Re: [TOOLS-DEVELOPMENT] Fwd: Re: Fwd: Re: Planned experiment: A new mailing list for last-call discussions

Henrik Levkowetz <> Sat, 14 September 2019 15:28 UTC

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Subject: Re: [TOOLS-DEVELOPMENT] Fwd: Re: Fwd: Re: Planned experiment: A new mailing list for last-call discussions
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On 2019-09-13 23:08, Robert Sparks wrote:
> For conversation:
> Keith Moore is looking for something more than currently proposed for 
> the last-call experiment. He'd like to be able to subscribe to messages 
> about a given document (or topic) by clicking on things in the last-call 
> announcement message, and not get traffic for anything he didn't opt-in to.
> Thoughts?

If we can use Mailman's 'topics' feature for this, it would be good.  We'd
still need to write glue code between the datatracker and Mailman to add
and retire such topics, but that seems like a smaller task than writing the
entire functionality from scratch.

The proposed feature seems worthwhile to me.

Best regards,


> (Relevant bits from three messages in reverse chronological order pasted 
> below)
> RjS
> -------- Forwarded Message --------
> On 9/13/19 9:40 AM, Robert Sparks wrote:
>> So this is the "Topics" configuration under mailman.
>> I could see automating adding topics, where the topic was a draft 
>> name, or perhaps drafts matching the group prefix. But I think there 
>> needs to be some analysis of how mailman behaves when the set of 
>> topics gets large. 
> Yes, I had the same question in my mind.
>> Mind if I forward this thread so far to the tools development team for 
>> get their input?
> I don't mind at all.
>> I don't think a custom list expander is something we should take on.
> Well, I've written one before.   Back when everyone used sendmail, 
> people used to use my bulk_mailer tool to improve performance because 
> sendmail (at that time, at least) delivered mail to all recipients in an 
> envelope in a serial fashion, so every time an SMTP server was slow to 
> respond it delayed mail delivery for everyone else.   Bulk_mailer split 
> things up so that no envelope contained more than N recipient addresses, 
> and addresses at the same mail domain ended up in the same envelope.   
> These days I suspect/hope that MTAs are smarter, and that nobody uses 
> sendmail anymore, or at least that sendmail bears no resemblance to what 
> it used to.
> Anyway the list expander is pretty much an ordinary list expander except 
> that the recipient list comes from a database query, or a different 
> database query than normal.
> The real trick might be arranging for every message to be classified so 
> that something can tell which Last Call the message pertains to and 
> which topic to assign to it.
> Keith
> -------- Forwarded Message --------
> On 9/12/19 5:43 PM, Robert Sparks wrote:
>>> Mailman already supports a very similar feature so it might just be a 
>>> matter of adding some UI bits. 
>> I don't think I'm familiar with the mailman feature you are pointing 
>> to - can you send a link or more description?
> I've never tried using it, but mailman does seem to have some support 
> for letting subscribers opt-in or opt-out to specific "topics".
> Alternatively, the mechanism could be implemented outside of mailman by 
> doing the processing in the list expansion software and having the 
> lastcall list use a different list expander.   The list expander would 
> do a database lookup to see which recipients had opted-in to a 
> particular last-call action, and only forward the message to those 
> individuals.
> (or have a separate lastcall-optin list with its own expander)
> Anyway I'm pretty sure this would be easy to write, and suspect some 
> people would want to use it.   But there's no point in writing it if 
> there's no chance IETF would use it.
> Keith
> -------- Forwarded Message --------
> What I'd like to see is a way to easily and selectively opt-in to 
> particular last call discussions with a single button press.
> For example:  Once a week the list sends out an HTML message with all 
> currently open Last Calls.   For each of these Last Call actions, there 
> is a button in the message that can be used to subscribe or unsubscribe 
> to the specific discussion associated with that last call.    That 
> button launches a web page which has the side-effect of changing the 
> user's subscription.    Perhaps there should also be a link to the tools 
> page for that action, and to archives of discussion of that action.
> Also for any Last Call discussion message sent, there's a link in that 
> message to allow unsubscribing from the topic (as opposed to the whole 
> list).
> Mailman already supports a very similar feature so it might just be a 
> matter of adding some UI bits.
> Probably willing to contribute code as long as I'm not swamped with 
> paying work.
> Keith
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