Proposal: Mailing List owner policy

Valorie Zimmerman valorie.zimmerman at
Thu Jul 23 05:55:11 BST 2020

On Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 3:31 PM Albert Astals Cid <aacid at> wrote:

> Dear Community,
> One important part of mailing lists being healthy is owners/moderators[1].
> They moderate the lists, they help users that want to
> subscribe/unsubscribe but don't know how to, they enact emergency
> moderation in the very very seldom case that it is needed, etc.
> So to keep our mailing lists healthy we need to be sure to have healthy
> list owners.
> In plural, more than one, because from time to time, we go on vacation and
> the list duties still need taking care of.
> For that I'd like to enact this policy:
>     Mailing lists should have at least 2 active owners, ideally 3
> [Obviously exceptions apply, like if we just started a mailing list to
> coordinate translators for a language that has no translation in KDE yet,
> we'd probably have no way to get 2 list owners]
> One keyword in that sentence is "active".
> Mailing list ownership/moderation un-activity is hard to detect.
> One way to potentially detect it, is by those summaries that sysadmin
> sends periodically for lists with lots of mails to moderate, but that
> doesn't cover all the cases.
> For example, it's possible that a mailing list has 2 owners and only one
> of them is inactive, since the other one is keeping the list in working
> condition we don't see it as a problem, but if that person goes on holiday,
> then it suddenly is.
> For that I'd like to enact this policy sub-point:
>     Mailing list owners will be contacted every year asking if they are
> still active and if they want to continue being list owner or if they'd
> prefer we find a substitute.
> If they say "please find a substitute" or fail to answer in a given time
> frame (I'd say a month is fair), they will be removed as owners and in case
> the "at least 2 active owners, ideally 3" policy is broken we'll find a new
> person.
> Does that sound something like we could agree on?

I think this is a good idea.

Then the big question is "who will do this work?" Because it seems quite a
> bit of work (albeit only once a year). I would suggest the Community
> Working Group does this, as it's a way to keep our community healthy, but i
> understand it's quite some work, so i volunteer to do it if the CWG doesn't
> feel this is a task they want to take on.

As a member of CWG, I think that this is a suitable task for us, and I'm
willing to do it. However, surely there is a master list of all the lists
and who the stated owners and mods are. If so, can't the sending be done
somewhat automatically? With the answers going to the CWG or whoever, to
find replacement people.

Things I'm missing?

Healthy lists are somewhat active. While a major protective duty of owners
and mods is to keep spam out and keep conversations moving in a positive
way, another is to keep the list active by bringing to it appropriate
topics of discussion. I don't want that forgotten. Too often issues are
discussed in IRC and never brought to the list where they ought to be.

Improvement suggestions?
> Cheers,
>   Albert
> [1] yes, i know they are not the same, but since one is a subset of the
> other, let's pretend they are.

I would like to hear from Sysadmin how many lists we have and how many
owners and if there is a way to automatically send an email to all owners
along with the names of the lists they administer.


-- - pronouns: she/her
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