How I'm currently handling the mailing lists I read
I recently mentioned that I was going to keep filtering aside email from the few mailing lists that I'm subscribed to, instead of returning it to being routed straight into my inbox. While I've kept to my decision, I've had to spend some time fiddling around with just how I was implementing it in order to get a system that works for me in practice.
What I did during my vacation (call it the vacation approach) was to use procmail recipes to put each mailing list into a file. I'm already using procmail, and in fact I was already recognizing mailing lists (to insure they didn't get trapped by anti-spam stuff), so this was a simple change:
:0: * ^From somelist-owner@... lists/somelist #V#$DEFAULT
This worked great during my vacation, when I basically didn't want
to pay attention to mailing lists at all, but once I came back to
work I found that filing things away this way made them too annoying
to deal with in my mail environment. Because MH
doesn't deal directly with mbox format files, I needed to go through
a whole dance with
inc and then rescanning my inbox and various
other things. It was clear that this wasn't the right way to go.
If I wanted it to be convenient to read this email (and I did),
incoming mailing list messages had to wind up in MH folders.
Fortunately, procmail can do this if you specify '
as the destination (the '
/.' is the magic). So:
:0: * ^From somelist-owner@... /u/cks/Mail/inbox/somelist/.
(This is not quite a complete implementation, because it doesn't
do things like update MH's
unseen sequence for the folder. If you
want these things, you need to pipe messages to
In my case, I actually prefer not having an
unseen sequence be
maintained for these folders for various reasons.)
The procmail stuff worked, but I rapidly found that I wanted some
way to know which of these mailing list folders actually had pending
messages in them. So I wrote a little command which I'm calling
mlists'. It goes through my
.procmailrc to find all of the MH
destinations, then uses
ls to count how many message files there
are and reports the whole thing as:
:; mlists +inbox/somelist: 3 :;
If there's enough accumulated messages to make looking at the folder worthwhile, I can then apply standard MH tools to do so (either from home with standard command line MH commands, or with exmh at work).
It's early days with this setup, but so far I feel satisfied. The
filtering and filing stuff works and the information
provides is enough to be useful but sufficiently minimal to push
me away from actually looking at the mailing lists for much of the
time, which is basically the result that I want.
PS: there's probably a way to assemble standard MH commands to
give you a count of how many messages are in a folder. I used
because I couldn't be bothered to read through MH manpages to work
out the MH way of doing it, and MH's simple storage format makes
this kind of thing easy.