Knowledge File AEGEE Mail - Mailing Lists Management
A detailed ToDo list
AEGEE was one of the first NGOs who conquered the internet, now it is a bit behind being the leader. Here is described what needs to be done in order to bring AEGEE forward. Suggestions for more items are welcomed.
Better user support
Without the users, all the investments made are useless. Still, providing a service does not mean that it is used in the most suitable way. On the one side the users do not know at all what they need, on the other they don't know where to find the information. We need
- Improving the documentation for how things work; put it in internet; offer the information in several formats: html, pdf, etc.
- Promoting the documentation;
- People to take care for specific cases, that are not mentioned in the documentation. It is very hard for a single person to give always prompt answers.
In AEGEE we use mail, and mailing lists. Those are good, not but enough. We need:
- to offer newsservers, in addition to mailing lists. People shall be able to read the same messages over mailing list, or over newsserver. Accessing a news-posting shall require authentication, in the same way now it is with mailing lists. The newsserver is not ment to replace the mailing list, but to extend their service.
- Provide webinterface(s) for the news server.
- XMPP/Jabber: As communication in real time is no more luxury, we need our own server for instant communication, based on jabber, and containing all aegee members. Registering an aegee.org account shall imply having a jabber-account. Thus people can search for other members and see their contact details with xmpp-clients. The aegee phone system needs to be integrated with jabber: calling the headoffice over tapioca/googletalk, shall cause the phone of the Secretary General to ring.
Enhancements for the mail
The opportunity to send a mail to an @aegee.org address, and to receive such mails is far not enough to convince the members to use this service. At the same time, when members gives out as his/her contact an address, ending with @aegee.org, s/he will promote aegee. In order to attract more people to use the service of the @aegee.org aliases, and therefore promote indirectly aegee, we need:
- Make the service for receiving mails over the @aegee.org alias even more reliabe. No idea how, but this shall be achieved.
- Involve more servers that accepts sending mail From: @aegee.org address, upon authentication with aegee.org account. The service is described at mail.aegee.org/smtp; It needs to be extended by examples how to adjust real applications (Apple Mail, KMail, Eudora, Thunderbird 1, Thunderbird 1.5, Thunderbird 2, Microsoft Outlook Express, Microsoft Outlook, Evolution, Pegasus Mail, Mozilla Seamonkey 1.1, Mozilla Suite 1.7) and then promotd over aegee-l, itwg-l and by some articles.
- Offer Sieve interpreter. Sieve is a very cool invention for managing, sorting, redirecting mails. At the moment there is no mail provider, that only redirects mails and offers Sieve. Implementing a sieve interpreter, e.g. based on libsieve, will make Aegee the first only-forwarding mail provider worldwide with such a service and will let us be the leaders. The furhter, it is convenient for the users;
- Make libsieve reentrant/thread safe, in order to achive the previous point;
- Install DSpam or CRM114. In @aegee.org we use SpamAssassin to filter mails for spam. It works, however is quite primitive statistical filter. Dspam or the CRM Discriminator are far better what concerns Bayesian proceeding and can ensure accuracy of the spam filtering better than 99%;
- Provide interface for adjusting the personal spam-filter settings, enabling the turning on/off of specific spam filters per user, and turn them off for all users by default. Aegeeserv has problems to evaluate in real time all the mails for spam during spam attacks, and in rare cases causes delays. Increasing the efficiency of the spam evaluation by involving more spam-filters will decrease the free resources of the server. It wouldn't be wrong to say that aegeeserv cannot check all mails for spamminess with more filters, without increasing the latency. On the other side the spam filters are something very individual, and for best results need to be personalized. By not-filtering by defaul all the mails, those users who willingly want to use the spam-evaluation on aegeeserv, and turn on their spam-filters will get better service, compared to the current situation. At the moment all mails are scanned "somehow", in the future some mails will be scanned "good";
- Display graphically the summary of the mail logs. How many mails circulate over @aegee.org domain, how much of them are very probable spam, what traffic do the mails consume? All this information since November 2006 is stored in the mail logs. The idea is to sum up this information and show it to everyone in a nice graphical way. A sample applications for achieving this is mailgraph;
- At mail.aegee.org/smtp is explained how to send mails From: firstname.lastname@example.org alias. The site needs to be completed with examples for the settings for some mail applications and then promoted within the network.
Enhancements for the mailing lists
- Sympa. Evaluate how suitable for aegee other mailing list software is, e.g. Sympa.
- WebServices for mailing lists. WebServices are convenient way to integrate the administration (subscription, deletion of members) of mailing lists in external sites. In addition to the services offered now by the web interface (administration, unsubscription, removal), we need three more - for creating, renaming and deleting mailing lists. Sympa offers already webservices, so if we extend listserv to offer WebServices, it shall use the same WSDL-Schema as sympa, where possible. To be implemented on Mono/.Net, Java or something else.
- lists&aegee. Make the webinterface for mailing lists more aegee typical. In the past, lists.aegee.org was customized to use aegee template and looked more aegee-like. With the last sofrware upgrade the templates that added the aegee-pictures did not worked anymore with the newer version and were disabled. It is desired that the listserv webinterface is adopted to look more like related to aegee.
- sieve-scripts for mailing lists. Generate sieve-scripts for each mailing list, that refure mails during the smtp dialog, if they will not be distributed over the list (cause of wrong sender, or spam). At the moment the mails that cannot be sent over the list are bounced. Sometimes spammers use honeypots/spamtraps as sender. This are emails subscribed to the spammers' mailing. Spammers like to send emails appering to come from persons that are on their spam-lists. When such a mail comes to aegeeserv and is bouced, it enters a spamtrap. Then the system learns the mail as spam and could put aegeeserv in a blacklist for spam servers. As result the mails that circulate over our server have increased spam probability;
- preserve adding @aegee.org aliases in the mailing lists. Promoting an @aegee.org address is useful in the aegee external world. Sending mails within the @aegee.org mailing list, using an @aegee.org address as sender, you do not convince people that you belong to aegee. At the same time unsubscribing aegee.org addresses from mailing lists is a bit problematic when people cannot send mails from that address, and they request support. Implementing a listserv exit to disable the ability to subscribe to an aegee.org mailing list with a @aegee.org address will reduce the need for support, without having negative input on the network;
- Compose a mail "Listserv for new listowners" and send it yearly over listowners-l;
- Compose a mail "using the mail command interface of listserv" and send it bi-yearly over listowners-l;
- Mail meeting Bringing the Aegee electronic communication system to the top is not an easy task, it requires involvment of many people, coordination, planning. Having regular meetings to design and coordinate the future developement of the electronic communication can enlighten the process and will have positive impact on the whole association in long term;
- Logo To make all the things more aegee-like, there is a need for logo: the standard one, but instead of letters below the EGEE, are a post pigeon, a post horn, an at-sign and an envelope. Those are put in any order and in one colour;
- Release post-listserv-milter.
- Write a list exit, that prohibits the subscription of addresses in the @katamail.com domain, since they do not produce proper error messages.
- Make functional logrotate on the server, incl. lsv-logger.
Written in Mai 2007 by Дилян Палаузов, released in June.