Mailman Guide for List Administrators

Overview

The Mailman service is used to manage electronic mail discussion and e-newsletter lists. Mailman uses a Web interface that allows list owners to easily configure their mailing list, and select desired mailing list preferences. This document helps explains how to manage your list.

This document covers the basic information list owners will need to maintain a mailing list. For more detailed information about all the available Mailman options, please refer to the knowledge article Mailman List Configuration Options.

 

In this article:

 

How do I use this technology?

Access List Admin Interface

To access your Mailing list configuration page, please do the following.

  1. Open a Web browser and go to https://lists.uaa.alaska.edu/mailman/admin/listname, where listname is the name of the mailing list for which you are the owner.
  2. Enter your administrator password into the List Administrator Password field, and then click Let me in...

    Mailman 2 List Administrator Login page

 

General Options

After you have login to Mailman list administration page, the General Options page will be displayed by default.

Mailman 2 List administration General Options page
 

On this page you can customize a variety of settings. After you make any desired changes, you must click the Submit Your Changes button at the bottom of the page for the changes to be saved and to take effect.

The following is a brief description of the most commonly used options available from this page. You can read additional details about each option by clicking the blue (Details for ...) link that appears below each description, or reading the knowledge article Mailman List Configuration Options.

  • Public Name: This option allows you to change how the name of your list will be displayed publicly. You can use this option to change capitalization (e.g. capitalizing an acronym).
     
    Important
    Do not change the spelling of the list name. The mailing list will not function correctly if the list name is changed.
  • List Administrators: Individuals listed here have complete control over all parameters of the mailing list. To add new administrators, enter each administrator's email address on a separate line.
  • List Moderators: Individuals listed here have a more limited set of permissions than list administrators, but are allowed to process pending administration requests, dispose of held postings, and perform other functions. To add new moderators, enter each moderator's email address on a separate line.
     
    Important
    In order to split the list ownership duties into administrators and moderators, you must provide the email addresses of the list moderators and set a separate moderator password. Refer to the Passwords section below for instructions on creating moderator passwords.
  • Identifying phrase (a terse phrase identifying this list): Use this field to type a brief description of the list. This phrase is displayed next to the list name on the public page of available list, if the list is public, as well as in email headers.
  • Introductory Description: This field allows you to type a longer description of your list. This description will be included on the top of the General List Information page.
  • Subject Line Prefix: This text will be added to the subject line of messages posted to the list to help distinguish mailing list messages in mailbox summaries.
  • Hide Message Sender: This option allows you to hide the sender of a message, replacing the sender's information with the list address.
  • Discard held messages older than this number of days. Use 0 for no automatic discarding: This options determines how long the list will hold a message for approval by list owners or moderator before the list will automatically delete it. The default for new lists is 90 days, older lists may have this set to 0. This should be adjusted to suite the use-case of the list; however, it is strongly recommended to not set this to 0.

 

Passwords

Click the Passwords link at the top of the page to view password options. The Passwords page allows you to change passwords for list administrators, and list moderators. List administrators have complete control over all parameters of the mailing list. List moderators have more limited permissions than list administrators, but are allowed to perform pending administration requests, dispose of held postings, and perform other functions.

Change List Administrator Password

To create, or change the list administrator password do the following:

  1. Type the password into the Enter new administrator password field.
  2. Retype the password into the Confirm administrator password field.
  3. Click the Submit Your Changes button.

Change List Moderator Password

To create, or change the list moderator password do the following:

  1. Type the password into the Enter new moderator password field.
  2. Retype the password into the Confirm moderator password field.
  3. Click the Submit Your Changes button.

 

Membership Management

 

Warning

It is strongly recommended to not manually add, or remove members from a dynamic mailing list. If you do so the next time the list's membership is automatically updated the change will most likely be undone (i.e. a person removed will be added, or a person added will be removed). All dynamic mailing lists have their membership updated nightly.

 

Click the Membership Management link at the top of the page to view the options for managing the membership for your mailing list. Four sub-menus are displayed beneath the Membership Management link: Membership ListMass SubscriptionMass Removal, and Address Change. Each of these three menu options are described below in more detail.

Mailman 2 List Administration Membership Management

 

Membership List

The Membership List page allows you to view and set options for each individual member of your mailing list. Click on a checkbox to select or deselect an option, then click Submit Your Changes button to finalize your changes.

