Spurious Mailman Unsubscribes

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Wait ... I didn't ask to be taken off this mailing list

The symptom

Every once in a while, someone will get an unexpected unsubscribe notice, like this one:

Subject: Your confirmation is required to leave the Community_forum mailing list

Mailing list removal confirmation notice for mailing list
Community_forum

We have received a request for the removal of your email address,
"jdoe@occupyboston.org" from the community_forum@lists.occupyboston.org
mailing list.  To confirm that you want to be removed from this
mailing list, simply reply to this message, keeping the Subject:
header intact.  Or visit this web page:

    https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/confirm/community_forum/long-alphanumeric-string

Or include the following line -- and only the following line -- in a
message to community_forum-request@lists.occupyboston.org:

    confirm (long-alphanumeric-string)

Note that simply sending a `reply' to this message should work from
most mail readers, since that usually leaves the Subject: line in the
right form (additional "Re:" text in the Subject: is okay).

If you do not wish to be removed from this list, please simply
disregard this message.  If you think you are being maliciously
removed from the list, or have any other questions, send them to
community_forum-owner-AT-lists.occupyboston.org.

This document explains why you might get such a message, even if you didn't try to unsubscribe.

The cause

This explanation uses the community forum, but the same explanation applies to many other @lists.occupyboston.org mailing lists.


Whenever you get a message from community_forum, that message contains an unsubscribe link that is specific to you.

If you reply to a community_forum message, and include the footer in your reply, then everyone on the community_forum list also has a copy of your unsubscribe link.

Here's what could happen in this scenario.

  • jdoe gets a message from the community forum
  • jdoe decides that they want to get off the community forum
  • jdoe clicks the unsubscribe link in one of their community forum messages. Except, they click a link that was originally intended for you (and had gotten replied to and/or forwarded around).

This is one of the reasons why our list manager requires unsubscribe confirmation -- to prevent folks from accidentally unsubscribing each other. If you don't act on the confirmation, then you stay subscribed.

And so you have the simple solution: ignore the unsubscribe confirmation, and you won't be taken off the list.

For List Owners

List owners have the option of removing user-specific unsubscribe links from message footers. Here's how to do this:

- Start at the info page from your mailing list: https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/listinfo/LIST_NAME - At the bottom of the list information page, you'll see a link with the words "administrative interface". Click this link and provide the list admin password. - click "non-digest-options" - Locate the field named "msg_footer"

A default footer looks like this:

_
%(real_name)s mailing list

Post: %(real_name)s@%(host_name)s
List info: %(web_page_url)slistinfo%(cgiext)s/%(_internal_name)s

To Unsubscribe

    Send email to: %(real_name)s-unsubscribe@%(host_name)s
    Or visit: %(user_optionsurl)s

You are subscribed as: %(user_address)s

Remove the line Or visit: %(user_optionsurl)s, then submit the form. Future messages will not have user-specific unsubscribe links.