[arch-mirrors] [Announcement] Restructuring the arch-mirrors list

Florian Pritz bluewind at xinu.at
Wed Feb 3 19:39:32 UTC 2016

On 03.02.2016 17:47, Carsten Otto wrote:
> I like your proposal of splitting up the list. Having one list - no
> matter the name - where only AL admins post seems to be a good idea for
> certain announcements. Most projects have this, and I'm perfectly fine
> with that.
> Having another list for mirror admins to reach the AL admins - maybe
> with some interested parties also reading those messages - also is
> necessary in most cases.
> However, I don't really like mixing up the discussion and the
> mirror-admin-to-AL-admin cases. In the first case some kind of
> subscription is quite OK, but in the second case I as a mirror admin
> don't see the advantage of subscribing and changing settings.

I see I should have explained this more clearly. With whitelisting I
mean that the list would be moderated and mails to the list can either
be delivered because they are accepted by the mailing list admin or
because the sender subscribed first.

However, this is somewhat moot given I now want to implement the 3 list
scheme proposed by Luchesar:

 - arch-mirrors would be a general discussion list
 - arch-mirrors-admins would be for mail from Arch Linux staff to
   mirror admins
 - arch-mirrors-announce would be for mail from you guys to our users
   (like downtime announcements)

The last 2 would be moderated and only selected senders would be allowed
to post. None of these lists really cover the mirror-admin-to-AL-admin
case though. (more on that below)

I'd also consider making the discussion list entirely open for posting
from anyone, but this would not be in line with all our other lists so
it would require some more discussion across all lists first. I dislike
the idea of having different policies between lists so if I did this it
should be for all lists.

As for the mirror-admin-to-AL-admin case I think it's probably best if I
publish the direct admin email I gave you. I'm unsure as to why you
think this is mixed with the discussion list. The discussion list is
really just intended for discussion where the sender wants outside
opinions, not for mail that is only meant for Arch Linux staff. I'm not
sure if anyone else is really interested in such discussion though or if
all traffic should be directly with the mirro. Feedback welcome!

We used to handle direct requests via our bug tracker, but I can see how
that is inconvenient for mirror admins and I certainly see that email is
better suited here. I will send an announcement with the direct email
(mirrors at archlinux.org) once I split the lists.

> Furthermore, there seem to be issues if such mails are sent out to more
> projects as AL (awaiting moderation because list is only mentioned in
> BCC?).

Either because of BCC or because the mail has too many recipients.
Mailman dislike both of these.

> Could you explain where you see the advantage of having mirror admins
> use a mailing list interface, with subscriptions, configuration changes,
> and possible moderation/filtering/acknowledgement issues (compared to a
> plain mail address that is forwarded to AL admins)?

If mirror admins send their mail to a list we don't have to intervene
and thus users get their information quicker and we don't need
additional manpower. I'm currently taking care of mirrors on my own and
the work load is really minimal. This might change if I start
forwardings mails.

Also pacman (the most important software that uses our mirror URLs)
supports multiple URLs in it's mirror list. It will automatically try
the next mirror if it is unable to connect to one or if a file is
missing. Assuming users list multiple mirrors, the impact of downtime is
thus rather small.

That being said I am not entirely happy with the current setup where
users get a list of all direct mirror URLs and we can not control which
ones they use. I believe it makes it really difficult for new mirrors to
start being used and it is also practically impossible to properly
balance traffic according to mirror bandwidth. I haven't thought about
how this could be done better though because I don't really have the
time to work on this issue at the moment.

Considering the points above, I'm not even sure if we need downtime
notifications for users. When I took over as the Arch Linux mirror
admin, I just noticed that some mirror admins send downtime notification
to this list (most don't) and I didn't think about it. Any feedback by
users that read such notification is welcome.

Does this mail address your concerns? I'm unsure if I have understood
everything correctly.

Thanks for the feedback!


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