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Unsubscribing Link doesnt work

anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 5

22 July 2009, 19:59


I've been trying to unsubscribe from the growing mountain of Mahara Development emails for the last three days by clicking on the link enclosed in the email.  Today the spam has become unbearable so I've logged onto the site and will attempt to manually unsubscribe.


Please check out the link on the email.  It pretends to say you are unsubscribed but the emails keep a comming.  It is a legal requirement under the Spam Act in Australia to have a WORKING unsubscribe link.

My purpose in lurking on the developer list was to see whether there was any movement in overcoming many of the design limitations currently built into Mahara.   It seems I should check back in twelve months time and see if progress is made to realise the potential of the package.



anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 1643

22 July 2009, 20:44


I just moved your post from the news forum. That gets e-mailed out to a lot of people.

Unfortunately we had an issue with the forum e-mail this morning that caused lots of repeat e-mails to be sent out. See this thread for more details, we've taken steps to ensure it doesn't happen again.

As for the link - we established it was broken this morning also (it does work in some cases but not in others - an unfortunate bug!). We have patched this also, and the fix will be rolled out to ASAP. We're well aware of spam law requirements and also basic netiquette, and apologise for the disturbance.

anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 117

22 July 2009, 20:50

You need to check your definition of SPAM, Paul. Under the Spam Act 2003 it is illegal to send, or cause to be sent, unsolicited commercial electronic messages.  Mahara's development emails are not spam. You signed up to receive them and they aren't commercial.  The Spam Act does not apply. The problem today was just a bug, which is something that even the best of software packages experience.

As for design limitations, Mahara is an open source package and is only limited by your own programming abilities.  If you need help with anything specific, I'm sure other users, like me, would do their best to provide you with assistance.

anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 1643

22 July 2009, 22:20

Heh - while we might not have violated the numerous acts around the world about spamming as it wasn't commercial, I still wouldn't want all that e-mail clogging up my inbox! So this has been a high priority for us today, whether or not any laws have been broken Wink
anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 5

22 July 2009, 22:25

I think its a bit rich to be flamed by someone who has just filled my mobile phone email box with 173 copies of the same message.

Wikipaedia defines Spam as:

Spam is the abuse of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.

I have been attempting to unsubscribe for three days - using the unsubscribe link on each message sent to me - Elsewhere it is confirmed that your system is not working - I can confirm that that is correct.  Hence before you started filling my email box this morning you did not have my consent to send me the message -  Hence it is spam

The Spam Act deals with unsolicited commercial email.  It also deals with email from exempt bodies including trade unions charities, education institutions.  It requires those exempted to still identify themselves AND have a WORKING unsubscribe system.

This did not occur.

Is the offering of a open source software package a commercial offering.  I believe that it may very well be under the terms of the act.  Doing something in a commercial way doesnt have to require a for profit motive. 

So please dont try and justify inappropriate behaviour by using loopholes in legislation - noone  would accept this behaviour, if deliberate, is acceptable.  It appeared that the problem was with your computer sending the post - others have now taken responsibility that it was at the server end.  

Its unfortunate but dont try and justify it




anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 1643

22 July 2009, 23:29

Hi - two points I'd like to make:

Although it was poor Stephen's message that got repeatedly sent out, that was nothing to do with him. It just so happened that the server was crashing just after sending out that e-mail and just before making it as sent. It was totally our fault for this.

Also - for the sake of tranquility, let's call the end to discussions here everyone, OK? We made a mistake, people have rightfully got angry and we are addressing the problem as this post is written. By the end of the day, the unsubscribe links on will work, and it won't be possible for multiple repeated e-mails to be sent out the way they were this morning.


Craig Eves's profile picture
Posts: 104

22 July 2009, 20:58

Hi Paul

I have copied the post explaining the cause of the problem and also that this has been fixed. The unsubscribe link does work but the emails were already in the queue to be sent.

The developers have worked hard in responding to support , bugs and feature requests as evidenced in the forums.

I think they have dealt with this problem in their usual efficient, friendly manner. Cool



Hi. Looks like it was a fatal error in the Mahara cron job at just the wrong time, causing the e-mail to go out before it was marked as sent. I have now fixed it, and hopefully nobody should be getting any more e-mails like that.

Looking more deeply into the issue, it's clear we (I think it was me!) made a mistake with the forum post notifications - they should mark the e-mail as sent before trying to send it, so at least that way you'll get no e-mail rather than 300,000 Wink. We're going to fix that up.

As for the error itself, it was an out of memory error (damn memory_limit!). The cron job memory limit is going to be raised, and also we're going to rework a bit of code that caused the problem so it doesn't behave in this fashion.

In other news, it seems that the unsubscription code might have a bug - when everyone flooded to unsubscribe themselves from the forum, somehow I got unsubscribed too, so there's an issue in there we'll have to look at Undecided 

Unsubscribing wouldn't have helped, by the way - the message was already in the queue to be delivered to you at that point. It's possible that we should re-check subscription preferences before sending out queued notifications such as forum posts, I've filed a bug for that. 

We're sorry about all the hassle, everyone! Cry I know spam incredibly annoying, so being the cause of it isn't good



anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 5

22 July 2009, 22:37

I posted my original post not to cause trouble but to point out that your server has a problem.

As soon as I posted it I unsubscribed manually over the web from each group.

Despite this I continue to receive posts. (I have manually resubscribed to the forum to make this post).

I dont believe that they are in a queue as they are responding to my post.  

Something is wrong with the unsubscribe system.


I also note the comment by Stephen C:

As for design limitations, Mahara is an open source package and is
only limited by your own programming abilities. 

Well may I suggest that there is a hell of a lot of work to do to make the package user friendly.  I am not a programmer but rather a person wishing to commission a package like this to be used in our training business.  The absence of intelligible documentation really means that I am unwilling to require my staff to use the package.  Users arn't programmers.  They are the people who are the interface between a system and clients. 

I have installations of Mahara which I show people and they come back asking what do I do and How do I use it.  And there's nothing there at this level of understanding to help them

Thats why I'm now looking at Sakai (...errrh java) and other portfolio systems for my RPL needs


anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 84

22 July 2009, 23:15

OK Paul,
We take on board the critique. however, I have to add that documentation is often a problem in open source projects - it is simply a matter of resourcing and we often don't have the resources to keep up to speed with the development. It's not an excuse, just a reality of the open source business model such that it is. Given your current high levels of dissatisfaction with Mahara I do invite you back in 12mths, and in the meanwhile we'll carry on with the job.

Perhaps commission the documentation work you require or some usability improvements. This is how the free/libre open source software community model works. Mahara, is free to download, as is where is. If this is not satisfactory to you that is understandable but we make no apology for it - you are welcome to click across to Sakai or perhaps try a polished, well documented proprietary platform.

Mahara Project Leader

anonymous profile picture
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Posts: 6

23 July 2009, 0:22

To whom it may concern,

I fully agree with Nigel, failures can happen and you people are doing your best to solve them fast.

Having experience with many OPEN SOURCE PRODUCTS I just would like to tell you that the Mahara Team and Community do an excellent job.

Keep up the good work

Al (Switzerland)

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