FAQ
Hi

I've just upgraded to Mailman 2.1.9 from a much earlier installation.
One of the new features that puzzles me is the 'uncaught bounce notification'. I get these for out-of-office responses and for auto-replies.

The auto-replies come from some artificial mailbox address.

The out-of-office responses will come either from an address on my list, or, where the address on my list is itself the address of a list on the remote system, from an individual address on the remote list. A few are addressed to (as they used to be) and the majority to <list>-bounces at mydomain.net

I have some questions:

Q1 Why are they called 'uncaught' since they have clearly been sent to a Mailman address, and then neatly packaged up by Mailman and sent to me as list and/or site admin? Are they really just 'unrecognizable' possible bounces (as it says in the body of the Mailman email), or am I missing something?

Q2. Have these responses also been sent to the sender of the message to which they are responses?
(I don't see how they can have been, as there's nothing in most of the headers relating to the original message)

Q3 Are these responses causing the bounce count for the users to be increased?
(Again, I don't think that this can be the case, because they come back from a different address at the same domain, except possibly for the rare occasion where an out-of-office response comes back from an individual mailbox which is on my list)

Q4 How can I inspect users' bounce counts?

Q5 A small number of mailboxes were automatically set to nomail because of bouncing due to errors on my part (NB these were NOT the ones generating uncaught bounce messages). Mailman's behaviour in this case was reasonable, except (here's the important part) it did NOT send me a message about the suspension. But I have bounce_notify_owner_on_disable set to Yes and bounce_notify_owner_on_unsubscribe_set to Yes. (The same thing used to happen on the antique Mailman installation, but at least there I would get notifications most of the time). Where should I look to find out why these notifications are not reaching me?

Q6 Again with regard to Q5:
I've checked my aliases file and it looks OK. Exactly which role in <list>-<role>@mydomain.net should the notifications be coming to?

My main concern is actually Q5, because at present it looks like I need to audit all my mailing lists (more frequently than used to be the case) to check whether users are being dropped without me being notified. But I'd like to understand the other stuff too.

Rod

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  • Mark Sapiro at Dec 12, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Rod at freeserve wrote:
    Q1 Why are they called 'uncaught' since they have clearly been sent to a Mailman address, and then neatly packaged up by Mailman and sent to me as list and/or site admin? Are they really just 'unrecognizable' possible bounces (as it says in the body of the Mailman email), or am I missing something?

    No, you aren't missing anything. If
    bounce_unrecognized_goes_to_list_owner is Yes, any message received at
    the listname-bounces address which is not recognized by Mailman as a
    DSN is forwarded to the list owner as an unrecognized bounce since at
    that point, Mailman doesn't know if it was an actual undeliverable
    mail DSN or something else.

    Q2. Have these responses also been sent to the sender of the message to which they are responses?
    (I don't see how they can have been, as there's nothing in most of the headers relating to the original message)

    No, they are only sent to the list owners and only if
    bounce_unrecognized_goes_to_list_owner is Yes.

    Q3 Are these responses causing the bounce count for the users to be increased?
    (Again, I don't think that this can be the case, because they come back from a different address at the same domain, except possibly for the rare occasion where an out-of-office response comes back from an individual mailbox which is on my list)

    No. If Mailman could detect that it was an actual DSN regarding
    non-delevery to a list member, then it wouldn't be 'unrecognized'.

    Q4 How can I inspect users' bounce counts?

    Go to the admin membership list and click the user's name to go to the
    user's options page. If the user has a non-zero bounce score, that
    will be reported near the top of the options page.

    Or, if you have access, look in Mailman's bounce log.

    Q5 A small number of mailboxes were automatically set to nomail because of bouncing due to errors on my part (NB these were NOT the ones generating uncaught bounce messages). Mailman's behaviour in this case was reasonable, except (here's the important part) it did NOT send me a message about the suspension. But I have bounce_notify_owner_on_disable set to Yes and bounce_notify_owner_on_unsubscribe_set to Yes. (The same thing used to happen on the antique Mailman installation, but at least there I would get notifications most of the time). Where should I look to find out why these notifications are not reaching me?

    Look in Mailman's bounce log to find the "disabling" entries. Then look
    in Mailman's smtp log for entries at that time with message id's of
    the form <mailman.nn.ttttt.ttt.listname at example.com>. nn is a sequence
    number and ttttt.ttt is a time in seconds since the epoch.

    There should be one message with sequence number x and two more with
    sequence number x+1. The first is the message to the user. The second
    is the message to listname-owner and the third is the resend of the
    listname-owner message to the actual owner addresses. If you see
    these, Mailman sent the notices. Beyond that, you have to look in your
    MTA's logs.

    Q6 Again with regard to Q5:
    I've checked my aliases file and it looks OK. Exactly which role in <list>-<role>@mydomain.net should the notifications be coming to?

    They go to list-owner and are then resent to the list's owner (and
    moderator) addresses.

    My main concern is actually Q5, because at present it looks like I need to audit all my mailing lists (more frequently than used to be the case) to check whether users are being dropped without me being notified. But I'd like to understand the other stuff too.

    The listname-owner address needs to work. You can test it by just
    mailing to listname-owner to see if you receive the mail. The fact
    that you receive some notices is not definitive. Some owner notices
    are relayed through listname-owner and some are sent to the owners
    directly.

    --
    Mark Sapiro <mark at msapiro.net> The highway is for gamblers,
    San Francisco Bay Area, California better use your sense - B. Dylan
  • Stephen J. Turnbull at Dec 13, 2007 at 3:54 am
    Rod at freeserve writes:
    Q1 Why are they called 'uncaught' ... ?
    This is pretty standard jargon. There are low level routines, each of
    which traps the errors it expects. Some trap mice, some trap bears,
    some trap bacteria.

    Every once in a while, something unimaginable like the Loch Ness
    Monster comes along and eludes all the traps. So Mailman sets up a
    moat around the castle in a high level routine, and it is the high-
    level routine that eventually catches the tricky ones swimming in the
    moat, and throws them in the dungeon because it has nothing useful to
    do with them. Then it calls the Sherriff (that's you!) to decide what
    to do with them.

    So "uncaught" is elliptical: it means "uncaught by one of the handlers
    for errors we are prepared to handle sanely."
    From the "aren't you glad you asked?" department.

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