Kavi Mailing List Manager Help

Chapter 38. What Does this Message Mean?

Before you begin

The first step in problem solving is to be sure you have correctly identified the problem. Review the problem statements listed below to see if one of them fits your situation before proceeding. If you aren't sure any of the statements fit, see How to Use the Email Troubleshooting Flowcharts for a list of other problem statements and flowcharts.

Problem statements that fit this document:

  • This message appears to be automated, system-generated email.

  • This message is an automated response to an email I originally sent. It says there is a problem delivering my message.

Problem statements that do NOT fit this document:

The usual suspects

  • This is an automated response from a firewall warning you that an email you sent was infected with a virus.

  • This is an automated response from ezmlm or another mail server warning that an email sent to you has bounced.

  • This is an automated message from qmail or another mail server regarding the status of an email you sent.

  • This is an automated message from ezmlm or another mailing list manager regarding an email you sent to a mailing list.

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Instructions

  1. Search for "virus" in the message. If you find it, the message is from a virus filter warning you that a virus or other malware was detected in an email you sent. The virus filter deleted the virused attachment, so there isn't anything else you need to do except notify your system administrator or update the virus definitions for your personal anti-virus software and scan your system for viruses.

  2. Search for "bounce" in the message. If you find it, look for the message that most closely matches yours in the Bounce messages table.

  3. Search for "ezmlm" in the message. If you find it, look for the message that most closely matches yours in the Ezmlm fatal messages table.

  4. Search for "fatal" in the message. If you find it, look for the message that most closely matches yours in the Other fatal messages table.

  5. Search for "temporary" in the message. If you find it, look for the message that most closely matches yours in the Temporary failure messages table.

  6. Search for "Warning:", or if you are looking in the logs, search for "Remote host said:". The message immediately following this phrase contains a description of the problem.

    If you have tried the preceding searches to no avail, use your own innate problem-solving skills to locate the error message in the body of the email. There's a good chance you've already done this and skipped ahead to browse the tables visually or search for keywords you located in the error message, in which case you are no longer reading this, are you?

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Message Lookup Tables

Messages aren't standardized

Automated messages aren't as standardized as you might expect. Surprisingly, email delivery failure messages can be creatively customized for every mail server...and how many of us with newly granted administrative privileges could be expected to resist such an invitation to exercise our wit? Because messages are nonstandard, these tables only include a representative sample of the most common messages.

Bounce messages

Bounce messages don't always contain the word "bounce". This table includes the most common examples. For further explanation, see Bounces.

Table 38.1. Bounce messages

Keywords  

ezmlm warning

Typical content Messages to you from the list-listname mailing list seem to have been bouncing.
Explanation Something has temporarily caused messages sent to this address to bounce.
Resolution The fact that this message was delivered means the problem has been fixed. The software handles this automatically, so there is nothing more that needs to be done.

bounce

Typical content failure: ezmlm-get: fatal: I do not reply to bounce messages
Explanation An ezmlm warning was sent to the list, possibly by someone trying to respond to it.
Resolution As above, the fact that the ezmlm warning was delivered to the address means the problem is fixed. The software handles bounces automatically, so there is nothing more that needs to be done.

Ezmlm fatal failure messages

Table 38.2. Ezmlm fatal failure messages

Keywords  

address format invalid

Typical content failure: ezmlm-return: fatal: Invalid bounce or receipt address format
Explanation The sender's return address doesn't follow the proper format, so it may contain a typo. This may also indicate a deliberate attempt to disguise the origin of the email, especially if it contains spam or malware.
Resolution Assuming this is a legitimate sender, the email address may be corrected and the message resent.

archive list only

Typical content failure: ezmlm-return: fatal: This is an archive list only
Explanation Someone has tried to send messages to a list that has been archived and no longer accepts messages.
Resolution No one can post to this list.

empty Subject

Typical content failure: ezmlm-reject: fatal: Sorry, I don't accept message with empty Subject
Explanation The email Subject: field was left empty. Mailing lists don't accept messages with empty Subject: fields because they are can't be sorted properly and because spam frequently has empty Subject: fields.
Resolution The sender may add a subject and resend the message.

