[MlMt] Utterly baffled by Mailing Lists

Paul Atlan paulatlan at fastmail.fm
Mon Mar 29 09:21:26 EDT 2021

Thanks for the detailed answer. I guess it makes sense, given the 
plurality of tools,  and I just need to keep on refining my list of 

Although I may try to see if i can't file them into a newsreader such as 
NetNewsWire. It may be able to do the filing for me at minimal effort 

On 28 Mar 2021, at 23:15, Bill Cole wrote:

> On 26 Mar 2021, at 5:28, Paul Atlan wrote:
>> I’m trying to sort my mailing lists into something halfway 
>> manageable and readable.
>> If I use the “out of the box” Mailing List mailbox, with the 
>> following settings:
>> Sort for unique values of List-id > description
>> And name mailboxes as:
>> ${list-id.description:${subject.blob:?${subject.blob:/capitalize}:${list-id.identifier.final-level}}}
>> I get a baffling array of names such as:
>>  * 420a598457b46e0aa26a7a673mc list
>>  * 15marches.substack.com
>>  * 245.44880.info.alternatives-economiques.fr
>>  * 245.44922.info.alternatives-economiques.fr
>> It seems some people use the list-id to name their lists, others an 
>> identifier, others yet a url ….
>> And basically, whatever item I choose to sort by, or rename by, I’m 
>> never going to get a proper list of names.
>> I’ve tried to rename some of the lists, which would work except … 
>> some list managers seem to change list-id’s every few mails, so I 
>> have mailing lists spread over many separate mailboxes …
> Yes, this is a problem. It's not so bad for discussion lists like this 
> one that use mature list managers designed for discussion lists and 
> generally following both standards and traditions. (e.g. GNU MailMan, 
> EzMLM, majordomo, etc.) but it is a mess for the the horde of bespoke 
> tools used by "email marketing" firms, a few score different WordPress 
> plugins, and random bits of desktop software. You cannot count on any 
> organizational strategy using solely generalized principles doing the 
> whole job for the whole universe of mail from sources that are called 
> "mailing lists."
> You need at least some special casing...
>> I’ve started building rules to identify and tag each and every 
>> newsletter, but this is brittle (the ux being what it is, it’s 
>> difficult to have rules with more than 4 or 5 conditions, so I’ve 
>> spread out the newsletters over multiple rules), any new newsletter 
>> needs to go through a process….
> That's the best one can do. Blame senders.
>> I can’t imagine, with the number of power users using MailMate, 
>> that there aren’t some interesting solutions around …
> "Interesting" is a complicated term...
> I use an embarrassing mix of server-side and MailMate tactics, 
> including:
> 0. I run my own mail server and have been doing so for decades. This 
> has allowed for a sort of genetic/organic development over years.
> 1. Unique email addresses for every sort of sign-up I do. The only 
> time I use a simple address for anything is for friends and family.
> 2. My spam filtering on the server is good enough that I don't get 
> spam delivered anywhere most weeks, so most of the stuff which would 
> look like "mailing list" traffic that would be hard to sort out is 
> just not arriving.
> 3. I am ashamed to say that I still use procmail to deliver mail from 
> various mailing lists their own IMAP mailboxes, based on a mix of 
> target address (see (1) above) and other attributes, including 
> List-ID. I also have a general catchall mailbox for all of my "tagged" 
> addresses that lack their own unique mailboxes.
> 4. In some cases, without any particular pattern other than the age of 
> my subscription, I have MM rules that watch that catchall of tagged 
> addresses for particular list traffic and move those messages to their 
> own IMAP mailboxes.
> If there is any pattern to all of that which is relevant to other MM 
> users, it is that I use the filing of mail into distinct IMAP 
> mailboxes rather than relying entirely on MM Smart Mailboxes. Maybe 
> I'm too much of a cynic, but I don't believe that email is or will 
> ever be as conformant to formal specs and/or informal norms as it 
> would need to be in order to rely on sweeping logical generalities to 
> sort how email is presented.
> -- 
> Bill Cole
> bill at scconsult.com or billcole at apache.org
> (AKA @grumpybozo and many *@billmail.scconsult.com addresses)
> Not Currently Available For Hire
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