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[Feature suggestion] Email bounce management


Guest allpar

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Is there a way to get IPB to automatically deal with bouncing e-mails? People using the various trackers are causing a huge number of bounced messages. It would be good if IPB could log into an email account now and then and detect hard bounces or too many soft bounces and automatically discontinue the tracker. I'm sure there's open source code for this with things like phplist. Alternatively a control panel to shut off old trackers would be less effective and less desirable but better than nothing.

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Yes, I'm aware of that. However, I would ask if there is an AUTOMATIC way of doing this - that is, having IPB monitor an e-mail account, detect bounces, and shut off the outward flow. There is source code for phplist showing exactly how this can be done; it may even be possible to use the same code in IPB.

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PS> I find this script to be TERRIFIC. I did however change it slightly to allow admin e-mails so that if they get a correct address, they'll still be getting the (rare) admin e-mail. Next step is to change their member group from Member to Invalid-Email which will not let them access features until they straighten out.

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  • 1 month later...

As a matter of fact I'd be satisfied with the abilty to copy and paste the comments of a bounced e-mail, acp ignore anything but e-mail address, and give me a list of the members who are associated with those addresses. For the instances where you get bounce details on more than one address in the same e-mail.

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I don't know about all that, but why can't it just tell you in ACP when an members e-mail is bouncing back to the forum e-mail address. I'm about to check out this mod though



I'm afraid IPB can't monitor your email inbox, so no - there is no way for it to tell you this info.
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I don't see why you can't set a management e-mail address and the board notifies the admin of any e-mail that comes to that address from a member whether it's bounce or not. Or I'm pretty sure there is some type of e-mail validation script IPB can write that use some type that detects it even if its an app that has to be running like chat is. I mean most websites out there have ways of notifying usings or admins out there when group e-mails and mailing lists messages are bouncing back. I guess I'll research it see how I can add the functionality to my site.

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Naw his is no good. All his does is give you more options when you edit a member such is disabling their subscriptions. It's really useless for my needs. I tell you one thing that would be nice is if when I move someone to the validating group, I could make it where they have to validate via e-mail again just like when they change e-mail addresses

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If you use an IMAP mailserver I bet someone could write something for you that checks your e-mail account for bouncebacks, but that in and of itself my be kind of difficult, being as I've seen some wacky mail software out there that sends bouncebacks that look nothing like regular ones.

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I'm afraid while there may *technically* be some way out there to do this (just about anything is possible) it goes well above and beyond the needs and intentions of a forum script. :thumbsup: IPB is forum software - I don't see much use in having it monitor your email inbox for bouncebacks emails. That would just require too much development time and research for a feature that a large number of our customers would never use.

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Well, this is my reason for wanting something like that. Let's say you have a large board. You send out a bulk e-mail and something like 300 bounce back. Going through 300 3-mails one-by-one and checking the e-mail addresses in ACP to check their last activity would be a hassle. IT would be a lot easier if you could click on say "bounced e-mail management" in ACP and all the people who are bouncing would already be listed. And you could mass prune them or mass move them to another member group. Also, I think future versions of the board should show more information when you search like last post and last visit.

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You mean like being able to map skins to different urls ;)



That took Matt all of 2 hours to throw in. Hardly "lots of development time".

To monitor an inbox of some sort, we'd need to have a way to login to the box, and then what if there is no SMTP service? If we add this feature it would have to be pretty wide-ranging in support. So we'd have to find a way to read each inbox. As each mail service is different, this is all but impossible.

If it was a custom modification for one user to one mail service, it may not be overly difficult. A day or two of development time. But to add in support for something like this in the all-emcompassing manner it would need to work in, is just extremely far beyond the focus of IP.Board.
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I think adding POP and IMAP support would be all thats needed...

Set it as a task, it will check for new mail, delete anything, etc.

Anyway, I think it's better left to a custom modification due to its complexity and low on priorities, though if the custom mod meets approval, maybe include it by default?

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I think adding POP and IMAP support would be all thats needed...



Set it as a task, it will check for new mail, delete anything, etc.



Anyway, I think it's better left to a custom modification due to its complexity and low on priorities, though if the custom mod meets approval, maybe include it by default?



What if you use Yahoo or MSN mail? Last I checked they don't give you POP login information.
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Just a tip: You do NOT have to use IMAP or POP3 to recieve email addresses, you can have an email box shoot an email directly to a PHP script. You would setup an email forward to acomplish this. I can't remember the syntax, but it's easy to do. Then again, I think it's something cPanel specific. "-Tom-" knows a lot about this as he's the one who showed me how to do it.

If you are making an email program it's not a good idea to use this method... But it is a way to simply receive emails.

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What if you use Yahoo or MSN mail? Last I checked they don't give you POP login information.