manage

Typical content failure: ezmlm-manage: fatal: Sorry, I've been told to reject all requests
Explanation The mailing list is configured to reject subscribe and unsubscribe ezmlm email address commands from all levels of list users.
Resolution List users must use forms available on the Web site to subscribe or unsubscribe. If the list isn't visible, even when logged in, contact an administrator. Lists that use the closed subscription model have all subscription requests funneled through administrators.

moderate

Typical content failure: ezmlm-moderate: fatal: I'm sorry, I no longer have this message
Explanation A moderator has attempted to moderate a message that is no longer in the queue. Messages are removed from the queue when a moderator acts on the message or when the message times out. For more information, see Moderation queue in the chapter on Moderation in Kavi Mailing List Manager Concepts.
Resolution Once a message has been removed from the queue, no further action can be performed on it. The ezmlm-moderate failure message usually provides details of what happened to the original message, and the mailing list logs can also be examined through the Mail Delivery Logs tool. If a moderator wishes to approve a message that was rejected or that timed out in the queue, the originating sender can be invited to resend it.

precedence: junk

Typical content Precedence: junk - message ignored
Explanation This message contained a 'Precedence: junk' header, which is usually inserted by an autoresponder. Ezmlm ignores messages from autoresponders.
Resolution Automatically generated replies from autoresponders have the potential to clutter mailing lists with repeated messages from subscribers stating they are out of the office and could also trigger some email address commands, so ezmlm ignores these messages.

subscribers only

Typical content failure: ezmlm-return: fatal: Sorry, only subscribers may post. If you are a subscriber, please forward this message to list-owner@example.org to get your new address included
Explanation Someone has sent a message to a mailing list from an address that isn't subscribed, and the list is configured to reject messages from public (i.e. unknown) addresses.
Resolution If a subscriber has received this failure message, they are trying to post from an unauthorized address. Members with new primary or alternate email addresses should login and update this information through the KaviŽ Members My Accounts page. If this address isn't stored through the My Accounts page and the subscriber wants to be granted ongoing direct posting privileges when using this address, the subscriber should contact an administrator to see what can be done. Others can subscribe if they are eligible.

To: or Cc:

Typical content failure: ezmlm-reject: fatal: List address must be in To: or Cc:
Explanation Neither the To: nor the Cc: line contains the list address, so this message has been classified as potential spam.
Resolution If this is a legitimate message and the sender just mistyped the list address, the sender should add the proper address and resubmit the message.

Other fatal failure messages

Table 38.3. Other fatal failure messages

Keywords  

account

Typical content account unavailable
Explanation Delivery failed because an account under the specified username doesn't exist at that domain or the account has been closed temporarily or permanently.
Resolution If the address was entered incorrectly, correct the email address and resend. If this happens to a message from a mailing list, the address will be automatically unsubscribed.

address invalid

Typical content invalid address, unroutable address
Explanation Delivery failed because the email address doesn't exist. The address may have been entered wrong, the email account may have been closed or the address may have been forged.
Resolution Check to see if the address is correct. If not, then enter the correct email address and resend. If the account doesn't exist this address will be automatically unsubscribed.

bad address syntax

Typical content bad address syntax
Explanation Delivery failed because the email address wasn't in the standard format.
Resolution Enter a correctly formatted email address and resend the message.

host

Typical content host not found, host invalid
Explanation The hostname portion of the email address doesn't exist in the domain name system.
Resolution The hostname portion of the email address may have been entered incorrectly, or it may have changed or may no longer exist.

mailbox

Typical content is not a valid mailbox, no mailbox here by that name, mailbox unavailable, bad destination mailbox address, mailbox not found, mailbox disabled, unsupported mail destination
Explanation Delivery failed because the email address doesn't exist. The address may have been entered wrong, the email account may have been closed or the address may have been forged.
Resolution Check to see if the address is correct. If not, then enter the correct email address and resend. If the account doesn't exist this address will be automatically unsubscribed.

recipient

Typical content recipient rejected, recipient unknown, recipient cannot be verified, your envelope recipient has been denied
Explanation Delivery failed because the email address doesn't exist. The address may have been entered wrong, the email account may have been closed or the address may have been forged.
Resolution Check to see if the address is correct. If not, then enter the correct email address and resend. If the account doesn't exist this address will be automatically unsubscribed.

relay

Typical content relay restricted, relaying blocked
Explanation Delivery failed because the email address doesn't exist. The address may have been entered wrong, the email account may have been closed or the address may have been forged.
Resolution Check to see if the address is correct. If not, then enter the correct email address and resend. If the account doesn't exist this address will be automatically unsubscribed.

