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Problems with the maintenance of large mailing lists (RFC1211)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000002025D
Original Publication Date: 1991-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-11
Document File: 54 page(s) / 61K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

A. Westine: AUTHOR [+1]

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC1211: DOI

Abstract

This RFC discusses problems with maintaining large mailing lists, especially the processing of error reports. This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 4% of the total text.

Network Working Group A. Westine Request for Comments: 1211 J. Postel ISI March 1991

Problems with the Maintenance of Large Mailing Lists

Status of this Memo

This RFC discusses problems with maintaining large mailing lists, especially the processing of error reports. This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does not specify an Internet standard. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction.............................................. 1 2. Discussion................................................ 1 3. Typical Problems.......................................... 3 3.1. Misdirected Error Reports................................. 3 3.2. Sublists.................................................. 3 3.3. Misdirected Requests...................................... 5 3.4. Misdirected Messages...................................... 5 4. Summary................................................... 5 APPENDIX A - I used to be on the List.......................... 6 APPENDIX B - Changing Addresses and Sublists................... 8 APPENDIX C - Sublists and Other Protocol Worlds................ 9 APPENDIX D - Errors from Hidden Hosts.......................... 10 APPENDIX E - No Postmaster..................................... 12 APPENDIX F - Examples of Error Messages........................ 14 5. Security Considerations................................... 53 6. Authors’ Addresses........................................ 54

1. Introduction

Maintaining large mailing lists, especially the processing of error reports, poses many problems. Most of the examples come from the experience of managing the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) mailing list. Many examples are presented in this memo. Most of the specific problems shown have already been corrected.

2. Discussion

At USC - Information Sciences Institute (ISI) we maintain mailing lists for the Internet Research Groups, the IETF, and other Internet groups; about 25 lists altogether. We receive about 400 messages a month requesting additions or deletions to these lists. There are

Westine & Postel [Page 1]

RFC 1211 Problems with Mailing Lists March 1991

about 20 messages a day requesting changes to the lists.

We also receive about 300 error messages a month due to mail delivery problems. Many of these are duplicates, but the net result is that about 10 cases per day need to be investigated.

Many of the error reports are for "soft errors", primarily delayed delivery notices, such as "not delivered for 2 days, will try for 3 more days". These just waste the list maintainer’s time and are otherwise ignored. This is especially wasteful when such messages are repeated every day. However, if the same host is a cause of such messages for many days in a row, the list maintainer may investigate.

Please note that ignoring the soft errors is not always easy, since error messages often contain error reports on several mailboxes, requiring the error message to be read carefully...

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