(where) can I ask open ended questions?

I’d like to ask an open ended, technical, question that is non distribution specific. Is there a place to do it?

It is hard to say without more specifics but feel free to throw it in the pub.

We can always move it if we feel it belongs elsewhere.

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I send mails in an automated fashion to a list of people using mutt and I want to give them an option to opt out. The low tech way to do it would to a) amend the email message I send with “reply with subject line ‘opt out’” and then b) routinely check for emails matching this subject line, and finally, c) remove addresses that requested it from the mailing list. At minimum I could do b) and c) manually, but probably feasible to automate using email client (Thunderbird) + some script that parses incoming emails. The ideal improvement over a), of course, is an unsubscribe button. I guess this requires a web server, but I don’t have the skill, and I want to keep the all thing subscription free. So I’m looking for a compromise that improves on the low tech approach.

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You could ask over on stackoverflow, there might someone there who could help out. Just in case anyone here isn’t able to give you a hand.


I’m familiar with s/o; wasn’t under the impression open ended welcomed. Come to think of it, reddit→ https://www.reddit.com/r/selfhosted/comments/ebt5x0/free_and_open_source_mailing_list_software/

Eh, your question didn’t seem too open-ended. I think if you refined your question a bit it would be fine. Reddit works too, though :slight_smile:

I’m going to read about GNU mailman. No going around a web server. So perhaps a pertinent question would be: how involved is it to set up one?

You could set up a second mailbox specifically for unsubscription requests, then add a link in the email body like you mentioned but just make the link a simple mailto: that points to the unsubscribe mailbox.

You would still have to remove the addresses from the list manually, but you wouldn’t have to search through any emails to find the unsubscription requests. It would also be a little less clunky for the unsubscriber: although they still need to send the email, they wouldn’t have to edit the subject line or anything first. Just click the link and hit send.

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And this by replacing ‘free chocolate’ with ‘opt out’?

<a href="mailto:no-one@snai1mai1.com?subject=free chocolate">example</a>

Then there would be no need for a second mailbox. Also I’m thinking one should be able to automate removal from mailing with an email client, but still fuzzy.

I guess I was thinking with a separate mailbox it would be easy to just log in and go through all the emails in the mailbox and take the people off the list–no searching of any kind needed, since all mail in the inbox will be unsubscription requests. But you are right, it is not needed.

I am sure there is a way, and I’ll bet you can do it with Mutt. That is far beyond my skill set I am afraid, but the ArchWiki mentions the Arch IRC channels may be a good resource for Mutt questions: https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/mutt#Tips_and_tricks

If you have any Mutt specific questions, feel free to ask in the Arch IRC channels.

Email providers allow filters. In this case, based on ‘subject=opt-out’ would seem to work just as well as a separate mailbox. No? That’s assuming the distribution email contains an html element around “opt-out” that specifies both ‘mailto:sender’ and ‘subject:opt-out’. In ~/.thunderbird/*/imap.gmail.com there is one file per label (corresponding to a filter), each containing the downloaded emails. It’s easy to create a script that collects the senders’ addresses from that and modify the mailing list accordingly. The part that I miss is to get a trigger when a new opt-out comes in. That’s not even necessary. I just need to execute the script before the next mailing.

I tested it thru and thru on Thunderbird: fine. The next step is doing it with mutt. Thanks for the suggestion.

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