FAQ
I, as co-owner of a Mailman 2.1.9 list, received this message:

Subject: Uncaught bounce notification

The attached message was received as a bounce, but either the bounce
format was not recognized, or no member addresses could be extracted
from it. This mailing list has been configured to send all
unrecognized bounce messages to the list administrator(s).

...

From: user at example.com

...

I will be out of my office from Monday July 23 till Wednesday
July 25. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Are there plans for Mailman to be able to intercept out-of-office
replies and ignore them? Or is the format of the text too variable
to be able to parse the OOO message?

The text says "or no member addresses could be extracted from it", but
the recipient's address is clearly in the "From:" line of the mail
sent back to LISTNAME-bounces. These OOO messages should not increase
the recipient's bounce score.

Thanks.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Barry S. Finkel
Computing and Information Systems Division
Argonne National Laboratory Phone: +1 (630) 252-7277
9700 South Cass Avenue Facsimile:+1 (630) 252-4601
Building 222, Room D209 Internet: BSFinkel at anl.gov
Argonne, IL 60439-4828 IBMMAIL: I1004994

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  • Jim Popovitch at Jul 24, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    On Tue, 2007-07-24 at 08:12 -0500, Barry Finkel wrote:
    Or is the format of the text too variable
    to be able to parse the OOO message?
    Bingo! No Standard, and even if there was one most wouldn't follow it.
    The 2 biggest offenders I see are Outlook/Exchange and Lotus Notes, of
    which neither tries to implement any OoO standard.

    -Jim P.
  • Stephen J. Turnbull at Jul 24, 2007 at 2:53 pm
    Barry Finkel writes:
    The attached message was received as a bounce, but either the bounce
    format was not recognized,
    This is the relevant case here. If the message doesn't look like an
    MTA bounce, it's probably a bad idea to treat it as a bounce. ML
    admin addresses get a fair amount of spam, and often enough the spam
    will contain member addresses.
    or no member addresses could be extracted from it.
    Are there plans for Mailman to be able to intercept out-of-office
    replies and ignore them?
    Not worth the effort because of the variability of format, and the
    high probability of false positives of the form "P.S. I'll be out of
    the office next week." in a post with real content.

    If you have users who use vacation programs, you probably have the
    best idea of what their messages look like, and you should just catch
    them in your filters with the other spam du jour.
    The text says "or no member addresses could be extracted from it", but
    the recipient's address is clearly in the "From:" line of the mail
    sent back to LISTNAME-bounces. These OOO messages should not increase
    the recipient's bounce score.
    They don't. But if there was a setting to immediately unsubscribe and
    ban users who send OOO messages to my lists, I'd use it.<0.5 wink>
  • Christopher X. Candreva at Jul 24, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    On Tue, 24 Jul 2007, Barry Finkel wrote:

    Are there plans for Mailman to be able to intercept out-of-office
    replies and ignore them? Or is the format of the text too variable
    to be able to parse the OOO message?
    I've solved this problem locally using a procmail rule, and I think the
    method could be implemented in mailman itself if others thought it
    worthwhile. I only send on to mailman messages that match
    procmail's FROM_MAILER check, anything else is sent directly to a human.
    My theory is if the message isn't from a mailer-daemon, than it probably
    isn't a bounce.

    For those not familiar with procmail, FROM_MAILER expands to a faily
    complicated regex designed to catch mail from any mailer-daemon.

    `(^(((Resent-)?(From|Sender)|X-Envelope-From):
    ?From )([^>]*[^(.%@a-z0-9])?(Post(ma(st(er)?|n)|office)
    (send)?Mail(er)?|daemon|mmdf|n?uucp|ops|r(esponse|oot)
    (bbs\.)?smtp(error)?|s(erv(ices?|er)|ystem)
    A(dmin(istrator)?|MMGR))(([^).!:a-z0-9][-_a-z0-9]*)?[%@>\t
    ][^<)]*(\(.*\).*)?)?$([^>]|$))'


    The aliases entry looks like this:
    listname-bounces: \
    "|/usr/local/bin/procmail -m /etc/mail/listname-bounces.rc"

    listname-bounces.mc has:

    # Only send stuff from the mailer to mailman
    :0
    * ^FROM_MAILER
    /home/mailman/mail/mailman bounces listname
    #Everything else to a human
    :0
    !listname-owner at westnet.com





    ==========================================================
    Chris Candreva -- chris at westnet.com -- (914) 948-3162
    WestNet Internet Services of Westchester
    http://www.westnet.com/

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