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Bounce Processing
Unlike many other mail list managers, Mailman includes built-in bounce handlers to help the list manager deal with addresses that have delivery problems.  If you run large lists with dynamic membership then these settings may save you a lot of time in helping to weed out addresses that go bad.

The settings on this page control the automatic bounce processing system in Mailman. If you set Mailman to perform automatic bounce processing, here is an overview of that process:

When a bounce is received, Mailman will try to extract two pieces of information from the bounce:

1. The address of the list member which has generated the bounce.
2. The severity of the problem which caused the bounce.

The severity will be labeled either "hard" or "soft".
If the bounce was caused by a fatal error (such as "user unknown"), the severity will be labeled "hard".
If the bounce was caused by a temporary error (such as "mailbox full"), the severity will be labeled "soft".
If Mailman is in doubt about the cause of the bounce, the severity will be labeled "hard".

If the address of the list member whose address has bounced cannot be found, Mailman will either discard the bounce or send it to the list owner (depending upon the settings you select on this page).

Otherwise, each member is assigned a "bounce score". Each time a bounce is caused by a particular member's e-mail address, the bounce score for that member is increased. Hard bounces increase the member's bounce score by 1. Soft bounces increase the member's bounce score by 0.5. Increases to a particular member's bounce score happen only once per day. This means that even if a member's e-mail address causes ten "hard" bounces in one day, that member's bounce score will only increase by 1.

If a member's bounce score exceeds the "bounce score threshold" (set by you, below), the member's subscription is disabled - or the member is unsubscribed - depending on your settings below. If the subscription is disabled, the member will not receive any posting from the list until the subscription is manually re-enabled (either by the list administrator or the member). The member will, however, receive occasional reminders that the subscription has been disabled. These reminder messages will include information about how to re-enable the subscription. You control both the number of reminders sent to the member as well as the frequency with which the reminders are sent.

You also set (below) the total number of reminder messages that will be sent before Mailman permanently unsubscribes the address from the mailing list. If you set this value to 0, Mailman will skip the entire "disable and send reminders" period and unsubscribe the e-mail address immediately.

An important setting below is the "number of days to store a member's bounce score". If a member's e-mail address generates no bounces during this "number of days", the bounce score for this member is re-set to zero. By adjusting this value along with the bounce score threshold, you can control how quickly bouncing members are disabled and or unsubscribed.


 

Value

Description

Should Mailman perform automatic bounce processing? Set this to Yes if you'd like Mailman to perform automatic bounce handling.

The recommended setting for this option is: Yes

The maximum member bounce score before the member's subscription is disabled. This value can be a floating point number. This is the "bounce score threshold" as described above.

The recommended setting for this option is: 2

The number of days after which a member's bounce information is discarded, if no new bounces have been received in the interim. This value must be an integer. If a member's e-mail address generates no bounces during this period of time (number of days), the member's bounce score is re-set to zero.

The recommended setting for this option is: 30

How many Your Membership Is Disabled warnings a disabled member should get before their address is removed from the mailing list. Set to 0 to immediately remove an address from the list once their bounce score exceeds the threshold. This value must be an integer. If the member's subscription is disabled, how many reminder messages should Mailman send to the member?

Set this option to 0 if you would like Mailman to unsubscribe bouncing addresses immediately.

The recommended setting for this option is: 0 or 2

The number of days between sending the Your Membership Is Disabled warnings. This value must be an integer. How often should the reminder messages be sent?

The recommended setting for this option is: 7

Should Mailman send you, the list owner, any bounce messages that failed to be detected by the bounce processor? If Mailman cannot determine the e-mail address that is bouncing, should a copy of the bounce be sent to the list owner?

The recommended setting for this option is: Yes

IMPORTANT: Mailman will do his absolute best to handle all of your list's bounces automatically. However, there will be some bounces that require human intervention. The list owner is required to provide that human assistance. Mailing lists which generate bounces that are not acted upon violate EsoSoft's Acceptable Use Policy. Inaction on the part of the list owner could result in the deactivation of the mailing list.

Should Mailman notify you, the list owner, when bounces cause a member's subscription to be disabled? Select Yes if you would like to be notified when a member's subscription is disabled.

There is no recommended setting for this option. Either choice is fine.

Should Mailman notify you, the list owner, when bounces cause a member to be unsubscribed? Select Yes if you would like to be notified when a member is unsubscribed by Mailman because of bounces.

There is no recommended setting for this option. Either choice is fine.

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