[linux-elitists] [Meta] Is it now possible to CC other addresses on email to linux-elitists?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Mar 17 12:47:38 PDT 2009

Quoting Don Marti (dmarti at zgp.org):

> All the list policies are on the list info page...

Well, except for the ones embodied in the software, that are for some
reason not perceived as policies.  Oddly enough, I've just been talking
about this elsewhere, so let me quote it:

Quoting [current LUG president]:

> This seems like a reasonable approach to me.  Thanks for keeping
> everyone informed!  Quick clarification just to be 100% clear... is
> adding additional email addresses to a cc or bcc that are not lists
> but addresses of a single person problematic?  I have done this
> several times recently, but don't want to cause any extra hassle.

The filters reject _only_ posts with Cc to To lines that match (include)
the specified regular expressions -- _not_ posts that include / match
anything else.  The [integer] regular expressions (regexes) I posted were,
I hope you noticed, the posting addresses of five specific non-[LUG]
mailing lists that have been commonly and repeatedly crossposted in the

(The individuals I listed accounted for literally all examples over the
past half-decade, with [former VP] and [tireless do-gooder] leading the
way.  Actually, I just remembered:  [alcoholic former LUG president]
used to do it, too.)

But that brings up something I intend to mention in my earlier mail --
the reason I didn't feel very guilty about putting in place a "rule"
that wasn't, strictly speaking, documented:

The software _already_ embodies a bunch of "rules", that are built into
the software and deliberately limit what people are allowed to post --
and that aren't documented as "rules" on our Web pages.  Oddly, they're
just not normally perceived as "rules", but rather as infrastructure,
but are functionally indistinguishable from rules, objectively.

For example:

1.  GNU Mailman enforces a filter against "implicit addressing" as an
antispam heuristic:  The software will hold in the admin queue, and
eventually discard, any post that doesn't have the mailing list address
in either the To or Cc line.  So, you cannot successfully Bcc a Mailman
mailing list.

2.  There is a maximum size limit, as a way of reining in obnoxious
people who would otherwise blitz mailing lists with binary attachments.
Again, postings over the limit get admin-queued and (if not manually
approved) discarded.

3.  There is a limit on number of total recipients in the To and Cc
lines, again as an antispam heuristic.  Again, posts in violation get
automatically admin-queued, and eventually discarded.

4.  There is an "administrivia filter" that admin-queues anything that
appears to be a misdirected "unsubscribe" message (which, of course,
should never, ever be sent _to_ a mailing list).

You won't see me volunteering "The number of recipients you can stuff
into your headers and not trip the filters is n" or "You can cram
attachments just under n megabytes through the mailing list", or "You
can hold hostage the mailing list with your demand that someone else
unsubscribe you if you deliberately misspell the word 'unsubscribe'" --
specifically because the idea of the filters is to discourage their             
respective sorts of misbehaviour by making them _not work_, not to teach        
people exactly how much misbehaviour they can get away with.                    

My addition to the listinfo page meets people halfway:  It advises
subscribers that there are filters that autoreject some crossposts, but
deliberately omits which ones they are.  I figure that specific a
disclosure is warranted, because most other mailing lists don't (yet)
quash that variety of abuse. 

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