Alias OverviewΒΆ

A typical Mailman list exposes nine aliases which point to seven different wrapped scripts. E.g. for a list named mylist, you’d have:

mylist-bounces -> bounces
mylist-confirm -> confirm
mylist-join    -> join    (-subscribe is an alias)
mylist-leave   -> leave   (-unsubscribe is an alias)
mylist-owner   -> owner
mylist         -> post
mylist-request -> request

-request, -join, and -leave are a robot addresses; their sole purpose is to process emailed commands, although the latter two are hardcoded to subscription and unsubscription requests. -bounces is the automated bounce processor, and all messages to list members have their return address set to -bounces. If the bounce processor fails to extract a bouncing member address, it can optionally forward the message on to the list owners.

-owner is for reaching a human operator with minimal list interaction (i.e. no bounce processing). -confirm is another robot address which processes replies to VERP-like confirmation notices.

So delivery flow of messages look like this:

joerandom ---> mylist ---> list members
   |                           |
   |                           |[bounces]
   |        mylist-bounces <---+ <-------------------------------+
   |              |                                              |
   |              +--->[internal bounce processing]              |
   |              ^                |                             |
   |              |                |    [bounce found]           |
   |         [bounces *]           +--->[register and discard]   |
   |              |                |                      |      |
   |              |                |                      |[*]   |
   |        [list owners]          |[no bounce found]     |      |
   |              ^                |                      |      |
   |              |                |                      |      |
   +-------> mylist-owner <--------+                      |      |
   |                                                      |      |
   |           data/owner-bounces.mbox <--[site list] <---+      |
   |                                                             |
   +-------> mylist-join--+                                      |
   |                      |                                      |
   +------> mylist-leave--+                                      |
   |                      |                                      |
   |                      v                                      |
   +-------> mylist-request                                      |
   |              |                                              |
   |              +---> [command processor]                      |
   |                            |                                |
   +-----> mylist-confirm ----> +---> joerandom                  |
                                          |                      |
                                          |[bounces]             |
                                          +----------------------+

A person can send an email to the list address (for posting), the -owner address (to reach the human operator), or the -confirm, -join, -leave, and -request mailbots. Message to the list address are then forwarded on to the list membership, with bounces directed to the -bounces address.

[*] Messages sent to the -owner address are forwarded on to the list owner/moderators. All -owner destined messages have their bounces directed to the site list -bounces address, regardless of whether a human sent the message or the message was crafted internally. The intention here is that the site owners want to be notified when one of their list owners’ addresses starts bouncing (yes, the will be automated in a future release).

Any messages to site owners has their bounces directed to a special loop killer address, which just dumps the message into data/owners-bounces.mbox.

Finally, message to any of the mailbots causes the requested action to be performed. Results notifications are sent to the author of the message, which all bounces pointing back to the -bounces address.