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locked How does groups.io deal with "bouncing members"?


ro-esp
 

In yahoogroups, failure to delive tha message makes members get listed as "bouncing".If the mods don't bother to check the "bouncing"-list regularly (and send reactivation-requests), the group can lose a lot of members without anyone noticing...

So what happens in groups.io ? Does the sender get notified of non-delivery? Do the moderators? Is there a notification for when someone gets listed as "bouncing"?


groetjes, Ronaldo
--
http://www.esperanto.net http://www.moneyasdebt.net


 

Excellent question, and one that needs to be addressed in the Help Center. Here is what I've written for the help center. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for how it can be improved (either the text or the actual bounce handling....)

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An email bounce occurs when a message cannot be delivered. It could be that the email address is incorrect. Or the user's mailbox is full. Or the user's email provider is having a temporary problem handling email.

There are two general types of email bounces: hard bounces and soft bounces. Hard bounces are permanent errors; no more email should be delivered to that email address. Soft bounces are temporary problems; email isn't being received right now, but the email address is valid and it's expected that whatever the problem is will go away.

Groups.io provides fully automated bounce handling. When we receive a bounce, we try to determine whether it's a hard or a soft bounce. For many scenarios, it's clear cut whether a bounce is a hard bounce or a soft bounce. But in some cases, we can't tell. In that case, we assume it's a soft bounce.

When we receive a hard bounce for someone, we immediately change their status to Bouncing, and we stop sending email to them. If we receive soft bounces for someone for 8 days, we also change their status to Bouncing and stop sending email to them.

Once a user is Bouncing, every 3 days we attempt to send an email to them, explaining that we are not sending group messages to them. The email has a link they can click to unbounce their account.

If we receive no response after sending 4 of these bounce reports to them, we automatically unsubscribe them from all groups they are subscribed to.

Members that have the Bouncing status are displayed in the Members view with a 'B' next to their subscription..

You can view the email delivery history for any of your group members, by clicking on a member in the Members view, then clicking the 'Email Delivery History' link at the top of the page. For groups that you do not moderate, you can view your own email delivery history by clicking on the Subscription link for the group. There will be a 'Email Delivery History' link at the top of the page.
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Mark

On Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 12:05 PM, ro-esp <ro-esp@...> wrote:
In yahoogroups, failure to delive tha message makes members get listed as "bouncing".If the mods don't bother to check the "bouncing"-list regularly (and send reactivation-requests), the group can lose a lot of members without anyone noticing...

So what happens in groups.io ? Does the sender get notified of non-delivery? Do the moderators? Is there a notification for when someone gets listed as "bouncing"?


                 groetjes, Ronaldo
--
http://www.esperanto..net  http://www.moneyasdebt.net



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Mark,

For many scenarios, it's clear cut whether a bounce is a hard bounce
or a soft bounce. But in some cases, we can't tell. In that case, we
assume it's a soft bounce.
I'm curious about the cases you find uncertain.

Yahoo Groups's handling of bounces was once very much like you describe, with the hard/soft distinction being made strictly by the response code (4xy is soft, 5xy is hard), per the email RFC.

But then a couple years back some email services started using 5xy codes when rejecting due to RBL results (Realtime Black List, or Dynamic Black List) - which made a mess of things. At that point Yahoo Groups started treating all bounces as "soft".

Is that the circumstance you're concerned with? And are you using some kind of heuristic to further discriminate among 5xy responses?

If we receive soft bounces for someone for 8 days, we also change
their status to Bouncing and stop sending email to them.
In the case of an RBL problem the member may be having some fraction of the messages bounced, and the rest delivered. How does your mechanism work in such a case? Is a single bounce in each of eight consecutive days sufficient to change the status, or does it require eight days with all messages bounced, or something in between?

If we receive no response after sending 4 of these bounce reports to
them, we automatically unsubscribe them from all groups they are
subscribed to.
If such an address happens to be the sole owner of a group, what happens to the group (if anything)?

-- Shal


 



On Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 4:01 PM, Shal Farley <shal@...> wrote:

I'm curious about the cases you find uncertain.

We get bounces two ways. One is during the SMTP transaction, when we're sending the email out. The receiving email server responds with a non-2xx error code. Those are easy enough to parse; we have a status code and (generally) one line of reason. Anything non-5xx we treat as soft. For 5xx bounces, we have a few patterns we match against to determine if it's really a hard bounce. If we get a match (ie. Yahoo will return 'This user doesn't have a yahoo.com account'), we treat it as a hard bounce. Everything else, soft (and we log it for later analysis and inclusion in the match patterns).

The other case where we receive bounces are (some time) after a successful SMTP transaction is complete, we get the message sent back to us, using the envelope address. Those are the difficult ones to parse, because there's really no widely used standard.

Because I had no examples of modern bounces from the second scenario when developing the bounce system, we currently treat all bounces received that way as soft bounces, and we log the messages for later examination. And up to now, we've received no bounces this way. I'm actually not sure how many mail servers operate this way anymore.


 
> If we receive soft bounces for someone for 8 days, we also change
> their status to Bouncing and stop sending email to them.

In the case of an RBL problem the member may be having some fraction of the messages bounced, and the rest delivered. How does your mechanism work in such a case? Is a single bounce in each of eight consecutive days sufficient to change the status, or does it require eight days with all messages bounced, or something in between?

Right now, it's 8 consecutive days of all bounces. A single success resets things. I don't know if this is the right solution. Thoughts?

 
> If we receive no response after sending 4 of these bounce reports to
> them, we automatically unsubscribe them from all groups they are
> subscribed to.

If such an address happens to be the sole owner of a group, what happens to the group (if anything)?

We have a constraint such that the sole owner of a group cannot be unsubscribed from the group, so nothing would happen (at some point a mechanism will need to be developed for instances when group owners disappear/etc, but with the service being so young right now, it's not a priority).

Thanks,
Mark