Dealing With Mailman Bounces

Every now and again, mailman-site-list@inf gets mail when list mail sent to a list member's address bounces. This is usually a clue that we should be removing that address from all our mailman lists. eg a recent post to sys-announce@inf caused 150 bounce messages for each person on that list who had crossed the number of bounces threshold (5 from memory).

The mail contains the following:

This is a Mailman mailing list bounce action notice:

    List:       sys-announce
    Member:     M.L.W.Kong@sms.ed.ac.uk
    Action:     Subscription disabled.
    Reason:     Excessive or fatal bounces.

followed by the message sent to the list that triggered the bounce.

The basic plan for dealing with this is to:

  • See if the bounce is justified, eg
    • user no longer in LDAP, or
    • is fowarding to the "User didn't leave a forwarding address" (since we moved to staffmail), or
    • is forwarding to someother mailbox which no longer exists, eg an @sms.ed address.
  • If the bounce is legitimate then remove the address from all our mailman lists.
  • Optionally chase this up with User Support to have the person removed from LDAP (and if so, then also our staffmail forward map).

Some more detail

Check the bounce

To check if the bounce is justified/to be expected requires some detective work. The simplest thing to do is probably (as root on nutty) do sendmail -bv mailaddress this will show you where sendmail is trying to deliver mail sent to that address is.

Perhaps just eyeball the address, to make sure it isn't someone you'd expect the mail address to work for, eg mfourman@inf !

Remove the address

As mailman on nutty, use the following scripts in ~mailman/bin/.

  • find_member address to list all the lists that address is on, it isn't case sensative, but doesn't know that s0123456@inf and J.Smith@smsREMOVE_THIS.ed are the same thing. So you may want to check student looking addresses for both versions of their address.
  • then use remove_members --fromall -n -N address to remove address from all mailman lists. If you want to me more selective, you can leave out the --fromall and specify the specific list. Just run the command without any args to see the options/help.

-- NeilBrown - 08 Jun 2009

Topic revision: r1 - 08 Jun 2009 - 14:07:55 - NeilBrown
 
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