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I was recently out in the field (neontology stuff; I won't bore you
with it :-) for about a week, so I wasn't around to intercede when
things got hot and heavy around here... I thought I could trust
everyone to behave. Oh well; at least things seem a bit more quiet
now. Anyhoo, in the interest of maintaining calmer waters in the
future, let me suggest two new policies I could attempt to enforce.
Suggested policy number one: A listmember could be timed out if three
or more people suggested such an action might be appropriate within a
three day period. Three people probably seems like a small number,
but in my experience it isn't. If three people complain there are
probably at least a hundred thinking the same things... I think I
actually received only one direct complaint (other than the general
grousing and flaming we all received) during the past two weeks.
Suggested policy number two: I could establish a message quota policy
similar to the one used during moderation, but since I'm not willing
to moderate the list again I'd have to use timeouts as enforcement.
Perhaps if a person sent more than five messages in a day they would
not be allowed to send messages the following day. A repeat offense
might lead to a two day timeout, then a four day time out and then if
someone goes over quota more than three times they'd get a week
timeout for each such offense.
I'm just thinking about these ideas now; they are not in force now --
I just think they might help without requiring too much additional
work (I fear that's a major concern or me!). I invite you to provide
me with feedback whether you think these ideas are good or bad.
Please write to me directly, though; I really don't want to clutter
the list any more than necessary.
Since I'm here let me also explain something I suspect many of you
have wondered about. Unless someone's lucky(?!) enough to have some
funky random delays in their incoming mail routes all of us are
receiving the list's messages in one or more bursts in the middle of
the night. There are many contributing factors that have lead us to
this situation, and there's not much that can be done to fix it unless
traffic on the list slows down (or somebody donates me a large chunk
of free time).
The version of listproc currently in use here allows me to configure
the list to accept a specific number of messages per day and to stop
processing the list's mail (until midnight) once that quota is
reached. Unfortunately the counting system does not discriminate
between messages distributed to the list and bounce reports. Think
about that a bit -- every time your mailbox is "filled" for a day
every message the list sends you during that day results in your
machine sending a bounce report to the listprocessor. A couple of
addresses like that and it's easy to see that bounce reports almost
always outnumber "real" messages... So what happened is that on some
day back around January the list received enough messages that it
processed its quota for the day and still had a full quota's worth of
messages in its queue. At midnight that night it processed the first
50 (or hundred now) messages and then stopped. And that's the
situation we've been operating in for months. When there are a lot of
error messages piled up in the queue I can "free" the list, causing it
to process another 100 messages, and I have been doing that. However,
I've been logging in generally only once a day and generally late at
night. I also have been trying to make sure that no more than 50
messages are distributed per day. Listproc will send out "real"
messages before counting up the bounce reports. Under ideal
conditions that's a good thing. In our current situation that makes
things harder because I sometimes get error messages that have been
sitting in listproc's queue for a week -- during that week the
offending address received all messages sent to the list, so before I
find out an address had a problem (i.e. before I'm informed I need to
tell listproc to stop sending mail to the address) it's already added
another 200 or so messages to listproc's queue...
Don't worry if you didn't understand all (or even any :-) of that.
Just suffice it to know that we're all in the same boat. When people
appear to be getting their mail faster than you it's only because some
people send private copies to other individuals at the same time they
send their messages to the list.
Mickey Rowe (email@example.com)