Mailman 2 List Administration Membership List page

 

The following table describes each of the Membership List options.

Description of Mailman Membership List Options
Setting Explanation
unsub Click on this to unsubscribe the member.
mod The member's personal moderation flag. If this is set, postings from this individual will be moderated, otherwise they will be approved.
hide Is the member's address concealed on the list of subscribers?
nomail [reason]

Is delivery to the member disabled? If so, an abbreviation will be given describing the reason for the disabled delivery.

Possible reasons are:

  • U: Delivery was disabled by the user via their person options page.
  • A: Delivery was disabled by the list administrators.
  • B: Delivery was disabled by the system due to excessive bouncing from the member's address.
  • ?: The reason for disabled delivery isn't known. This is the case for all membership which were disabled in older versions of Mailman.
ack Does the member get acknowledgements of their posts?
not metoo Does the member want to avoid copies of their own postings?
nodupes Does the member want to avoid duplicates of the same message?
digest Does the member get messages in digests? Otherwise, the member will receive individual messages as they are posted to the list.
plain If getting digests, does the member get plain text digests? Otherwise, the member will receive MIME formatted messges.
language Language preferred by the member.

At the bottom of the Membership List page is the Additional Member Tasks section. This section allows you to set the moderation bit for every member of the list. If you select Off, each member of the list will be able to post responses. If you select On, each member of the list must be approved before they will be able to post responses.

Mailman 2 List Administration Membership List Additional Tasks moderation setting

 

Mass Subscription

The Mass Subscription window allows you to add, or invite new subscribers to your mailing list. To subscribe individuals, complete the following steps.

  1. For the Subscribe these users or invite them? option click either Subscribe, or Invite to select how individuals will be subscribed.
    • Subscribe: Will automatically subscribe each person that you enter in the text box (see step x).
    • Invite: Will email each person an invitation to join the mailing list. The person must accept the invitation in order to join the list. 
  2. For the Send welcome message to new subscribers? option click either Yes, or No. The welcome message will tell new subscribers how to post to the mailing list, where to find general about the list, how to unsubscribe from the list, and how to change their options. The welcome message will also include a password that the subscriber must know in order to change their options.
  3. For the Send notifications of subscriptions to the list owner? option click either Yes, or No. Clicking Yes will email a notification to the list owner each time a new person successfully subscribes to the mailing list.
  4. In the text box below Enter one address per line below... type the addresses of the individuals you'd like to subscribe to the list.
    • Email address can optionally include the person's name if desired.
       
      zadams@domain.com
      jdoe@somedomain.com (Jane Done)
      msmith@someotherdomain.com (Mike Smith)
    • You can also upload a list of email address to subscribe using the ...or specify a file to upload option. The file must be a text-only file with each address separated by a hard return (press the Return key after each line).
      1. Click Choose File.
      2. In the dialog window that opens, browse to the location of the desired file.
      3. Select the file, and click Choose.
  5. If you like, enter additional welcome text that will be added to the top of your invitation. Type the desired text into the Below, enter additional text to be added to the top of your invitation or the subscription notification. Include at least one blank line at the end... text box. Be sure to add the requested blank line at the end of the text so that your added text displays separately from the standard message.
  6. Click Submit Your Changes button to finalize your changes.

    Mailman 2 List Administration Mass Subscriptions

 

Mass Removal

The Mass Removals section allows you to unsubscribe members from your mailing list. To unsubscribe individuals, complete the following steps.

  1. For the Send unsubscription acknowledgement to the user? option click either Yes, or No. The acknowledgement will inform the members that they have been unsubscribed from the list.
  2. For the Send notifications to the list owner? option click either Yes, or No. Clicking Yes will email a notification to the list owner when members are successfully unsubscribed from the mailing list.
  3. In the text box below Enter one address per line below... type the addresses of the members you would like to unsubscribe.
    • You can also upload a list of email addresses that you would like to unsubscribe using ...specify a file to upload option. The file must be a text-only file with each address separated by a hard return (press the Return key after each line).
      1. Click Choose File.
      2. In the dialog window that opens, browse to the location of the desired file.
      3. Select the file, and click Choose.
  4. Click Submit Your Changes button to finalize your changes.

    Mailman 2 List Administrator Membership Management Mass Removals

 

Address Change

The Address Change section allows you to change a member's subscribed email address. To change a member's subscribed address, complete the following steps.

