Automatic response handler

Mailman has a autoreply handler that sends automatic responses to messages it receives on its posting address, owner address, or robot address. Automatic responses are subject to various conditions, such as headers in the original message or the amount of time since the last auto-response.

>>> mlist = create_list('_xtest@example.com')
>>> mlist.display_name = 'XTest'

Basic automatic responding

Basic automatic responding occurs when the list is set up to respond to either its -owner address, its -request address, or to the posting address, and a message is sent to one of these addresses. A mailing list also has an automatic response grace period which specifies how much time must pass before a second response will be sent, with 0 meaning “there is no grace period”.

>>> from datetime import timedelta
>>> from mailman.interfaces.autorespond import ResponseAction

>>> mlist.autorespond_owner = ResponseAction.respond_and_continue
>>> mlist.autoresponse_grace_period = timedelta()
>>> mlist.autoresponse_owner_text = 'owner autoresponse text'

>>> msg = message_from_string("""\
... From: aperson@example.com
... To: _xtest-owner@example.com
...
... help
... """)

The preceding message to the mailing list’s owner will trigger an automatic response.

>>> from mailman.testing.helpers import get_queue_messages

>>> handler = config.handlers['replybot']
>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_owner=True))
>>> messages = get_queue_messages('virgin')
>>> len(messages)
1

>>> dump_msgdata(messages[0].msgdata)
_parsemsg           : False
listid              : _xtest.example.com
nodecorate          : True
recipients          : {'aperson@example.com'}
reduced_list_headers: True
version             : 3

>>> print(messages[0].msg.as_string())
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Subject: Auto-response for your message to the "XTest" mailing list
From: _xtest-bounces@example.com
To: aperson@example.com
X-Mailer: The Mailman Replybot
X-Ack: No
Message-ID: <...>
Date: ...
Precedence: bulk

owner autoresponse text

Short circuiting

Several headers in the original message determine whether an automatic response should even be sent. For example, if the message has an X-Ack: No header, no auto-response is sent.

>>> msg = message_from_string("""\
... From: aperson@example.com
... X-Ack: No
...
... help me
... """)

>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_owner=True))
>>> get_queue_messages('virgin')
[]

Mailman itself can suppress automatic responses for certain types of internally crafted messages, by setting the noack metadata key.

>>> msg = message_from_string("""\
... From: mailman@example.com
...
... help for you
... """)

>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(noack=True, to_owner=True))
>>> get_queue_messages('virgin')
[]

If there is a Precedence: header with any of the values bulk, junk, or list, then the automatic response is also suppressed.

>>> msg = message_from_string("""\
... From: asystem@example.com
... Precedence: bulk
...
... hey!
... """)

>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_owner=True))
>>> get_queue_messages('virgin')
[]

>>> msg.replace_header('precedence', 'junk')
>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_owner=True))
>>> get_queue_messages('virgin')
[]

>>> msg.replace_header('precedence', 'list')
>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_owner=True))
>>> get_queue_messages('virgin')
[]

Unless the X-Ack: header has a value of yes, in which case, the Precedence header is ignored.

>>> msg['X-Ack'] = 'yes'
>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_owner=True))
>>> messages = get_queue_messages('virgin')
>>> len(messages)
1

>>> dump_msgdata(messages[0].msgdata)
_parsemsg           : False
listid              : _xtest.example.com
nodecorate          : True
recipients          : {'asystem@example.com'}
reduced_list_headers: True
version             : 3

>>> print(messages[0].msg.as_string())
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Subject: Auto-response for your message to the "XTest" mailing list
From: _xtest-bounces@example.com
To: asystem@example.com
X-Mailer: The Mailman Replybot
X-Ack: No
Message-ID: <...>
Date: ...
Precedence: bulk

owner autoresponse text

Available auto-responses

As shown above, a message sent to the -owner address will get an auto-response with the text set for owner responses. Two other types of email will get auto-responses: those sent to the -request address...

>>> mlist.autorespond_requests = ResponseAction.respond_and_continue
>>> mlist.autoresponse_request_text = 'robot autoresponse text'

>>> msg = message_from_string("""\
... From: aperson@example.com
... To: _xtest-request@example.com
...
... help me
... """)

>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_request=True))
>>> messages = get_queue_messages('virgin')
>>> len(messages)
1

>>> print(messages[0].msg.as_string())
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Subject: Auto-response for your message to the "XTest" mailing list
From: _xtest-bounces@example.com
To: aperson@example.com
X-Mailer: The Mailman Replybot
X-Ack: No
Message-ID: <...>
Date: ...
Precedence: bulk

robot autoresponse text

...and those sent to the posting address.

>>> mlist.autorespond_postings = ResponseAction.respond_and_continue
>>> mlist.autoresponse_postings_text = 'postings autoresponse text'

>>> msg = message_from_string("""\
... From: aperson@example.com
... To: _xtest@example.com
...
... help me
... """)

>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_list=True))
>>> messages = get_queue_messages('virgin')
>>> len(messages)
1

>>> print(messages[0].msg.as_string())
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Subject: Auto-response for your message to the "XTest" mailing list
From: _xtest-bounces@example.com
To: aperson@example.com
X-Mailer: The Mailman Replybot
X-Ack: No
Message-ID: <...>
Date: ...
Precedence: bulk

postings autoresponse text

Grace periods

Automatic responses have a grace period, during which no additional responses will be sent. This is so as not to bombard the sender with responses. The grace period is measured in days.

>>> mlist.autoresponse_grace_period = timedelta(days=10)

When a response is sent to a person via any of the owner, request, or postings addresses, the response date is recorded. The grace period is usually measured in days.

>>> msg = message_from_string("""\
... From: bperson@example.com
... To: _xtest-owner@example.com
...
... help
... """)

This is the first response to bperson, so it gets sent.

>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_owner=True))
>>> len(get_queue_messages('virgin'))
1

But with a grace period greater than zero, no subsequent response will be sent right now.

>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_owner=True))
>>> len(get_queue_messages('virgin'))
0

Fast forward 9 days and you still don’t get a response.

>>> from mailman.utilities.datetime import factory
>>> factory.fast_forward(days=9)

>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_owner=True))
>>> len(get_queue_messages('virgin'))
0

But tomorrow, the sender will get a new auto-response.

>>> factory.fast_forward()
>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_owner=True))
>>> len(get_queue_messages('virgin'))
1

Of course, everything works the same way for messages to the request address, even if the sender is the same person...

>>> msg = message_from_string("""\
... From: bperson@example.com
... To: _xtest-request@example.com
...
... help
... """)

>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_request=True))
>>> len(get_queue_messages('virgin'))
1

>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_request=True))
>>> len(get_queue_messages('virgin'))
0

>>> factory.fast_forward(days=9)
>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_request=True))
>>> len(get_queue_messages('virgin'))
0

>>> factory.fast_forward()
>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_request=True))
>>> len(get_queue_messages('virgin'))
1

...and for messages to the posting address.

>>> msg = message_from_string("""\
... From: bperson@example.com
... To: _xtest@example.com
...
... help
... """)

>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_list=True))
>>> len(get_queue_messages('virgin'))
1

>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_list=True))
>>> len(get_queue_messages('virgin'))
0

>>> factory.fast_forward(days=9)
>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_list=True))
>>> len(get_queue_messages('virgin'))
0

>>> factory.fast_forward()
>>> handler.process(mlist, msg, dict(to_list=True))
>>> len(get_queue_messages('virgin'))
1