The Mailman Wishlist

(Last Update: $Date: 2003/10/07 22:26:56 $)

Here's the wish list for future versions of Mailman. Many new features have been added to Mailman 2.1, and it is currently undecided whether the next release will be 2.2 or 3.0. Please also see the Mailman design notes wiki at

Email Handling

  • Re-implement the bulk mailer to do DNS lookups and remote MTA delivery directly (optional).
  • For low-traffic sites, a queued message could trigger a qrunner process. It would work until all mail was delivered, then sleep and exit if no new work arrived.
  • Strip any addresses of members who have nodupe turned on, from the Cc headers of the list copy of a message.
  • Separate processing for MIME and plaintext digests. E.g. you might want to filter images out of plaintext but not MIME digests.


  • A detailed feature list
  • A user's guide
  • A site-admin's guide
  • A list-admin's guide
  • More on-line documentation and UI help
  • A developer's guide w/ architecture and API information
  • manpages for the scripts in bin and cron
  • Integrate Christopher Kolar's documentation

General Web UI

  • NO DEAD ENDS and every web page is reachable.
  • All web UI must be configurable so that it more easily integrates into an existing site's design. Probably means using a better template language/system like Zope's Presentation Templates, Quixote, or PHP.
  • Default UI should add a navigation sidebar to all web pages.
  • Web pages should never mention disabled features.
  • Allow a site admin and list admins to categorize lists, so that they can be better organized on the listinfo and admin overview pages.

List Administration

  • Allow the moderator to edit posts being held for approval (make it evident, either through a header or other means that the message was edited by the moderator).
  • Allow the admin to disable option settings by users
  • Allow admins to block nomail settings
  • Allow admins to control and set individual headers, adding, removing, or overriding those in the original message (sometimes very useful, but could be dangerous!)
  • New moderation choice: archive but don't send to list.
  • New moderation choice: annotate and send to author for resubmittal. Or just be able to annotate the message for multiple moderator scenarios.
  • Better integration with moderated newsgroups (and allow some addresses to bypass even that moderation and be delivered to a secondary channel, like
  • Allow a list to be marked `disabled' so things like the replybot still works, and the archives are still available, but mail posted to the list is always returned unsent.
  • Ability to `sideline' some messages in the moderation queue
  • Hook moderation up to a whitelist a la TMDA. A non-member message gets held in a non-admindb queue, and the sender gets a confirmation message. When they confirm, we moderate the message as normal, but if they don't we assume it's spam (after some period of time) and discard it. The admin should be able to see all these super-quarantined messages with the flip of a button.
  • Add a moderation option to pass through any message which is a reply to a message previously distributed through the list, even if it comes from a non-member. Treat that non-member as a member for the duration of the thread. Use In-Reply-To, References and Message-ID to match these up.
  • When a held message is forwarded (for admin editing and approved resend) there should be a way to auto-discard the held message when the approved resend is received.
  • Have an option to sort the list of members by real name or email address.
  • Test a message for all hold criteria, record them all instead of just the first match, and do a SpamAssassin like scoring to decide whether the message should get held or not.

List Membership

  • Have one account per user per site, with multiple email addresses and fallbacks. Allow them to subscribe whichever address they want to whichever list, with different options per subscription.
  • Allow the user to get BOTH normal and digested delivery (but I still don't understand why someone would want this)
  • More flexible digests: index digests (subject and authors only, with URLs to retrieve the article)
  • Timed vacations, allowing a user to postpone or discard email for a certain number of days or weeks.
  • Keep user-centric stats, such as the date the user was subscribed, the date of their last change to their account, the date they last sent a message through the list. Perhaps also log each message they send through the list.

Site Administration

  • Allow the site admin to define list styles or themes, and list admins to choose one of the canned styles to apply to their list.
  • Allow the site admin to send an email message to all the list admins using a mechanism similar to the Urgent: header (possibly by addressing it to mailman@site.dom).

Other Usability Improvments

  • A better strategy is needed for sub-lists and super-lists, including dealing with the resulting password reminders and authorization to modify the sub & superlists.
  • Add a limit on the number of posts from any one individual within a period of time (1 post per day, 10 per week, etc). Also, limits on mailbacks, infos, etc.

Mailcmd interface

  • Provide an email interface to all administrative commands
  • Allow email unsubs from matching address to unsubscribe, possibly adding an "allow open unsubscribes" option to control this. Also, adding a confirmation with click-thru confirmation to resubscribe.
  • For email subscribes, keep an audit of where requests are coming from, and send the original request headers in the confirmation message. Helps track down subscribe bombs.
  • Investigate Majordomo2's email admin capabilities.
  • Support the `which' command.

Portability & architecture

  • Use a real transactional database for all information, and allow various bits of information to come from different sources (a relational database, ZODB, LDAP, etc)
  • Member profiles
  • Allow lists of the same name in two different virtual domains
  • Should be able to gather statistics, such as deliveries/day, performance, number of subscribers over time, etc.
  • Implement something like Roundup's nosy lists, maybe even integrate with Roundup.
  • Split Mailman into libraries so, e.g. the delivery part could be used by other projects.

Bounce handling

  • Add more patterns for bounce handling (never ending)
  • Send mail to people who are being removed without their knowledge (even though they're likely not to get it).

Pipermail + Archiving mechanism

  • Search engine for archives
  • Provide downloadable tar.gz's of the html archives
  • sort by date should go most-recent to oldest
  • allow list owner to edit archive messages
  • optional form front-end to public interfaces as a filter to address harvesters.
  • In general the whole Pipermail subsystem needs a good rewrite.
  • Write an API between Mailman and the archiver so that message footers can contain the URL to the archived message.

Code cleanup

  • Turn all remaining string exceptions into class exceptions
  • Unit and system test suite! (ongoing)