  1. In the Member's current address field, type the current email address of the member to update.
    • Optional: Click Send notice. Selecting this option will send a notice of the address change to the members old email address.
  2. In the Address to change to field, type the new email address for the member.
    • Optional: Click Send notice. Selecting this option will send a notice of the address change to the members new email address.
  3. Click Submit Your Changes.

    Mailman 2 List Administration Membership Management Address Change

 

Privacy Options

Mailman's Privacy options section allows list owners/administrators to manage each list's subscription and membership policy. From these pages owners are able to adjust list options to manage member subscription rules, as well as sender, recipient, and spam filters. There are many settings available and going through all possible options is beyond the scope of this guide; however, we'll cover the most commonly used options.

Subscription Rules

Mailman's Subscription rules section allows list owners to configure subscription and membership restrictions, as well as determining whether the list is public or not.

  • Advertise this list when people ask what lists are on this machine? - setting this option to No will hide the list from the server's public display of available lists, setting the option to Yes will result in the list being displayed. Regardless of which setting is chosen, individuals will still need to subscribe to the list, this simply determines how easy it is for people to find the list.
  • What steps are required for subscription? - There are three options available
    • Confirm - This option sends an email with a unique subscription request to the individual's email address asking them to confirm they want to be a member of the list. They must reply in order to subscribe. This helps prevent mischievous (or malicious) people from creating subscriptions for others without their consent.
    • Require approval - This option requires list administrator(s) to approval all subscription requests.
    • Confirm and approve - This option requires both the subscriber to confirm, and the list administrators(s) to approve the request.
     
    Selecting either Require approval or Confirm and approve is strongly recommended.
  • List of address (or regexps) whose subscriptions do not require approval - If the Require approval option is enabled, addresses or regular expressions listed here are allowed to subscribe without administrator approval.
  • Is the list moderator's approval required for unsubscription requests? - Specifies if the list moderator, or owner, approval required for unsubscription request. Selecting No is strongly recommended.
  • List of addresses which are banned from membership in this mailing list - Specifies addresses, or regular expressions, which are banned outright from subscribing to the list with no further moderation required.

    If the intended audience/membership of the list are solely individuals affiliated with the University of Alaska system you can add the following filter rule which will ban all non-UA email addresses from being allowed to subscribe to the list. This will help reduce the amount of undesirable subscription spam to the list administrators/moderators.
     
    ^(?!.*@(.*\.)?alaska\.edu$)
  • Who can view subscription list - There are three options available, when set determine who is able to see the list's membership roster.
    • Anyone - If this is selected, then the list membership is completely public and can be viewed by anyone.
    • List members - Only individuals that are members of the list can see the list membership
    • List admin only - Only list administrators can view the list membership
     
    Selecting either List members or List admin only is strongly recommended.
  • Show member addresses so they're not directly recognizable as email addresses - Enabling this option causes member email addresses to be transformed when they are presented on list web pages (both in text and links), so they're not trivially recognizable as email addresses. This is intended to help prevent the addresses from being harvested by automated web scanners used by spammers. Selecting Yes is strongly recommended.

 

Sender Filters

When a message is posted to a list, a series of moderation criteria can be applied to determine the disposition of the message. This section contains the moderation controls for postings from both members, and non-members.

Member postings are held for moderation if their moderation flag is set. You can control whether member postings are moderated by default or not

Non-member postings can be automatically accepted, held for moderation, rejected (bounced), or discard either individually or as a group. Any posting from a non-member who is not explicitly accpeted, rejected, or discarded will have thier postings filtered by the general non-member rules.

