Mailman FAQ

 

General
Class Email Lists
Owners and Moderators
Subscribers

General

Does UW Information Technology support an automated email list processor? If so, how can I interact with it to find out about its lists, subscribe to them, and so on?

UW Information Technology maintains an automated email list processor on its central computer systems. The information below is about that central system. There are many email lists run on individual accounts and on departmental computer systems. The information here does not address those lists. If you need details about lists that are not served by UW Information Technology's Mailman server, you will need to find and contact the individuals who own those lists or manage the system where they run.

General information about the Mailman server can be found at on the Mailman home page.

If you are looking for information about a particular Mailman list, you can go to that list's information page at

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/listname/

where listname is replaced with the actual name of the list.

Interacting with lists on the Mailman server is easy and can be done using your Web browser; no email commands are required.

If you have any questions about Mailman not answered on the general information pages, send email to help@uw.edu.

How do I find a Mailman list owner at the UW?

To contact the owner of a Mailman list on the UW server, send email to listname-owner@mailman.u.washington.edu where listname is replaced with the actual name of the list. For example, to contact the owner of the RandomList list, you would send email to randomlist-owner@mailman.u.washington.edu. Your message will be automatically forwarded to the list owner.

Class Email Lists

What is the email address for my class Mailman list?

Classlists on mailman use the format SECTIONNAME_QQYY. Example: Astronomy 101, section AA in Winter Quarter 2012 will have the listname astr101a_wi12 and the corresponding email addresses astr101a_wi12@u.washington.edu and astr101a_wi12@uw.edu.

After submitting a request to create a class Mailman list you will receive an email confirmation that includes the name of the newly created list. Remember although the list has been created it will not accept lists of student email addresses until 6am the next morning.

How do I manage the standard UW class Mailman list I set up?

You will receive notification via email when your class Mailman list has been set up. That notice will include the name of the list and the administrative URL for configuring the list. The name of the list will be the email address used to post messages. The administrative URL can be accessed by using your (the list owner's) UW NetID and password.

After the list is created, it takes an overnight process in order for the students in your class/section to be added, along with any instructors and TAs listed in the Time Schedule. The subscriber information will be updated automatically on a daily basis from the class registration data. You may modify the subscribers while still maintaining the automatic updates. This means that if you manually delete a student's address even though the student is still enrolled in the class, that address will remain deleted. Additional addresses (including non-UW addresses) can also be added to the list. Mailman will "remember" which addresses have been manually added or deleted, and will adjust the automatic updates accordingly.

To use your class Mailman list

All that is necessary to distribute messages to your class is to send email addressed to listname@u.washington.edu (where you replace listname with the name of your class list). The Mailman server will mail a copy of the message to each subscriber address.

Details of your class Mailman list configuration

Mailman is a powerful system with many options. As owner you can make changes to how your list operates by accessing the admin pages for the list at:

https://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the name of your class list.

Here is a summary of the default options most people want to know about:

  • Who may post messages to the list? Only list subscribers.
  • Are postings moderated? No. Postings will be immediately distributed.
  • Will the person posting a message get a copy themselves? Yes.
  • Is the list easily found by outsiders? No. Mailman will not advertise it.
  • Could outsiders subscribe to the list if they learn of its existence? Not without approval. Subscriptions must first be approved by the list owner.
  • Could a class member unsubscribe from the list? Not without approval. All unsubscribe requests must be approved by the list owner.
  • Where are the student email addresses obtained? From the Student Database (SDB). All addresses are based on the student's UW NetID in the form of UWNetID@u.washington.edu. Departmental or non-UW email addresses are not used.
  • What if a student has an incorrect or missing email address? A missing address most likely means that they do not have an email account tied to their UW NetID and they should create one. If something is incorrect or there are other problems, the student should contact UW Information Technology.
  • Can I add, delete, or change subscribed addresses? Yes. You can manage subscribed addresses by accessing the admin pages for the list. Any changes you make to subscriptions will not be overwritten by the nightly updates.
  • Are postings to the list archived? Yes.
  • Will the list cease to exist at the end of the quarter? No. It will last one year before being automatically deleted. (e.g., lists for Autumn quarter will be removed just before the beginning of Autumn quarter the following year.)

