W3C Mail Archive approval system

In Sep 2002, W3C started using a system on its mailing lists that obtains explicit approval from posters to include their messages in our mailing list archives on the Web.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about this system, with answers:

What is the Archive Approval System?

The Archive Approval System is a mail archive service for mailing lists at w3.org . The first time it sees mail from an address, it sends a confirmation back to that address to get the sender's consent to archive that and future emails. If your mail is not reaching W3C lists, look for AA messages sent from noreply@w3.org (don't forget to look in your spam box as well).

Date: Sun, 07 Jun 2009 11:46:34 +0000
From: W3C List Manager <noreply@w3.org>
Subject: IMPORTANT: your message to public-rdf-dawg
To: eric+test@w3.org

This is a response to a message apparently sent from your address to

    Subject: proposed text for article seven
    From:    Eric Prud'hommeaux <eric+test@w3.org>
    Date:    Sun, 7 Jun 2009 07:46:27 -0400

Your message has NOT been distributed to the list; before we distribute it,
we need your permission to include your message in our Web archive of all
messages distributed to this list.

Please visit:


What is this approval system for?

In the past we have had problems with people sending mail to one of our archived mailing lists and then being surprised to learn that their message ended up in a public archive.

We have hundreds of archived lists and although we try to be clear about the purpose of a list whenever we refer to it, we can not control how others refer to our lists. Therefore there is always the possibility that someone will send a message to our lists without knowing it will be archived on our Web site.

This system takes care of that problem by requiring explicit approval from each poster before allowing their message to be distributed to the list. For the vast majority of posters who do not mind having their messages available in our Web archives, there is an option to approve any future messages they may send to W3C mailing lists as well.

A nice side effect of this system is that it helps to reduce spam on our lists, since spammers generally do not read the replies they receive (and many or most of the return addresses they use are bogus anyway.)

Why has my message not shown up in the archive even after I gave approval?

Messages from first-time posters are moderated, to prevent spam. This may delay your message by up to 1-2 business days. (generally less)

Why are you sending me mail? I did not send you anything.

If you received a notification message from us but did not send us a message, someone else may have forged a message with your email address as the sender. You can find out where the message originated by looking at the Received: headers of the message. (note that the only such header that can be trusted to be accurate is the one that shows when/where it entered our email systems.)

If you are interested in preventing email forgeries claiming to be from your site, you may want to consider publishing SPF records for your domain(s). W3C's mail servers automatically reject forgeries for domains that have published SPF records.

How does this system interact with smartlist's accept lists?

If you are familiar with our mailing list system, you may wonder how this archive approval system interacts with the existing "accept lists", which are the lists of email addresses that are allowed to post to each list.

There is no interaction between these two mechanisms. The people who were on the accept lists before this system was deployed have never explicitly given us permission to archive their messages on our site, so they will need to go through this archive approval step at least once along with everyone else.

Do you honor the X-No-Archive message header? Why not?

We do not honor the X-No-Archive message header, nor do we plan to. All messages distributed to W3C's mailing lists are archived on our site; this is a requirement of participation on our lists.

The intent of this system is to notify people that if they participate in our lists their messages are archived, not to allow them to participate without archiving.

Where can I send feedback on this system?

Please send any feedback on this system to archive-approval-comments.

W3C Postmaster
Last modified $Date: 2023/08/31 00:30:20 $ by $Author: gerald $