UI Hall of Shame: Mailman Moderation UI

The moderation UI provided by Mailman 2.1.14, the version Mozilla uses (note: I don’t know if this is the latest version, and I don’t know if this UI is still present) looks like this. The controls for an individual message are as in this screenshot:

Mailman UI - complex controls

What is should look like is something like this:

Subject Sender Spam Score Reject and Blacklist Accept and Whitelist Reject Accept Defer
***SPAM*** Regarding Your Online Account account.review@royalbank.com 4.4
Depto. Comercial comercialsouzasul@oi.com.br 4.2


I would love it if someone were to write a Greasemonkey script or similar which did this rearrangement. It would improve my life measurably. Any takers?

9 thoughts on “UI Hall of Shame: Mailman Moderation UI

  1. That’s still a loss of granularity though – you lose several possible use cases:
    – deferring action for another moderator to give a second opinion.
    – forwarding the message elsewhere.
    – leaving the user subscribed, but silently discarding all their future posts
    – leaving the user subscribed, but moderating all their future posts.

  2. Stephanie, this isn’t an excuse for the horrible UI. Usually one would take the less common options and hide them behind a “More actions” button or something like this. You might have gotten away with a web app UI like this in the late 90s but not in 2010 (which is when this version was released).

  3. Stephanie: all of those are really edge cases. The aim here is not to reproduce every possible UI option, it’s to make the simple things simple and quick.

    Still, I think we could solve your 4 points without changing this UI. Your choice 1: “defer” is there for that. Your choice 2: why would you ever want to? And if you did, this control could be on the Full Message view, available by clicking the message title. Your choices 3 and 4: these changes should be done using the subscription management controls, elsewhere.

  4. Did you try reporting this to the mailman people? It’s entirely possible that they would welcome suggestions on how to improve the interface, though perhaps less so if cloaked in “hall of shame” nonsense.

  5. Shaver: Hall of Shame is a trope, just indicating an ongoing series; it implies no animosity towards the authors of the software (just the UI).

    Mailman has had several attempts to improve its UI over the years, but none seem to have stuck. The devs current response to UI improvement suggestions is that it’ll be better in Mailman 3.

    Maybe I buried the lede, but the point here was to ask if anyone was willing to do a GreaseMonkey script to fix our installation, as getting a patch deployed past all of the IT hurdles seems like hard work, and getting one upstream isn’t looking likely either.

  6. Our Mailman install is already heavily patched as it is, and we do it by applying patches to the Red Hat RPM for it. In fact, we’re currently running a home-built RPM of a newer version than what ships with RHEL anyway. If it requires patching mailman to implement, I’d be happy to patch it, if someone provides the patch. We probably will have to toss it past our security team to get an okay before it can go live, but I’d be happy to push that through.

  7. Oh, and for what it’s worth, the screenshot you gave above is the consolidated overview of multiple messages (grouped by author), not the individual message view. If there are multiple posts with the same From line in the queue, they’ll all be listed in the right-hand side of that box. For the individual message view, click the [1] next to the subject line on the right.