Learning more about Mailman

There is a UW Mailman reference site available. There are starting points there for both subscribers and list owners. If you are a list owner and use a Web browser, it would be good to bookmark the owner section as a reference that should answer many questions.

When you run into problems and need assistance, send an email message with a description of the problem, and examples when possible, to help@uw.udu. We'll get the message routed to the best available consultant. If something needs immediate attention (between 8am and 5pm Monday - Friday,) call UW Information Technology at 206-221-5000.

How can I post to my class list from a different email address?

Mailman actually does not take into consideration the owner email address when deciding who to allow to post. Mailman looks at current subscriber moderation settings as well as the Sender Filters settings.

The class Mailman lists work with UW NetIDs so your @u.washington.edu address will be the address that is subscribed to the list. If you would like to post from a different email address, log on to the admin pages for the list at

https://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

(where listname is replaced with the name of your list). Then follow the links to Privacy Options > Sender Filters. Add your preferred email address to the "accept these nonmembers" setting and submit your changes. You will then be allowed to post from that address.

Can I add additional subscribers to my Mailman class list?

You can add or remove subscribers from Mailman class lists just like you would on any other Mailman list. Any changes you make will not be overwritten by the nightly updates.

To add additional subscribers to the Mailman class list, log on with your UW NetID and password to the list's administration page at:

https://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list. Once you are logged in, you should see a series of Configuration Categories at the top of the page. Click on the "Membership Management" link and then click the "Mass Subscription" link that appears below the "Membership Management" link.

Enter the addresses you want to add to the text box, one address per line. When finished, submit your changes at the bottom of the page.

Owners and Moderators

Quick, how do I stop messages from getting sent out?

If you need to quickly stop messages from being sent out to your list due to abuse or a mailing loop, log into the administrative pages for your list at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is the name of your list. Under "General Options" scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for the section titled "Additional settings". The first option under this section should be "emergency". Set this to "Yes" and submit your changes to start emergency moderation.

When this option is set, all mail sent to the list will be held for moderation. When the problem has been resolved, you can allow your list operation to go back to normal by going back and changing this option back to "No".

Who can own a Mailman list at the UW?

Mailman lists may be established for current UW students, faculty, or staff who need a list to further their work at the University. Staff ownership and use of Mailman lists is subject to the approval of their departments and supervisors.

All Mailman lists must have at least one owner who is a current UW student, faculty, or staff. Additional owners do not have to be affiliated with the UW. All Mailman list owners (including owners not affiliated with the UW) must have a valid UW NetID. UW NetIDs for non-affiliated owners can be sponsored by UW faculty or staff. UW students who own a list and who wish to have additional list owners who are not associated with the UW must find a UW faculty or staff member who is willing to sponsor a UW NetID.

Faculty and staff can request a sponsored UW NetID by sending email to help@uw.edu

How do I establish a Mailman list and learn to be a list owner?

Let's start off getting you the basic information you'll need. There is a UW Mailman reference site available. It contains information for both list owners and subscribers. If you are a list owner, it would be good to bookmark the owner section as a reference that should answer many questions.

One of the links available on the Mailman Web pages will take you to a form where you can request that a Mailman list be established for you.

Once your list has been created, you can access it via Web pages on the Mailman server. As a list owner, you can configure your list settings, add and delete members, and do other things at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list.

Your list members will be able to subscribe, unsubscribe, and update their personal subscriber settings at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/listname

When you run into problems and need assistance, send an email message to help@uw.edu with a description of the problem and examples when possible.

As a Mailman owner/moderator, how do I add or delete subscribers?

You can add and remove subscribers by going to your list's administration pages at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

(where listname is replaced by the name of your list).

After you have logged in with your UW NetID, go to "Membership Management." This should bring you to a page with a list of the subscribers. Every subscriber will have a checkbox at the left, entitled "unsub." If you wish to unsubscribe a few people, you can check the boxes and click on "Submit Your Changes."

If you have a list of email addresses that you wish to add or remove, you can go to either "Mass Subscription" or "Mass Removal," which are options under "Membership Management."

For "Mass Subscription" enter the email addresses in the text box provided, one per line. If you would like to include a name associated with each address, you can do so in the following format:

name

Don't forget to include the brackets around the email address. It is also very important that you include the full email address (in other words, don't shorten University of Washington addresses to "@u").