Since Messenger 7.5 (near this time) they removed that service. They don't give them out no more because if you were to use Outlook Express or similar, MSN wouldn't be able to provide their anti-spam/ware features with it.
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If it's to be simple and universal, make it POP. IMAP is silly for something like this, POP is universal. Just about anyone with a web site has a free pop account, whehter they use it or not. Even if someone has Yahoo for personal mail, they'd still be able to devote a POP account for bouncebacks. And it's NOT hard to check a POP account if you're a programmer; you can tap into open source code like that of phplist.

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Just a tip: You do NOT have to use IMAP or POP3 to recieve email addresses, you can have an email box shoot an email directly to a PHP script. You would setup an email forward to acomplish this. I can't remember the syntax, but it's easy to do. Then again, I think it's something cPanel specific. "-Tom-" knows a lot about this as he's the one who showed me how to do it.



If you are making an email program it's not a good idea to use this method... But it is a way to simply receive emails.


It's called email piping, but it is NOT supported with windows. So it wouldn't be a "simple way". Even then, you can receive the email, but then you have to parse it. Parsing is a big issue and far from an "easy" task.

If it's to be simple and universal, make it POP. IMAP is silly for something like this, POP is universal. Just about anyone with a web site has a free pop account, whehter they use it or not. Even if someone has Yahoo for personal mail, they'd still be able to devote a POP account for bouncebacks. And it's NOT hard to check a POP account if you're a programmer; you can tap into open source code like that of phplist.



IMAP is a standard just as much as POP is. Neither are universal. No, it isn't hard to check a POP or IMAP account as a programmer, but that does not mean that it is "universal". As Brandon stated, what if the forum admin is using yahoo or hotmail? Neither of these allow POP access (exception of yahoo's premium accounts). I like how you bring up "whether or not they use it." The people that don't use it have another email system they have used forever, and don't want to change, and/or don't know that this "free pop account" exists. I don't think that it is necessary for IPB to be bundled with this service. It is a forum, not a system for email tracking. If you are getting bounce-backs, put an email monitoring system in place and check your default mailbox for these messages yourself. There are other systems, per OS, suited for this. IPB isn't an all in one server/customer management system.
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I know IMAP is a standard; it's just the wrong standard to use for an automated bounce pickup system, IMHO. How many people really can't set up a POP account for bounces?

And whether the forum admin is using yahoo or whatever inane system is out there does NOT MATTER because you would use a separate bounceback address. That's my point. Just about ANYONE can get a free POP account somewhere. It's JUST for this system. Why would you want bouncebacks going into your personal account?

If you're doing all sorts of mailing out, you should be having some way to deal with bouncebacks. If you don't want to program it, admit it. But don't give me inane excuses about how you'd have to program it for everyone. IPB itself isn't universal if you take it to its ultimate, real meaning, but it's universal ENOUGH.

If you can run IPB, you can have a POP account to use for bouncebacks. If you have a POP account to use for bouncebacks, how hard would it really be to program IPB to get maybe 80% - 90% of boucnebacks and either automatically delete trackers or give a convenient list?

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First, don't reply to my posts as if I'm a decision maker or developer at IPS. I'm only loosely affiliated through my service on IPSBeyond. Other than that, I am a customer, just like you and I have the right to voice my opinion against this feature just like you have to voice for it. I wasn't trying to imply anything by my post, so I'm sorry if it came across that way. :)

Second, I see all the features that IPB needs in it to work with your needs.

1) Email validation. Require users to validate their email accounts assures that the email used is a valid one and that you will not receive bounce-backs in the near future. As time passes though, it is possible that email accounts might become invalid.

2) Topic subscription expirations allow you to keep old, outdated, members that no longer visit your forum from causing bounce-backs.

As far as I see it, outside of that it is, and should be, up to you as the administrator to get people to update their emails regularly. I would be ok with a new feature that asked every X days for the user to re-validate their email address. As that is the only thing left that the above 2 features do not cover. However, I feel that those who are actively subscribing to topics are likely to keep their emails up to date anyway. If they don't, they'll notice that they are not receiving topic notifications in the first place and fix it themselves.

Nowhere in any of this do I see where the development of a costly and time oriented system to pipe/deliver bounce-back to the forum is necessary.

But don't give me inane excuses about how you'd have to program it for everyone.


Obviously it is apparent that you haven't developed software for mass distribution. To not consider what is necessary for EVERYONE to use it is silly. That's like saying IPS should only support *nix-based servers. Sure, they could do it, but don't you think that would be a silly move on their part? ;)
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Excuse me, you have a big IPS logo in your signature and I lept.

I think it much more intrusive to ask people every x days to revalidate their email than simply to track bounces. I do not see this as being a costly system since the code IS AVAILABLE in phplist already and I am assuming the license would permit its reuse. Topic sub expirations are fine but don't help with active users who change their email. I do use email validation and it doesn't work long term. People change email like they change their suits.

I don't see your objection to a simple POP based system. You seem to imply that if 100% of the world doesn't use POP, there's no point in coding for it. But POP is a HUGE standard with incredible penetration. If it was really to be done right perhaps it would also read mbox format, etc. I really don't see this as more than a day - at most - of code which would really help. Not unlike the idea of supporting https for admin logins.

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