad A Muquit, muquit at muquit.com from

    http://www.muquit.com/muquit/software/Count/Count.html

    The counter is hidden on the list admin page, but I have the access time
    recorded in /usr/local/etc/Counter/data in the form listname.dat:

    16 Jun 6 08:00 list1.dat
    16 May 28 22:39 list2.dat
    16 Jun 2 12:27 list3.dat

    In a year's time, I'll run a script like

    #!/bin/sh
    # Find lists that haven't been modified in the last year and mail report.
    cd /usr/local/etc/Counter/data
    find . -name '*.dat' -ctime +365 -print > /tmp/oldys
    if [ -s /tmp/oldys ]; then
    cat /tmp/oldys | mailx -s "Mailman unused list check" somebody
    fi
    rm /tmp/oldys
    exit

    At that point, I can email the owners and ask if they still want the list.
    Or change the script above to email each owner in a 'for..do' loop.



    Dennis Black
    Internet Applications
    Computing and Network Services
    Ph:(780)492-9329 Fx:(780)492-1729
    news stats http://news.srv.ualberta.ca
    mailman stats http://www.mailman.srv.ualberta.ca/graph/mailgraph

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postedJun 8, '05 at 7:08p
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