Address to reach human operator regarding problems with list?

Ian Smith smithi at
Wed May 30 18:33:36 UTC 2012

In freebsd-questions Digest, Vol 417, Issue 4, Message: 26
On Wed, 30 May 2012 06:31:38 -0400 "Thomas Mueller" <mueller23 at> wrote:

 [Matthew Seaman wrote:]
 > > freebsd-questions-owner at ... is correct, except that to my knowledge
 > > there isn't really a moderator for freebsd-questions (it's an open list
 > > that anyone can post to without having to be a member) and that address
 > > ultimately gets dealt with by postmaster at

'Ultimately' being operative; I gather it rather depends on workload.  
It does sound a little odd that writing to freebsd-questions-owner@ is 
interpreted as mail to a subs-only list (moderators@), which may be well 
down the TODO queue of the postmaster@ team.

 > > The message you got about "held for moderation" is standard boiler-plate
 > > from mailman, and probably not appropriate for your specific circumstances.

I think mentioning the whole circumstance to postmaster@, including the 
result of posting to freebsd-questions-owner@ could be worthwhile; I 
wouldn't suggest every little mail issue should go to postmaster@, but 
apart from Tom's immediate problem, there may be a functional issue.

 > > On the whole though, you shouldn't need to contact anyone about the
 > > warning you received.   It generally occurs when your mail system
 > > rejects messages from the freebsd-questions at ... list as spam.  As there
 > > is a certain amount of spam that does appear on the list, this is an
 > > absolutely legitimate practice: trouble is, it's hard for the FreeBSD
 > > mail system to distinguish deliberate non-acceptance of spam from
 > > accidental non-acceptance of traffic due to a broken mailer.

Indeed.  Considering the number of lists and the number of subscribers, 
I think mailman (and spamassassin recipes) do a great job, though it's 
always going to be a battle chasing the latest spammer techniques; the 
recent spamruns with multiple 'From:' addresses being a case in point, 
not a pretty look seeing spam 'apparently' by FreeBSD committers ..

 > > Mailman has an adaptive system that scores you based on how many rejects
 > > you generate in a certain time period.  If you log into mailman at eg.
 > >
 > > you can see your current score.  Mine is currently 2.0 (out of 5.0) and
 > > has been about that for quite some time.  So long as your score is not
 > > too large, I wouldn't worry about the message you received.  Even if
 > > your score does go over the threshold, you can just use that same
 > > interface to re-enable delivery.

I hadn't checked for ages, but see my score is now 1.0, probably from a 
couple of days downtime last month ie delayed delivery.  This would help 
Tom see if mailman 'knows' anything about his problem, but not what was 
happening to cause that?

 > I contacted my Internet service provider, Insight Cable, about the 
 > problem, and they need a copy of any message that bounces, so they 
 > can see what went awry.

Bit strange asking you to provide copies of messages you didn't get :)

Are they providing your inbound MX server, ie is that where your mail is 
received?  I gather you're not running your own mailserver.  It should 
not be hard to find any such bounces from/to in their 
mail or spam logs, if it was they who bounced them?  If not, who did?

 > So I can't just ignore the problem.

I rather suspect that even if each bounce is logged at (and 
it might be some task to find yours, beyond that they've been counted), 
that it could be non-trivial to locate the offending source messages.  
Not impossible, Message-IDs are likely logged, but last-resort stuff.

OTOH this may be something postmaster@ does routinely, what do I know :)

 > Maybe I should resend the message to postmaster at instead 
 > of freebsd-questions-owner at
 > This problem relates to FreeBSD emailing lists in general, not just 
 > one list such as questions@ .

Yes, in this case I think you should, after exploring the options 
Matthew outlined.  Be sure to show complete headers of any and all 
messages you need to forward to postmaster at .

cheers, Ian

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