General Guidelines for Posting Messages to a Mailing List


Information, and general best practices when sending an email message to a Mailing list.

How do I use this technology?

The following are general guidelines that should be observed when posting messages to a mailing list:

  • Meaningful Subject Line:
    When sending messages to a mailing list, please make sure that they have a clear and descriptive entry on the “Subject:” line.
  • Include a Signature:
    Please be sure to sign your full name at the bottom of your posting and include your affiliation(s) and email address. Some subscribers may receive their email messages with the header information stripped away by their local system and therefore cannot know the author of a particular posting.
  • Provide Context:
    Every posting should begin with a clear introduction to the topic, or offer some kind of reference to the topic or a previous posting. There are often several “threads” of discussion going on simultaneously, which makes unreferenced postings confusing to readers. A popular way of providing context is to quote verbatim from the original message. However, keep the quotations short and relevant. Quoting whole messages, signatures and all, can be inconsiderate.
  • Vernacular:
    Communication syntax used in one particular environment may not apply in general when you're communicating with many people through a mailing list. Be careful with the use of slang, jargon, acronyms, and regional dialects.
  • Longevity
    Consider that posts sent to mailing lists are often seen by a large audience. That may include your present, or next, supervisor. Take care in what you write. Remember that mailing lists are frequently archived, and that your words may be stored for a very long time in a place to which colleagues, and peers may have access.
  • Audience:
    Assume that individuals speak for themselves, and what they say does not represent their organization (unless stated explicitly).
  • Succinct:
    Messages should be brief and to the point. Don't wander off-topic, don't ramble, and don't send messages solely to point out other people's errors in typing, or spelling.
  • Attachments:
    Don't send large files to mailing lists (larger than 20 MB) - use your UA OneDrive for Business, or UA Google Drive and send a link to the file instead.
  • Formatting:
    Be careful with monospace fonts, and diagrams. How these are displayed are dependent upon many factors including recipients operating system, and email client software. If formatting is critical to the delivery your intended message consider attaching a small PDF file, or image.
  • Humor:
    Humor is appreciated but please remember that humor in email can easily be misinterpreted. One way to express emotion is to use smiley faces. For example: humorous 🙂 , ironic 😉 , or sad 🙁 .
  • Censorship:
    Some Mailman mailing lists are “unmoderated” lists. This means that what members post goes directly to the other members. In order to keep lists uncensored, it is important that only pertinent messages are posted to the list. Members whose messages do not meet minimum expectations will be notified, and may be excluded permanently from future participation.
  • Personal Mail:
    Just as it is important to try to share public information with the whole group, private correspondence should remain just that: private. Send personal messages directly to individuals, not by way of the list.
  • Quality of Communication:
    If you find something posted on the list objectionable, you have every right to voice your objections but you should not do so in public. Please express your complaints directly to the person responsible. If enough complaints are received, it is unlikely that the offender will post those kinds of things again. You can also, of course, simply discard/delete all mail from an offending writer. [Please note that this DOES NOT address harassment or illegal activities. Such instances should be reported to UAA Information Technology by sending email to]

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 Us page for ways to contact the appropriate support group.


Article ID: 68
Wed 4/1/20 12:30 PM
Mon 9/11/23 10:39 AM

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UAA Mailman is a web-based email distribution list manager that allows staff, faculty, and university departments and organizations to use email lists for distribution of news, upcoming events, and/or general discussion among subscribers.

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