How to know if a user is subscribed to a mailing list

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How to know if a user is subscribed to a mailing list

On the mailing lists, all users are allowed to post their questions. However, if a user is not subscribed to the list, the user will not see any of the answers that are returned to the list only.

So it may be a good idea to include the user's address as a cc (carbon copy) in the answer. (There are discussions whether to do this or not, whether to allow or forbid unsubscribed users to post, and so on, but that is not the topic of this FAQ)

If you want to include the unsubscribed user address as a cc, you need to know which user is not subscribed.

The mailing list adds a special header to the posts of unsubscribed users. It goes like this for the users list:

 Delivered-to: moderator for 

You can use this information to add a filter that scans the mail header and flags it with a special tag. Using Thunderbird mail reader, you can flag all posts of unsubscribed users to appear in a blue color, for example.

The following steps are valid for Thunderbird 15.0.1 on Windows.

CAUTION: The steps are valid, but due to a bug in Tbird the filter won't work.

  1. In Thunderbird, choose Tools - Message Filters.
  2. Click New to create a new filter.
  3. Enter a name for the new filter, for example "not subscribed".
  4. Next, you would assemble a filter line that says "If the field Delivered-to contains the text "moderator" then tag the message as "To Do" (which would turn it blue). Unfortunately, the field Delivered-to doesn't exist in the initial list. We need to add it to the list first:
  5. Open the first drop-down list and select Customize.
  6. In the Customize Headers dialog, enter the Delivered-to header and click Add, then OK.
  7. Now you can select Delivered-to. Enter the word moderator to the text box at the right.
  8. Down at "Perform these actions", select Tag Message, then select To Do from the next drop-down list.

Now all messages by users that are not subscribed will be shown in blue. If you want to answer their question, you can add their address as cc.

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