Discussion Lists - argh!

Is it just me (I’m new to Mailman I admit), or are the discussion lists way more complicated than they need to be?

I just wanted to set up one list - ‘yumcha@mydomain.com’

For a start it has to create a subdomain - lists.mydomain.com. Secondly rather than just getting a new email address yumcha@mydomain.com, I now have:

owner-yumcha owner-yumcha@lists.mydomain.com
owner-yumcha-mydomain.com owner-yumcha@lists.mydomain.com
yumcha yumcha@lists.mydomain.com
yumcha-admin yumcha-admin@lists.mydomain.com
yumcha-mydomain.com yumcha-admin@lists.mydomain.com
yumcha-mydomain.com-admin yumcha-admin@lists.mydomain.com
yumcha-mydomain.com-owner yumcha-owner@lists.mydomain.com
yumcha-mydomain.com-request yumcha-request@lists.mydomain.com
yumcha-owner yumchar-owner@lists.mydomain.com
yumcha-request yumcha-request@lists.mydomain.com

WTF? I know some of these are “friendly” aliases so that you don’t need the “lists.” part in the domain, but aren’t some of these a little redundant? Eg what is the difference between owner-yumcha, and yumcha-owner?

What a mess. I hate do think what your addresses page looks like once you get several lists configured. Can I delete any of these?


Also, all the documentation says:

[i]There were problems with the email commands you sent to Mailman via
the administrative address

To obtain instructions on valid Mailman email commands, send email to
yumcha-mydomain.com-request@lists.mydomain.com with the word
"help" in the subject line or in the body of the message.

If you want to reach the human being that manages this mailing list,
please send your message to

But I don’t want the “mydomain.com” part before the @ sign. Even if it is aliased out, I don’t want it to be any more confusing to my users that it is already (and let me tell ya, I’m getting a bit muddled myself!)


I’ll ‘second’ the intimidation factor.

I really do appreciate that there is an option for discussion lists provided, but I decided that I can’t really use this for my folks due to the probable administrative overhead. I’m wanting to wean a board of directors off of Yahoogroups but considering that most of them consider Yahoo too confusing (I just hate the ads with a passion) I perceive that none of them are interested (or tolerant) enough of discussion list technology to enjoy the classic crunchy taste of a mailman-style list. (And the message headers, oh my!). More to the point, I can’t afford the time to become enough of an expert to become the board help-desk either.

I’m torn though. I haven’t come across any dead-simple equivalent-functionality discussion lists. I’d like one with the ‘look and feel’ of some of the DH custom stuff. Simple, clean, easy, friendly.

The long names are actually just the only way we can get them to play nice with virtual domains, while allowing multiple customers to have the same listname on different domains (without creating a unique mailman installation for each account or domain).

This is something that’s being though about / worked on. Note that you can still send email to "listname@example.com" - however it’s hard to get the footers / headers customized.

W/r/t the headers, it is only currently possible to turn off RFC2369 (good I can’t believe I remembered that correctly… I’m such a dork) headers on a global basis currently.

Mailman 2.1 is supposed to have better virtual domain support, and I think it may be possible to turn off the “list-…” headers on a per-list basis.

I’ve also looked at sympa a little bit, which has some nice advantages… not sure if we want to rewrite our backend

I’m afraid that any changes to the mailing list service will probably be a long time in coming, as we’re all pretty busy right now. Getting something to work is one thing, but getting it to play nice with our backend is another matter.

I believe that the foo-owner and owner-foo are both created because they’re conventions of different mailing list systems.

You don’t actually have to use any of these addresses; they’re just created as part of the default install.

Are there any new developments with Discussion Lists at DH? I just set one up, but the List-* headers are so ugly that I can’t bear to use it this way, especially since my list will be about Email issues and there will be people who pay attention to those headers on the list. One thing that I think would be better would be for me to set up my list as, for example:


and then it won’t be using a virtual domain and should be able to use reasonable looking List-* headers. Is it possible for me to set up my list like this?


PS - If anyone has any ideas for a way to set up a nice list (with nice headers, nice Welcome msg, etc) address of, e.g., discuss@deflexion.com, where deflexion.com is my virtual domain, please post that too!


I’m with you zilch. I just wanted a simple discussion list for family members. After seeing what it entailed however, I decided I had a better chance of becoming an astronaut.

Attachments are also grotesque in the current MM archives as well. I know most mailing list folk frown on attachments on general principle, but the whole reason we have a discussion list is to do work – that involves sending attachments from time to time.

I’ve learned to ignore the headers. I guess compared to the ads of Yahoo they’re the lesser of evils.

Does anyone know if it’s possible to set up the DH Mailman so that only plain ASCII text messages are allowed? i.e., no HTML and no MIME attachments or encodings (other than plain ASCII) allowed? I appreciate that other people, such as Haggis, need these but I’d like to reject these type of posts.

About the archives: I’m disappointed to hear that I can’t edit the archives. I would probably not use the Mailman archive feature and instead make my own archives and present them using possibly a public IMAP folder (which I’d have to do on another one of my hosting providers because DH doesn’t support shared or public IMAP folders).

If anyone has any other thoughts about setting up a discussion list at DH, please post. Is anyone doing it using a different tool such as Majordomo, Majordomo2, or Smartlist?

Thanks for all the thoughts on this issue,


We have demime installed, so support can set your list up to go through demime -this will remove HTML cruft and MIME attachments.

The new version of Mailman has MIME support, a lot of great new features, and (supposedly) much better virtual domain support, which will hopefully allow us to get rid of the weird long list names. However I’m not sure how soon we’ll be able to get all the back end stuff integrated with the new version of Mailman. I’ve been using it with some personal lists (and, more recently, with our internal lists), and it’s great.

The email confirmation feature is really useful, and you can also have moderator-only users to the web interface.

PS - you can turn off the rfc 2369 (I hope that’s the right one) headers on a per-list basis with the new version of Mailman.

Is it acceptable/possible for one to install Mailman 2.1 in one’s own DH directory?

I don’t think it would work… whether it is technically allowed or not is a grey area, but my guess is that if it didn’t cause problems or unacceptable amounts of resource consumption, it would be OK. However, you’d need something to make sure that the master qrunner process started up and stayed running. Also, mm spawns a number of child processes, and it’s possible that our system would kill some of the processes if they kept running for a long time.

Gotcha. Thanks Will.