service unavailable

Typical content service unavailable
Explanation This is a common message with many causes, because it can be returned anytime a server is unavailable. It may also mean that messages from the sender's IP address or IP address range are blocklisted because of spam or other forms of email abuse. The sender may not be a spammer, but may have been misclassified as a spammer or may use an IP that hasn't enforced anti-spam rules strictly enough for Spamhaus or other spam-fighting organizations.
Resolution If the sender's private email address has been blocklisted, the sender should contact their ISP. If a company or organization's IP address has been blocklisted in error, the owner of the blocklist should be contacted.

size

Typical content message exceeds maximum fixed size, file size exceeded
Explanation The message was rejected by a mail server or mailing list because of an attachment that was larger than the server or list is configured to accept. File size limits help prevent slowdowns that occur when servers transfer large files...and especially when servers transfer large numbers of large files, which is what happens when messages with large attachments are posted to a mailing list.
Resolution The ideal approach is to place the attachment on a server, then send a link in the email so those who want to download the file can download it from the file server. In circumstances where this approach isn't feasible, contact administrators to see if file size limits can be raised temporarily, with the understanding that this will have some adverse affect on server performance and mail deliver rates.

spam

Typical content your email seems to be spam, spam value exceeded, message caught in spam filter
Explanation A spam filter has classified the message as spam and rejected it. The message may or may not contain spam. Spam is difficult to detect because it can take so many forms, so spam filters must use a broad set of criteria to identify potential spam, and in the process, misclassify a significant percentage of messages.
Resolution If this is a legitimate message, the sender should check whether the 'Subject:' field is empty. If so, add a 'Subject: and resend the message. If this isn't the problem, contact support.

transaction failed

Typical content Mail transaction failed, partial message is available, has been sent as a binary attachment
Explanation This message may be a virus masquerading as a email failure notification.
Resolution Do NOT open the attachment. If your system is properly protected by anti-virus software, the attachment will already have been disabled anyway. If the attachment hasn't been disabled, you should update your virus definitions and scan your system. Most email error messages are more helpful than this, so if this isn't a virused email, keep reading for other keywords.

user

Typical content user unknown, no such user, user does not exist
Explanation Delivery failed because the email address doesn't exist. The address may have been entered wrong, the email account may be closed or the address may have been forged.
Resolution Check to see if the email address is correct. If not, enter the correct email address and resend the message. If the address doesn't exist and this is a message from a mailing list, the address will be automatically unsubscribed.

Temporary failure messages

The following temporary failure messages may appear in a message from a MAILER-DAEMON or be recorded in the mail logs.

Table 38.4. Temporary failure messages

Keywords  

connection, SMTP

Typical content connection died, wasn't able to establish an SMTP connection, too many concurrent SMTP connections
Explanation An MTA that ordinarily accepts messages for the address domain is processing a heavy load and is temporarily unavailable.
Resolution This is usually a temporary condition. The sending MTA will attempt to resend the message. If the sending MTA is unable to transfer the message after repeated attempts, it will notify the sender that the failure was permanent (i.e., "fatal"). If the sender receives a message that the error is fatal, ask the sender to send the message again after email traffic has eased up.

disk space

Typical content disk space exceeded, insufficient disk space
Explanation The addressee's mailbox is full and will be unable to accept more mail until some of the disk space is freed up.
Resolution The addressee needs to attend to their mailbox.

DNS lookup

Typical content Resources temporarily unavailable, CNAME lookup failed temporarily
Explanation A domain name system (DNS) server is temporarily unavailable, probably because it is processing an unusually high load or is undergoing maintenance.
Resolution The sending MTA will automatically try again, so no action is necessary. If the sending MTA is unable to transfer the message after repeated attempts, it will send notification that the failure was permanent.

domain address

Typical content HELO requires domain address
Explanation qmail wasn't properly configured.
Resolution An administrator must reconfigure and restart qmail.

try again later

Typical content try again later
Explanation Some server somewhere in the mail delivery chain is busy.
Resolution If you like you can...er...try again later.

undelivered

Typical content Warning: message still undelivered after 4 hours
Explanation To view a more complete example of this message, see Mail queue warnings.
Resolution There is no need to do anything until further notice, the mailing list software will manage this automatically.
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