Alternatively, you can provide a plain text file containing the email addresses (and names if preferred). (Note: You MUST use a plain text file; it cannot be a Word or Excel file.) Type the location of the file in the "...or specify a file to upload" box or use the "Browse..." button to locate it on your computer.

For the "Mass Removal" page, just enter the email addresses you want to remove, one per line, or provide a text file. The file should contain email addresses only, one per line, with no names.

Note: You can find step-by-step instructions for adding and deleting subscribers in the owners manual.

How can I add, delete or change Mailman list owners?

As a Mailman list owner, you can add or delete owners at any time as long as there is at least one owner who is a current faculty, staff, or student at the UW and all of the owners to be added have a UW NetID. Faculty and staff can request a sponsored UW NetID for non-UW affiliated list owners by sending email to help@uw.edu

To change ownership of your list, go to your list's administration pages at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list. Log in with your UW NetID.

Under "General Options" you will find an owner setting where you can specify the email address(es) of the current list owner(s). Simply add or delete email addresses to add or remove list owners. Please note that all Mailman list owners must have a UW NetID and owner addresses are required to end in @u.washington.edu. When you are finished, click on the "Submit Your Changes" button. It is a good idea to then double-check the spelling of the owner addresses.

How do I send an email message to my list?

To send an email message to your list and have it distributed to all of your list members, use your preferred email program to compose a message to listname@u.washington.edu (or listname@uw.edu) where listname is the name of your list.

If your message is held for approval or otherwise not distributed to the list members, see the "Why are messages from the list owner moderated?" FAQ for troubleshooting advice.

How do I get rid of a Mailman list that I own at the UW?

When you are finished with the use of your list and you would like to have it deleted, fill out the Delete a Mailman List form or send email to help@uw.edu and ask that your list be deleted. Please explicitly state the name of your list. List deletion requests must be from the list owner.

Can I hide my Mailman list to make it less vulnerable to abuse?

If you would like your Mailman list to not be published on the list of public lists at http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/ you can change your list's privacy settings. To do this, log on to the administration page at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list. Once you have logged in with your UW NetID, select the "Privacy Options" link under "Configuration Categories." The first setting asks you if you want to "Advertise this list when people ask what lists are on this machine." Just set this to "No" and click on the "Submit Your Changes" button.

Note that this does not guarantee that your list will not receive spam, nor will it necessarily reduce the amount of spam your list already receives if spammers already have your list's address.

How can I avoid spam on my Mailman list?

Depending on how your list is used, you have several options for avoiding spam. The first option is to have Mailman automatically discard all messages from non-members. To do this, go to the admin pages for the list at:

https://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the name of your list. Once you have logged on with your UW NetID and password, follow the Configuration Categories links to Privacy Options > Sender filters. Set the "generic nonmember action" setting to Discard and submit your changes.

Note that you can fine tune your list to allow some specific domains to post to your list while discarding all other messages. (These domains are based on the From address of the incoming message and you should be aware that this address is often forged by spammers.) For example, if you would like addresses ending in washington.edu to be able to post to your list regardless of whether or not they are members, while still discarding all other messages from non-members, add the following entry to the "accept these non-members" setting on the Privacy Options > Sender filters page and then submit your changes:

^.*washington\.edu

Similarly, your list can be configured to only allow members to post without moderation, messages from non-members can be discarded automatically, and messages from non-member washington.edu addresses can be held for your approval. To do this, put the above entry in the "hold these nonmembers" setting rather than the "accept these nonmembers" setting.

Another option is to discard messages from specific domains. Mailman uses the From address from incoming messages when determining which domain it is from. Please be aware that the From address is often forged. To enter domains in the "discard these nonmembers" setting (in Privacy Options > Sender filters), put them in the following format:

^.*domain
e.g. ^.*msn\.com

Yet another option is to have Mailman discard messages with high spam scores. This option is under Privacy Options > Spam filters. Enter the following in the "header filter rules" setting:

X-Uwash-Spam: Gauge=XXXXXXXX

The eight Xs represent a spam score of 80%. This will discard all messages with a spam score of 80% or higher. You can adjust the number of Xs that you use for a lower or higher threshold. You are limited, however, to increases or decreases of 10%. After you add the above line to the setting, select "Discard" as your action and submit your changes. (If you want to be notified of deleted messages matching the spam filter, select "Reject" rather than Discard as your action.)

