[Openstack-operators] [all] We're combining the lists! (was: Bringing the community together...)

Jeremy Stanley fungi at yuggoth.org
Thu Sep 20 16:32:49 UTC 2018

tl;dr: The openstack, openstack-dev, openstack-sigs and
openstack-operators mailing lists (to which this is being sent) will
be replaced by a new openstack-discuss at lists.openstack.org mailing
list. The new list is open for subscriptions[0] now, but is not yet
accepting posts until Monday November 19 and it's strongly
recommended to subscribe before that date so as not to miss any
messages posted there. The old lists will be configured to no longer
accept posts starting on Monday December 3, but in the interim posts
to the old lists will also get copied to the new list so it's safe
to unsubscribe from them any time after the 19th and not miss any
messages. Now on to the details...

The original proposal[1] I cross-posted to these lists in August
received overwhelmingly positive feedback (indeed only one strong
objection[2] was posted, thanks Thomas for speaking up, and my
apologies in advance if this makes things less convenient for you),
which is unusual since our community usually tends to operate on
silent assent and tacit agreement. Seeing what we can only interpret
as majority consensus for the plan among the people reading messages
posted to these lists, a group of interested individuals met last
week in the Infrastructure team room at the PTG to work out the
finer details[3]. We devised a phased timeline:

During the first phase (which begins with this announcement) the new
openstack-discuss mailing list will accept subscriptions but not
posts. Its short and full descriptions indicate this, as does the
welcome message sent to all new subscribers during this phase. The
list is configured for "emergency moderation" mode so that all
posts, even those from subscribers, immediately land in the
moderation queue and can be rejected with an appropriate message. We
strongly recommend everyone who is on any of the current general
openstack, openstack-dev, openstack-operators and openstack-sigs
lists subscribe to openstack-discuss during this phase in order to
avoid missing any messages to the new list. Phase one lasts roughly
one month and ends on Monday November 19, just after the OpenStack
Stein Summit in Berlin.

The second phase picks up at the end of the first. During this
phase, emergency moderation is no longer in effect and subscribers
can post to the list normally (non-subscribers are subject to
moderation of course in order to limit spam). Any owners/moderators
from the original lists who wish it will be added to the new one to
collaborate on moderation tasks. At this time the openstack-discuss
list address itself will be subscribed to posts from the openstack,
openstack-dev, openstack-operators and openstack-sigs mailing lists
so anyone who wishes to unsubscribe from those can do so at any time
during this phase without missing any replies sent there. The list
descriptions and welcome message will also be updated to their
production prose. Phase two runs for two weeks ending on Monday
December 3.

The third and final phase begins at the end of the second, when
further posts to the general openstack, openstack-dev,
openstack-operators and openstack-sigs lists will be refused and the
descriptions for those lists updated to indicate they're
indefinitely retired from use. The old archives will still be
preserved of course, but no new content will appear in them.

A note about DMARC/DKIM: during the planning discussion we also
spoke briefly about the problems we encounter on the current lists
whereby subscriber MTAs which check DKIM signatures appearing in
some posts reject them and cause those subscribers to get
unsubscribed after too many of these bounces. While reviewing the
various possible mitigation options available to us, we eventually
resolved that the least objectionable solution was to cease
modifying the list subject and body. As such, for the new
openstack-discuss list you won't see [openstack-discuss] prepended
to message subjects, and there will be no list footer block added to
the message body. Rest assured the usual RFC 2369 List-* headers[4]
will still be added so MUAs can continue to take filtering actions
based on them as on our other lists.

I'm also including a couple of FAQs which have come up over the
course of this...

Why make a new list instead of just directing people to join an
existing one such as the openstack general ML? For one, the above
list behavior change to address DMARC/DKIM issues is a good reason
to want a new list; making those changes to any of the existing
lists is already likely to be disruptive anyway as subscribers may
be relying on the subject mangling for purposes of filtering list
traffic. Also as noted earlier in the thread for the original
proposal, we have many suspected defunct subscribers who are not
bouncing (either due to abandoned mailboxes or MTAs black-holing
them) so this is a good opportunity to clean up the subscriber list
and reduce the overall amount of E-mail unnecessarily sent by the

Why not simply auto-subscribe everyone from the four older lists to
the new one and call it a day? Well, I personally would find it rude
if a list admin mass-subscribed me to a mailing list I hadn't
directly requested. Doing so may even be illegal in some
jurisdictions (we could probably make a case that it's warranted,
but it's cleaner to not need to justify such an action). Much like
the answer to the previous question, the changes in behavior (and
also in the list name itself) are likely to cause lots of
subscribers to need to update their message filtering rules anyway.
I know by default it would all start landing in my main inbox, and
annoy me mightily.

What subject tags are we going to be using to identify messages of
interest and to be able to skip those we don't care about? We're
going to continuously deploy a list of recommended subject tags in a
visible space, either on the listserv's WebUI or the Infra Manual
and link to it liberally. There is already an initial set of
suggestions[5] being brainstormed, so feel free to add any there you
feel might be missing. It's not yet been decided whether we'll also
include these in the Mailman "Topics" configuration to enable
server-side filtering on them (as there's a good chance we'll be
unable to continue supporting that after an upgrade to Mailman 3),
so for now it's best to assume you may need to add them to your
client-side filters if you rely on that capability.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to respond to
this announcement so we can make sure they're answered.

[0] http://lists.openstack.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/openstack-discuss
[1] http://lists.openstack.org/pipermail/openstack-sigs/2018-August/000493.html
[2] http://lists.openstack.org/pipermail/openstack-dev/2018-August/134074.html
[3] https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/infra-ptg-denver-2018
[4] https://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2369.txt
[5] https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/common-openstack-ml-topics
Jeremy Stanley
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