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I need to setup a listserv that allows for assigning rights to 2 or more
levels of priviledge (i.e. first level can receive from everyone, second
level can only read second class or thread responses from first class). Does
anyone know of such an option anywhere? Thanks

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  • Mark Sapiro at May 21, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Greg Skipper, MD wrote:
    I need to setup a listserv

    Please see <http://wiki.list.org/display/DOC/Mailman+is+not+Listserv>.

    that allows for assigning rights to 2 or more
    levels of priviledge (i.e. first level can receive from everyone, second
    level can only read second class or thread responses from first class). Does
    anyone know of such an option anywhere? Thanks

    Mailman does not have any kind of support for this. I don't know if any
    other MLM software does.

    --
    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 May 22, 2010 at 7:18 am
    Greg Skipper, MD writes:
    I need to setup a listserv that allows for assigning rights to 2 or
    more levels of priviledge (i.e. first level can receive from
    everyone, second level can only read second class or thread
    responses from first class). Does anyone know of such an option
    anywhere? Thanks
    As Mark posted, I don't think this is possible within a single list in
    any list manager, and in fact I don't think it would be a good idea to
    try to handle it in a single list anyway (if I understand your
    requirement correctly -- see the last paragraph for an alternative
    interpretation where it's actually reasonably easy to come quite close
    with a single Mailman list and any reasonably capable mail programs
    being used by the privileged members).

    The obvious way to handle this is to have two lists. One is open only
    to high-privilege subscribers (enforced by requiring a list admin's OK
    to subscribe and private archives). The other is open to the general
    membership (in cases such as "open source" software development like
    Mailman, anybody can subscribe, but it would also be possible to
    restriction subscription and archive access to bona fide members in
    the unprivileged list at the cost of increased administrative burden).

    If a thread started on the privileged list is of general interest and
    not sensitive, it can be moved manually to the unprivileged list,
    simply by editing the address in the header. If earlier posts are
    needed for context, they can be manually forwarded.

    Note that the scheme you describe will probably need some such
    mechanism where the privileged members need to decide explicitly which
    level of privilege they want to post to. The two-list solution is a
    well-known method used in many software development communities to
    handle reports of security vulnerabilities.

    I'd like to point out that your usage may end up very closely
    approximating a common pattern with such security lists. Namely, the
    developers who actually work on security problems are subscribed to
    both lists, but rarely start threads on the general list. In that
    case, you will get exactly the usage I undersetand from your
    description: the privileged users post new threads visible only to the
    privileged list members, unprivileged users' posts are visible to
    everyone, and everyone's replies to posts to either list are
    automatically directed to the right audience.

    If some of the posts by unprivileged members might be sensitive, they
    can be allowed to post to the privileged list. The privileged members
    will need to use reply-to-all to direct replies to both the
    unprivileged member and the list. (This is how software security
    lists work -- most such issues are reported by third parties, who
    often continue to provide information as the thread develops.) Of
    course directing the original post correctly is a slight burden on the
    unprivileged members, but on they other hand they're the ones with the
    privacy concern, and they have high motivation to get this right.
    Naming the lists appropriately can help a lot; eg, in the software
    vulnerability case, you have lists named "users at project.org" and
    "security at project.org", which is pretty easy to figure out. In the
    case of a medical practice, you could use "discuss@" and "consult@"
    (and you can probably do better than me, anyway, but that example is a
    reasonable place to start, I hope).

    Finally, if I misunderstood your requirements, and you don't need a
    general discussion list at all, but what you want is for there to be a
    single point of contact for the privileged members, but only the
    privileged members and the original poster should see replies, a
    single list with privileged members as subscribers but posting open to
    non-subscribers, with replies using reply-to-all, would provide this
    service. In fact, there may be feature which does not require use of
    reply-to-all already, but if not it would not be difficult to alter
    Mailman to do this automatically, as well (that is, include any
    non-members who are the author or recipient in the Reply-To list).

    HTH,

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