HELP Key ???

Richmond richmondmathewson at
Thu Oct 28 15:46:20 EDT 2010

Gottit, al last: 'administrivia' has to be
pronounced as 'administrivia' rather than
'adminis - trivia'; which made things sound
like a sort of mindless babbling game indulged
in by bored administrators . . .  :)

On 10/28/2010 10:23 PM, J. Landman Gay wrote:
> On 10/28/10 1:46 PM, Bob Sneidar wrote:
>> I see that the Administrivia contains as one payload it's own spam
>> mailer. It uses a long list of subject lines, and I think one of them
>> is "HELP". If this is the subject line you used, or if the subject
>> line contained that word, you may have triggered a false positive in
>> the list's AV filter.
> That may not be what is going on. On many text-based lists like this 
> one, the word "HELP" is the standard keyword one sends to the 
> adminstrative address in order to receive an auto-mailing of the 
> commands available when using the list. It's a remnant of an older, 
> text-based system, and two of the parrot lists I read still use it. It 
> is very common for users to accidentally send the HELP command to the 
> main list address instead of to the administrative (server) address. 
> When that happens, all sorts of things like password requests, user 
> account updates, search request terms, temporary stop requests, and 
> other non-topic emails show up in the main list, to the annoyance of 
> all the readers.
> There is a fairly standard filter that looks for possible 
> administrative requests, one of which is HELP, to see if the email was 
> sent to the wrong address. If it finds any of the command words in 
> certain locations, it forwards the email to moderation so that a real 
> person can determine whether the email was intended as a 
> server/account command or as a valid list post.
> I know this is the case with the bird lists I read. I'm not sure about 
> Mailman (which is what this list uses) but it makes sense.

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