[Techtalk] Perl Script Modification - listadmin for Mailman

Terry tech at futurecourse.com
Sat Jul 4 14:19:27 UTC 2015

Hi folks,

We've come up against a limitation in the Perl script, listadmin, used
by some of the LinuxChix list moderators to review held list messages on
the Mailman lists.

Relevant urls:

We need an option added to the listadmin script.  If you're interested,
please read on.

In short, Spamassassin is now in place on the new server, blocking most
of the spam.  Slipping through are the lower scoring messages that don't
rise above the threshold.  These spam need to be fed to Spamassassin's
Bayes through sa-learn.  Mailman does *not* provide a way to natively
interact with Spamassassin's sa-learn function for training Bayes.

We've researched several ways to do this, but most involve patching
Mailman or using python scripts.  Patching is not an option. Most of the
list admins are not sysadmins so the python scripts, which require shell
access, aren't useful to us.

The most efficient way is to allow the list admin to kick off the
sa-learn process by being able to save a copy of spam to a directory.
Mailman does provides a way to do this through the web interface by
allowing the moderator to choose an option "Preserve message for site
administrator" which then converts the message from Mailman format to
message format and saves it to the spam/ directory. This assures that a
human has reviewed the mail and determined it to be spam.

Unfortunately, the listadmin script does not provide this option.  The
Debian package for listadmin has been patched and it seems like it
should provide this option but some testing I've done hasn't worked.

The listadmin script acts as an interface, not to Mailman itself, but to
the Mailman web interface. I've looked at the script but I'm no Perl
expert.  I'm afraid modifying it is beyond my level of knowledge. I
think that it parses the entire table from the web page so the
"Preserve" option should be available for use.  It just hasn't been
incorporated into the script.

Any Perl experts interested in taking a look at it to let me know if
this is doable or if I'm barking up the wrong tree?  Anyone interested
in modifying the script? I'm happy to provide whatever additional
information is needed.  I can set up a test list for you and add you as
a list admin so you can test until your heart's content.

I've sent several messages to the author but haven't heard back from
him.  This would be a really cool project for LinuxChix to contribute
back to the community.  The script is commented with "Released into
public domain" so there should be no problem with us modifying it.


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