Why do the unsubscribe “footers” appear as attachments for some recipients?

Mailman automatically appends a “footer” to each message, which includes the unsubscribe instructions.

If your list has “content filtering” disabled to allow sending attachments or sending HTML-formatted messages to the list, and the messages you send to the list aren’t plain text, some programs (notably Outlook on Windows) will show the footer as an “Untitled attachment.txt” attachment to the message, instead of showing the footer as normal text at the end of the message like most programs.

This is really a bug in the mail program that displays these as attachments, but it can be annoying.

There are a couple of solutions to this, described on the rest of this page.

Forcing only plain text

The first is that if you don’t need to send attachments or HTML-formatted messages to your list, you can turn on “content filtering” in Mailman. The content filtering will strip out everything except the plain text of messages, solving the problem.

To do this:

  1. Go to the management page for your list, then click Content filtering.
  2. Click Yes next to “Should Mailman filter the content of list traffic according to the settings below?”
  3. Click the Submit Your Changes button

After doing this, Mailman footers should appear as part of the message text instead of as attachments.

Another option for a private list is to remove the footer message entirely. (You should only do this if it’s a private list; don’t do it for a public list, because some people will then not know how to unsubscribe and will likely complain that the messages are “spam” when then can’t figure it out.)

To do this:

  1. Go to the management page for your list, then click Non-digest options.
  2. Make the “Footer added to mail sent to non-digest list members” section completely blank
  3. Click the Submit Your Changes button

If you have members who receive lists in “digest” form, repeat the above steps for the Digest options.

After doing this, Mailman will not add any kind of “footer” to the messages, avoiding the problem where they might appear as attachments.