mailing list management

Nick Johnson arachnid at
Thu Aug 16 01:07:53 CEST 2007

On 8/16/07, Giles Jones <giles.jones at> wrote:
> On 15 Aug 2007, at 23:30, Nick Johnson wrote:
> > Wasn't it established that the problem was with the list server taking
> > ages to send an OK response to messages, and the gmail (and some
> > other) servers simply giving up? Seems like more of an issue with the
> > list than with the client.
> That maybe so, but it's dumb for it to keep sending it. It should
> give up after 1 or more attempts and mail the sender to say it failed
> to deliver.

Not so. Transient failures of mail servers are common; if giving up
after 1 or 2 attempts was common, a lot more mail would be returned
'undeliverable'. RFC 2821 says in section (Sending Strategy):

   The sender MUST delay retrying a particular destination after one
   attempt has failed.  In general, the retry interval SHOULD be at
   least 30 minutes; however, more sophisticated and variable strategies
   will be beneficial when the SMTP client can determine the reason for

   Retries continue until the message is transmitted or the sender gives
   up; the give-up time generally needs to be at least 4-5 days.  The
   parameters to the retry algorithm MUST be configurable.

The list server is clearly the issue here, failing to accept messages
in a timely fashion.

-Nick Johnson

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