If you want to discard messages with specific words in the subject line, use the "header filter rules" setting with the following entry:

Subject: .*word

where you replace "word" with the word or phrase you want to match. Again, choose "Discard" as your action and submit your changes.

How do I limit postings to specific domains? For example, I only want UW addresses to be able to post messages to my list.

You can specify what happens to messages from non-members that come from specific domains. To do this, log on with your UW NetID and password to your list's administration page at:

https://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list.

Select the "Privacy Options" link in the Configuration Categories at the top of the page. This will expose four subsections of Privacy Options: Subscription rules, Sender filters, Recipient filters and Spam filters. Select the "Sender filters" link.

To automatically accept non-member posts from a given domain, enter the following text in the "accept these nonmembers" setting:

^.*domain$

where "domain" is replaced with the domain you want to accept. If you want to automatically accept all messages from UW email addresses, you need to specify both "washington.edu" and "uw.edu" as your domains like this:

^.*washington.edu$ ^.*uw.edu$

You can do similar things with the "hold these nonmembers," "reject these nonmembers" and "discard these nonmembers" settings. For example, if your list receives lots of spam from the xyz.com domain, enter "^.*xyz.com" in the "discard these nonmembers" setting. Messages from any address ending in xyz.com will then be automatically discarded.

Of course, depending on what you are trying to accomplish, you also need to make sure the "generic nonmember action" setting is set correctly. This setting specifies what happens to messages from non-members that do not fit any of the sender filters.

<

Don't forget to click on the "Submit your changes" button at the bottom of the screen when finished.

I want to set up a list where any message that is sent has to be approved before it goes out to everyone. How do I create and manage moderated lists?

Mailman has the ability to hold messages for owner or moderator approval prior to distributing them to list subscribers. Moderation is not a list-wide setting, but rather a per-user setting. This means that you can choose who can send messages directly to the list, and who has to wait for approval. If you prefer to have all messages moderated, there are ways you can easily do this.

Go to your list's administration pages at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

(where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list) and log in with your UW NetID.

If you decide that you would like members to have their messages moderated by default, go to "Privacy Options" then "Sender Filters." Locate the "default_member_moderation" setting and select "Yes." Then choose the action you want taken on messages sent by members. The "member_moderation_action" setting has three options: Hold, Reject, and Discard. "Hold" will hold the message for approval by the owner/moderator. "Reject" and "Discard" will both prevent the message from reaching the list, but "Reject" will send a notification to the sender, whereas "Discard" will not.

You can also set moderation for messages from non-member addresses. The "generic_nonmember_action" setting gives you four options: Accept, Hold, Reject, Discard. "Accept" means no moderation (the message will be delivered to the list members without requiring owner approval). "Hold," "Reject," and "Discard" are the same as described above.

When you have finished making changes on this page, click the button at the bottom that reads "Submit Your Changes."

If you have existing members that you would like to make moderated, go to "Membership Management." This will bring you to a screen that lists all the members of your list. The "mod" option allows you to specify whether a member's postings are moderated or not. If you would like to change the moderation setting for all members of the list, you can do so under "Additional Member Tasks" by selecting "Off" to set everybody to unmoderated, or "On" to make everybody moderated. After selecting the option you want, click the "Set" button. This changes everyone's moderation option, including the list owners if they are subscribed, so don't forget to turn off moderation for your own address by unchecking the "mod" box next to the owners' addresses and submitting your changes.

To manage a moderated list, you should go to your list's administration pages, then click on the link in the upper right: "Tend to pending moderator requests." Or you can access the pending moderator requests by going directly to:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admindb/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list. Use the "log in" link to log in with your UW NetID and password if you have one.

How do I create a list where only owners and moderators can post?

In order to do this, you must make sure that subscribers and non-subscribers cannot post. This will leave only the owners and moderators.

To reject mail from non-subscribers, first go to your list's administration pages at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is the actual name of your list and log in with your UW NetID. Click on "Privacy Options," and then at the next page, click on "Sender Filters."

