Re: [Tools-discuss] [Gendispatch] Updating the IETF Discussion List Charter (was: Fwd: New Version Notification for draft-eggert-bcp45bis-02.txt)

Phillip Hallam-Baker <> Tue, 13 July 2021 21:43 UTC

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From: Phillip Hallam-Baker <>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2021 17:43:36 -0400
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To: John Levine <>
Cc: GENDISPATCH List <>, Tools Discussion <>, Lars Eggert <>
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Subject: Re: [Tools-discuss] [Gendispatch] Updating the IETF Discussion List Charter (was: Fwd: New Version Notification for draft-eggert-bcp45bis-02.txt)
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The reason to not reinvent a bulk mail system is simple: It is a terrible
idea that has always sucked.

The Achilles heel of SMTP is that it is a push mode system. NNTP was better
because messages were pulled. An NNTP based discussion scheme would be a
much more effective way to manage 'mailing list' traffic because it is a
pull mode scheme.

The big mismatch between functionality and features here is that we are
trying to use SMTP as a workflow system which it is not what it is designed
to do.

A better solution would be an append only log of events such as ID
publication, RFC publication, interims, etc. that might trigger actions for
specific users and client software capable of processing those events on
the user's behalf according to rules specified by the user.

Sign the logs as a Merkle Tree and we have authenticated events and can do
more interesting stuff.

Of course, this is yet another of those 'things we could actually do with
crock-chain' which the crock-chain world completely ignores.

On Tue, Jul 13, 2021 at 4:14 PM John Levine <> wrote:

> It appears that Lars Eggert  <> said:
> >On 2021-7-13, at 1:50, Eric Rescorla <> wrote:
> >> With that said, there's no reason to be locked into the
> "one-size-fits-all" mailing list paradigm for this kind of automatic
> notification. Unlike ietf@, the number of people
> >who send mail to ietf-announce is very small, so we don't really need to
> have it as a simple mailing list. Instead, what I would suggest is that we
> modify the automatic
> >notification system to allow people to customize which notifications they
> want to receive (they can still allo appear to go to the same list, which
> could even be called
> >ietf-announce if we want). That way, people can easily filter on the
> server side and get just the subset they care about. [0]
> >>
> >> -Ekr
> >>
> >> [0] We can of course still build an archive that has every announcement.
> >
> >I like this idea. Would this need to result in new custom datatracker
> code, or is there a third-party service that could be leveraged?
> >
> >(This part of the discussion should also probably move to tools-discus.)
> You really, REALLY, do not want to try to reinvent a bulk mail system.
> GNU Mailman has a little-used "topics" feature that I think can do the
> trick here.  The list manager configures
> a set of topic regexps for the list, and subscribers can say which topics
> they want.  In each message the topic(s)
> appear in the Subject or Keywords line and it sends the message to the
> people subscribed to the topics.  If you don't
> pick any topics, by default you get all of them.
> See
> The interface within mailman to set the topics is pretty grody, but I
> presume it just puts stuff in the underlying
> database so we could invent our own interface to it without extreme pain.
> R's,
> John
> PS: Some of us don't subscribe to any IETF lists but instead retrieve the
> messages from the IMAP server, but I think we
> can fend for ourselves.
> --
> Gendispatch mailing list