Handling multiple similar notifications

We are willing to address limitations of the way Sympa sends notifications to listmasters ; below is a summary of the problems and some tracks to make things better. Please participate to this discussion if you have brilliant ideas on this topic.

Sympa processes sends notifications to listmasters whenever a problem occurs, which is a useful feature. However, in some situations, it may send too many notification emails for a given/related problem. A couple of such examples :

  1. an include datasource is not available while the task manager performs a sync_include, therefore the task fails,
    1. the listmaster is notified,
    2. the task is removed from the task spool,
    3. 1 minute later the task is recreated and run again d) the listmaster receives many notifications of the same kind
  2. 1000 lists are belonging to the same list family and therefore a buggy list template generates 1000 buggy lists. The listmaster/owner receives a notification about the error_config status of these lists whenever the list is used.
  3. Sympa's DB is unavailable during the night ; the listmaster receives 1000 notification messages entitled “Can't connect to database” and a single one entitled “connection restored”
  4. wwsympa process crashes (fatal_err), a notification is sent to the listmaster before the process dies. But Apache restarts the process

The following solutions may be considered :

A new DB table with notificationId+listId+receipient+date. If a notice was sent to a recepient, it should not be sent again during the next N minutes. Advantage :

  • it globally addresses the issues abount notifications.

Drawbacks :

  • it requires a management of this new DB table ; * difficulty to tune the behavior regarding the delay (N), it might

require a different parameter for each notification ;

  • if the notification concerns multiple lists, it might be desirable

to send a notification per list.

Sympa could keep track of the status that lead to send the notification, thus allowing to send only 2 notifications. Drawback:

  • status can be stored in the list config if it refers to a list but

where otherwise ;

  • the management of these status means coupling them with

notifications ;

  • it does not solve the problem of notifications about multiple lists

Instead of sending an immediate notification, prepare notification messages instead ; this way a listmaster would receive a bulk notification with a set of error messages in it. Drawback:

  • how can we trigger to sending of the bulk notification?
  • dev/handling_multiple_similar_notifications.txt
  • Last modified: 2008/02/11 10:15
  • by david.verdin@cru.fr