The "generic_nonmember_action" option will allow you to decide what to do with mail from non-subscribers. "Reject" and "Discard" will both prevent the mail from going to the list, but "Reject" will send a notice to the sender, whereas "Discard" will be silent. Do not submit your changes yet, but do stay on this page.

You will have to do a little more work to block mail from subscribers. There is no explicit way to do this, but there is a workaround. You can make all the subscribers moderated, then define what to do with mail from moderated subscribers.

To make all members moderated, go to the top of the "Sender Filters" page. Select "Yes" for the "default_member_moderation" option, so that new members are automatically set to "mod" status. The "member_moderation_action" option will allow you to choose what you do with the mail sent by subscribers. After making your choice, you should click on "Submit Your Changes".

If your list already has subscribers, you should make sure that they are also set to "mod" status. Go to "Membership Management." Under "Additional Member Tasks," select the button that says "On" to set everyone's moderation bit and then click "Submit Your Changes." This will set all current subscribers to "mod" status.

If the owners and moderators are also subscribed to the list, you will need to change their moderation status. You can do so on the Membership List under Membership Management. Find each owner's or moderator's email address and uncheck the "mod" box. Click on the "Submit Your Changes" button before moving on to a new screen. If the owners or moderators are not subscribed to the list, follow the links to "Privacy Options" and then "Sender filters" and enter their email addresses in the "accept_these_nonmembers" setting. When finished, submit your changes.

Your list is now configured so that only owners and moderators can freely post to the list.

How do I limit postings to my list so that only subscribers can post?

Mailman allows you to choose what to do with incoming messages. Go to your list's administration pages at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced by the actual name of your list. Log in with your UW NetID.

Then click on "Privacy Options" and go to "Sender Filters." The second to last option will allow you to decide what to do with mail from non-subscribers. "Reject" and "Discard" will both prevent the mail from going to the list, but "Reject" will send a notice to the sender, whereas "Discard" will be silent.

How can I add, delete, or change Mailman list moderators?

As a Mailman list owner, you can add or delete moderators at any time. To do so, go to your list's administration pages at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list. Log in with your UW NetID.

Under "General Options" you will find a moderator setting where you can specify the email address(es) of the list moderator(s). Simply add or delete email addresses to add or remove list moderators. When you are finished, click on the "Submit Your Changes" button. It is a good idea to then double-check the spelling of the moderator addresses.

Why are messages from the list owner moderated?

Mailman does not automatically recognize messages from the list owner and distribute them without moderation. Instead, Mailman looks to see whether you are subscribed to your list and what the moderation rule is for you as a subscriber or non-subscriber.

Most often, owners whose messages are being moderated are not subscribed to their own list. To add your email address to the list, log in with your UW NetID to:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list. Go to your Membership Management section and then to Mass Subscription. Type in your name and email address in the following format:

name <email_address>

Remember that the brackets around your email address are required. When finished, click on the "Submit Your Changes" button. You should then view your Membership List and make sure that the box in the "mod" column is not checked next to your email address. If it is, uncheck it and click on the "Submit Your Changes" button.

If you do not want to subscribe to your list but you still want to be able to post messages without being moderated, go to the Privacy Options section and click on the Sender Filters link. Find the "accept_these_nonmembers" option and type your email address into the box provided. Then click on the "Submit Your Changes" button.

Send email to help@uw.edu if you have any questions.

Why am I getting moderation requests for my unmoderated list?

There are several reasons why Mailman may moderate a particular message even if your list is configured as an unmoderated list. Luckily, each moderation notice will give a reason for why the message was moderated so you don't have to guess. Here are all the reasons, a brief explanation of each, and the settings involved:

-----

Reason: Message body is too big

Explanation: Mailman will compare the size of the incoming message to the size allowed for each list. By default, any message over 40 KB is held for moderation. Any message over 3 MB will be returned to sender as undeliverable.

Setting: To control the maximum message size allowed for your list, go to General Options and look for the max_message_size setting at the bottom of the page. You can set it to 0 for the maximum allowable size of 3 MB.

-----

Reason: Post to moderated list

Explanation: Individual subscribers can be moderated (rather than having the entire list moderated for everyone). This is the reason that will be given if a moderated member sends a message to the list.