Member Filters
  • By default, should new list member postings be moderated? - When a new member is subscribed, their initial moderation flag takes its value from this option. Turn this option off to accept member postings by default. Turn this option on to moderate member postings. Moderation setting for individual member's can be adjusted under membership management.
  • Ceiling on acceptable number of member posts, per interval, before automatic moderation (aka member_verbosity_threshold) - If a member posts this many times, within a period of time the member is automatically moderated. To disable this option, set the value to 0. Be careful when using this setting, if set too low this could be triggered by a single message sent to multiple lists (i.e. cross-posted).
  • Number of seconds to remember posts to this list to determine member_verbosity_threshold for automatic moderation of a member - If a member's total posts to all lists on the server with member_verbosity_threshold enabled reaches this list's member_verbosity_threshold, the member is automatically moderated on this list.
  • Action to take when moderated member posts to the list - There are three options available for list members who post while they're moderated.
    • Hold - Holds the message for approval by the list moderators. It is recommend to set this value.
    • Reject - Automatically rejects the message by sending a bounce notice to the post's author.
    • Discard - Discards (i.e. trashes) the message with no notice sent to the post's author.
Non-member Filters
  • List of non-member addresses whose postings should be automatically accepted - If messages will be sent to the list from email address(es) which are not members of the list on a frequent basis which should be approved (i.e. from a UAA department account), adding the address to this field will ensure the message is delivered without requiring the admin, or moderator having to approve the posting each time. Addresses should be added one per line.
  • List of non-member addresses whose postings should be immediately held for moderation - If messages will be sent to the list form email address(es) which are not members of the list, and the list owner/moderator wants to review the message before allowing the content to be passed on, adding the address to this field will ensure the list moderator will be able to review the post. Addresses should be added one per line.
  • Action to take for postings from non-members for which non explicit action is defined - 
    • Accept - Message(s) will automatically sent to the mailing list.
    • Hold - Message(s) will be held for approval by list admin or moderator.
    • Reject - Message(s) will be automatically rejected by sending a bounce notice to the post's author.
    • Discard - Message(s) will be automatically discard (i.e. trashed) with no notice sent to the post's author. Selecting the Discard option for non-member posts is strongly recommended
  • Should messages from non-members, which are automatically discarded, be forwarded to the list moderator - List moderators can be informed of non-member posts which are automatically discarded by selecting Yes; however, while this will keep the amount of spam sent to the list low, it will mean that list moderator(s) will receive a copy of each potentially spam posting. It is strongly recommended to set this to No after the list administrator has confirmed the list is configured as desired.

 

Recipient Filters

  • Must posts have list named in destination (to, cc) fields (or be among the acceptable alias names, specified below)? - Many spam messages use a variety of methods for avoid detection. Setting this value to Yes is strongly recommended.
  • Ceiling on acceptable number of recipients for a posting - Each list has a limit to the total number of recipients associated with a message as an anti-spamming measure. The mailing list itself counts as one address. The default limit is 10, if destination address count exceeds this value the message will be held for moderation. In most cases 10 is a reasonable value. See the Mailman Notice - Too Many Recipients KB article for more details.

 

Log Out

To logout of the mailing list configuration page, click the Logout button. The Logout button is located at the top of the page under Other Administrative Activities.

 

Retiring/Deleting a List

If a list owner/administrator has determined a mailing list has exceeded its usefulness, the administrator can delete the list by completing the following steps.

  1. Login to the list's admin page.
  2. Under the Other Administrative Activities section click Delete this mailing list (requires confirmation).
  3. The Permanently remove mailing list <list name> screen will be displayed warning that deleting a list is not undoable.
     
    Warning
    It is not possible to recover a deleted list, and/or list archive. You should only proceed with deleting a list if you are absolutely sure the mailing list has served its purpose and is no longer necessary. Note that list administrator's need to take into account Mailing List Policy Data Retention requirements before deleting a list.
     
  4. In the List password field enter the list's admin password.
  5. For the Also delete archives? question select Yes.
  6. Click Delete this list.

 

General List Information

You can visit the list's General List Information page by going to the top of the List Administration page. Under the Other Administrative Activities section click Go to the general list information page. From this page individuals are able to access the following options:

  • List Archives: View a list of prior postings by clicking the listname Archives button.
     
    Note
    List archives are private by default, and are only available to list members. To change the archiving options for the mailing list, the list owner can click Archiving Options link located at the top of the page under the Configuration Categories heading.
  • Posting Address: Displays the email address that all list members will use to send email messages to the list.
  • Subscribing to list: Individuals can subscribe themselves to the mailing list by completing the form and clicking Subscribe.
  • Subscribers list: By entering the email address of a list member, your list password, and clicking on Visit Subscriber List you can view a list of the current list members.

 

Need additional help or have issues

For support, requests may be submitted anytime by Requesting Support for the Mailing List service. Support Requests are worked by Priority based on the Impact and Urgency of need as well as the order they are received by the IT Employees with the knowledge and permissions to assist with the request.

For immediate assistance please review the Contact IT page for ways to contact the appropriate support group.

Details

Article ID: 312
Created
Tue 9/22/20 9:52 AM
Modified
Tue 11/1/22 1:42 PM

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