[thechat] Digesting Digests?

Daniel J. Cody djc at starkmedia.com
Tue Feb 27 00:58:22 CST 2001

Hello, The Sabrina....

Good question. As the guy who wrote most of the software you use to send 
emails to the evolt lists, I may just be qualified to answer..  :)

When a post comes into the mailing list software(MajorGumbo, MG), the 
software writes that post out to two different places. The first is the 
spool file, the other is the digest file. To be short, the spool file 
gets sent out every couple seconds to people that are subscribed to the 
'regular' list. I'm not going much into that, but thats not what you 
asked about :)

The other file that gets written is the digest file. When it gets to be 
*at least* 45Kb big(yes, it is based on size) MG picks it up, does a 
quick lookup of who gets a regular digest and it sends it to them. Then 
it does another lookup of its own DB to see who gets 'MIME' digests, and 
it formats a message in MIME format, then sends that message to the 
folks that have the 'MIME' format check in the subscription options.

Now the reason you might not think its based on size, is because its not 
alwyas exactly 45Kb big. Whenever the digest file gets to be *at least* 
45Kb big, it gets sent out. So, if we had a day where there were two 
posts of 5Kb, one 10Kb post, a 24Kb post(someone didnt trim their reply) 
(which brings us to 44Kb) it would sit there untill the next 1Kb came 
through. So lets say we have a digest file thats sitting at 43.5Kb, and 
someone posts a 1.9Kb message, the digest is at 44.9Kb and *WONT* get 
sent through. However, if its sitting at 43.5Kb and someone sends a 50Kb 
message through it will get posted.

So sometimes you see a 45.1Kb archive come through, and sometimes you 
see a 100Kb digest come through. It all depends on how big that last 
message is, and if that last message tips the scales.

Now, I'm kinda lying. :)

If the digest file isn't at least 45Kb after 24 hours since the original 
post, the digest gets sent out no matter what size it is. So if you post 
a 1Kb message and no one else posts for an entire day, you're message 
will be the 'archive'..

so thats why it looks totally random sometimes. it can be as big as 
250Kb or as small as 1Kb. and it may come 5 times a day or just once a 
day. when i wrote the algorithm that decides when to send the digest 
file, there were a lot of things that went into it, and its pretty cool 
from a geek standpoint like mine :) its also cool when you wrote it 
after drinking a 12 pack of Bass. Or when you describe it, as i have 
here, after drinking the better half of a bottle of Bombay :)

At any rate, thats pretty much how it works. If that doesn't answer your 
question, just let me know and I'll try to do better ;)



Sabrina Dent, Apperception wrote:

> Hello, The Chat....
> So can anyone explain to me how the digests get digested, so to speak?
> It's not daily (its several times daily!), it's not automatically sent when
> there are X number of posts since the last one, and similarly it's not sent
> automatically when there are X kbs of posts sitting around.
> So what's the magic digest formula?
> And do *all* the posts get into the digest?

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