Setting: An individual's moderation can be turned on and off on the Membership List (under Membership Management). The setting that controls what is done with a message sent by a moderated member is under Privacy Options %gt; Sender filters and is called "member_moderation_action."

-----

Reason: Post by non-member to a members-only list

Explanation: This reason is given whenever a non-member tries to post to a list that is configured to only allow members to post.

Setting: The "generic_nonmember_action" setting under Privacy Options > Sender filters controls what happens to messages from non-members. It can be set to either accept messages (no moderation), hold for moderation, reject, or discard messages.

-----

Reason: Message has implicit destination

Explanation: By default, Mailman looks for the list's address in the To or Cc fields of incoming messages. If the address is not explicitly given in the To or Cc fields (e.g., if the list has been blind carbon copied or if the list is subscribed to another list to which the message was originally sent), the message will be held for approval.

Setting: You can configure the list so that the address is not required to be in the To or Cc fields by going to Privacy Options > Recipient filters and setting the "require_explicit_destination" setting to No.

-----

Reason: Too many recipients to the message

Explanation: Mailman will examine the number of email addresses listed in the To or Cc fields of incoming messages. By default, Mailman will hold for moderation any message that contains more than 10 addresses in these fields (the list's address is only one address and the number of subscribers on the list does not have an effect on this setting).

Setting: You can change the default setting for "max_num_recipients" under Privacy Options > Recipient filters. Change this setting to 0 for no limit.

-----

Reason: Message has a suspicious header

Explanation: Your Mailman list can be configured to moderate messages with specific headers (e.g., "Subject: On Vacation"). If a message contains such a header, it will be held for moderation.

Setting: The "bounce_matching_headers" setting under Privacy Options > Spam filters contains all headers that Mailman is configured to look for. You can add or delete headers from this list.

-----

Reason: Posting to a moderated newsgroup

Explanation: Your Mailman list can be configured to also send copies of messages to an existing newsgroup. You can specify whether or not that newsgroup is moderated in the MailNews Gateways section of the admin pages.

Setting: If the "news_moderation" setting under MailNews Gateways is set to Moderated, messages sent to your Mailman list will be held for moderation. Please note that even if the list is not configured to be linked to a newsgroup, the "news_moderation" setting will still affect list moderation.

How do I change the name of my Mailman list?

Mailman list names can't be changed. A new list has to be created and the old one deleted. You'll have to take care of details like transferring the subscribers file and informing anyone who used the old name of the list.

To create a new list, fill out the Mailman list request form.

Your new list will be created within two business days. When the new list is up and running, request that your old list be deleted by filling out the Delete a Mailman List form or by sending email to help@uw.edu

How do I change where replies to my list are sent?

As a Mailman list owner, you can configure your list so that replies to messages are directed to either the original sender, the entire list, or to a specific email address. The location you choose will depend on the type of list you want to have.

Replies directed to the original sender will cut down on list traffic. This may be the setting you prefer if you want to have an "announcement" type list.

Replies directed to the entire list will promote list discussions. This increases the amount of traffic on the list but it allows everybody to see the discussions.

Replies directed to an explicit address are good for announcement type lists with a parallel discussion type list. If this is the type of list you would like to have, select "Explicit address" and set the "Reply-To:" address setting to the discussion list address.

All of these settings can be found on the list administration page at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced by the actual name of your list. You will need to log in with your UW NetID to access the administration pages. You will find the "Reply-To" settings in the "General Options" section under "Reply-To: header munging".

How do I find out who is subscribed to my list?

To check current list membership, go to your list's administration page at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list. Log in with your UW NetID.

Under the "Configuration Categories" section at the top of the page, select the "Membership Management" link and you will be shown a list of your current subscribers along with their settings. If you have more than 30 subscribers on your list, the membership list will be broken down alphabetically on separate pages.

You can unsubscribe members on the Membership List page by checking the box in the "unsub" column and clicking on the "Submit Your Changes" button. You can also follow the "Mass Removal" link where you can manually enter the email addresses you wish to remove from the list.

If you would like to add people to your list, select the "Mass Subscription" link and you will be able to enter the email addresses of those people you wish to subscribe.

