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Re: Distribution delays on mailing lists for GNU LilyPond

From: Jean Abou Samra
Subject: Re: Distribution delays on mailing lists for GNU LilyPond
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2022 08:18:30 +0200
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Thanks for your reply.

Le 17/06/2022 à 04:54, Ian Kelling a écrit :
Jean Abou Samra <> writes:

Hello, dear administrators of GNU list servers,

Sorry for the possible double post, I was not sure which address to
send this to. This is to let you know that mailing lists related
to the GNU LilyPond project have recently been experiencing abnormal
distribution delays. Even though this has been a problem in the
past, it seems to be exacerbated somewhat. On lilypond-user and
lilypond-user-fr at least, it is not infrequent for me to receive
message two or three hours later. Some have reported routinely
receiving emails one or two days after the fact, cf.
This is a nail in the project's feet, as people are doing duplicated
work to answer support questions, and are less encouraged to
step in discussions that are exhausted hours before they get
into their inboxes.

Is this expected? Could something be done about it?

Thank you for your assistance.

Best regards,
Jean Abou Samra (developer on GNU LilyPond)
Hi, I work at FSF and am the main person there who works on the mailing

There are some common causes of delays.

#1, most common: When someone posts to the list from an address that has
never posted before, the message gets held until a moderator approves it
to ensure it isn't spam. Once approved, their future posts are not held
for moderation. The moderators are usually just the listhelper team,
which is about 2 people who do this a few times a day. That is described
here: That can be done much more often if
there are people who do moderation. All that needs to happen is that the
list administrator/owner gives out the moderation password to people,
and optionally add their address to the list moderator field so they get
notified when a message is held for moderation. lilypond-devel has their
list owner/admin listed as So, I would ask them about that.

For us, it is also happening with posts from active people who
are definitely subscribed to the lists. (I'm also one of the
admins on lilypond-user-fr, so I see what posts are moderated
there, and delays are happening for posts that didn't need

#2, sometimes mailman gets hung up and delays sending out messages. We
don't really know why, but we know that in order to debug the issue, we
need to first move to mailman 3. Mailman 2 is no longer supported
upstream. There is a good chance the issue will just go away when we
move. Mailman 3 also has some nice features like allowing people to post
directly from a web archive interface (the current archive interface
will continue to exist in mailman 3, there will be 2 or more archive
interfaces). We want to have a few lists try out mailman 3 to detect any
issues before we move all the lists. Initially, the listhelpers won't be
able to help remove spam, they will need a few months to port over their
automation to mailman 3. There could be other bumps, but we will work
hard to address them and if needed, move lists back to mailman 2 while
we do. Does lilypond want one or more of their lists to be one of the
initial group to move to mailman 3?

Yes, I'd be in favor of doing that. Others, what do you

Regarding listhelper, I didn't know about it. I'm not sure
if it's enabled on lilypond-user or lilypond-devel, but judging
it is not enabled on lilypond-user-fr (there's no non-human address
in the list of moderators that I see in the administrative

Does this need approval from the list admins? We'd then
have to contact the person behind (I don't
even know who they are). They are apparently the admin
for lilypond-user and lilypond-devel. For lilypond-user-fr,
I am an admin, so I can give my approval. (Valentin,
in CC, is the other admin.)

I'm actually pretty eager to have a web interface allowing
to post, even if it justs opens a mailto link as far as
I can judge from
Back in the days, lilypond-user-fr had a Nabble interface.
When Nabble was discontinued, many people said they
preferred that and some weren't even understanding
how to use the list by email.

HyperKitty archives are also much more usable than the
current ones because they don't split threads by month.
It has happened to me to miss that a thread had continued
because it crossed month boundaries.

#3, least common: sometimes there is an issue with a specific mail
server which causes delays. This can often be fixed. I'm happy to check
if that is the case, just email the details of the message to If it hasn't been posted, wait at least 3 hours from
when you sent it. Please include the message-id header, from, to,
subject, and as close to possible the exact time it was sent including
a timezone.

I don't know how to know if this the cause rather than #2.
The thread linked in my original message has an example
thread where delays were experienced by Lukas, would you
like me to forward the source code of those messages to


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