The GNOME mail ecosystem is a very busy one, encompassing hundreds of mail aliases, and dozens of mailing lists. Tens of thousands of emails flow through our mail server each day. These numbers grow almost daily and keeping all of this maintainable is a challenge. Historically we have done a pretty good job keeping on top of things, but every now and then something gets away from us and we’re reminded that keeping things simple, and using the right tool for the job is the best way to go.
In the past I’ve managed mailing lists using a Perl-based tool called “listadmin”. listadmin allows you to moderate pending mailman queues from the command-line, which is simpler than navigating through the web interface for each list. I used listadmin for years to moderate Ubuntu lists, but oddly enough when I started working within the GNOME community listadmin didn’t work reliably. Fixing listadmin has been a priority for me for the past few months, and finally we’re there! Thanks to the contribution of a community member, Raymond Lu, we’ve found a fix for listadmin that works on the GNOME mailing lists.
This post is for all of the mailing list administrators and moderators out there.
In order for listadmin to work reliably on GNOME mailing lists, you’ll need to grab the latest version from Debian squeeze or apply a patch manually. (Details regarding the patch are outlined in the .diff.gz file in that link). It seems there have been some interface and internationalization changes, and this takes care of those. Once you’ve got this version installed / patched, see the configuration options below:
The listadmin configuration is pretty straightforward. You define the URL, password and list name for each mailing list you moderate. You can also optionally configure the default action and log file, and then simply run listadmin and you’re prompted regarding the action to take on the pending message(s). Below is an example configuration for one of the GNOME mailing lists,
These, of course, are not the real passwords, but shows an example of assigning different passwords for different lists. If you are a list moderator I would suggest you set up a configuration similar for all the lists that you moderate. Then, you can simply run listadmin every few days and easily keep on top of your lists. If all moderators were able to do as much, none of the lists would ever get away from us!
If you know any list moderators that could make use of listadmin, please forward this on to them. Whether it be for GNOME (particularly for GNOME!), or another project, it sure is a time saver!
If you’ve got any questions about setting up listadmin, need a reminder regarding your moderator credentials or if you’d simply like to help out with list moderation, feel free to contact myself or any of the other core Sysadmins. We’re more than happy to help!