How can I request a list of my subscribers via email?

Mailman will send you a list of subscribers via email if your subscribers are not hidden. To request a list via email, first set a moderator password in the Passwords section of the admin pages at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the name of the list.

Then send the following command to listname-request@mailman.u.washington.edu (again where listname is replaced with the name of the list):

who password

(where password is the moderator password for the list).

Please note that you may have to change the private_roster setting under the Privacy Options > Subscription Rules section of the admin pages. If the private_roster setting is set to "List members," you must be subscribed to the list for these instructions to work. If you are an owner but not a subscriber, the private_roster setting needs to be set to "List admin only" or "Anyone." (If set to "Anyone," do not include the password in the "who" command.)

How can I view all of my subscribers on a single Webpage?

If you have more than 30 subscribers on your list and Mailman is displaying them alphabetically on separate pages of the Membership List, you can change the threshold for how many subscribers are displayed on a single page.

Log on to the admin pages for the list at:

https://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list.

Once there, follow the links to Membership Management > Membership List. At the bottom of the Membership List page, there is an "Additional Member Tasks" section. In the option to "Set a threshold of the number of members before split up alphabetically," enter a number that is larger than the number of subscribers on your list. When finished, click on the "Set" button associated with that option. All of your subscribers should now be displayed on a single Membership List page.

How do I tell subscribers what their list password is when they forget it?

As a list owner, there is no way for you to look up a subscriber's password. You can, however, direct them to the list's information page at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list.

Under the list's Subscribers section, there will be an "Unsubscribe or edit options" button next to which is a space to enter an email address. The subscriber should enter his email address and click on the button. He will then see the option of having his password sent to him via email.

Note that if the subscriber has an @u.washington.edu email address, he should be able to follow the UW login link and use his UW NetID and password.

I have several small lists that I want to subscribe to a single large list. How do I create and manage "umbrella" lists?

There are some occasions where it is helpful to have multiple lists subscribed to a single "umbrella" list. For example, the professor of a large lecture class may want to have individual lists for each of the individual sections of his class but also have a single list for the entire class. Rather than maintaining separate memberships for both the large lecture lists as well as the individual section lists, it is easier to make the lecture list an "umbrella" list.

"Umbrella" lists have other lists as their subscribers rather than individual people. To create one, create a list as you normally would by requesting one.

Once the list is created, subscribe the "sub" lists to it. For example, let's say you want an "umbrella" list called "weave101" for your basket weaving class and that you already have the following section lists created:

weave_aa
weave_ab
weave_ac

The section lists should all have individual people as the subscribers. The weave101 list, however, will have the following subscribers:

weave_aa@u.washington.edu
weave_ab@u.washington.edu
weave_ac@u.washington.edu

You'll want to configure the weave101 list to send password reminders to the "-owner" address rather than individual subscribers. This setting can be found on the list's administration page at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list. In this example, the URL would be:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/weave101

To access this page, you will need to log in with your UW NetID.

In the "General Options" section, look for the "umbrella_list" option and set it to "Yes."

One thing to note is that if a single subscriber is subscribed to more than one of the "sub" lists, they will receive multiple copies of any messages posted to the "umbrella" list. They will need to use a local mail filter to avoid multiple copies of the same post.

Can I use email commands to interact with the Mailman server?

Mailman has a limited set of commands that it will recognize via email. The majority of Mailman's options are available exclusively by the Web interface.

Commands should be sent to listname-request@mailman.u.washington.edu (where listname is replaced with the name of the list).

Mailman will recognize the following commands (note that words in "<>" are required and words in "[]" are optional. Do not include the "<>" or "[]" in the actual commands):

confirm
Confirm an action. The confirmation-string is required and should be supplied within the mailback confirmation notice.

end
Stop processing commands. Use this if your mail program automatically adds a signature file.

help
Print this help message.

info
Get information about this mailing list.

lists
See a list of the public mailing lists on this GNU Mailman server.

password [ ] [address=

Retrieve or change your password. With no arguments, this returns your current password. With arguments and you can change your password.

If you're posting from an address other than your membership address, specify your membership address with `address=

' (no brackets around the email address, and no quotes!). Note that in this case the response is always sent to the subscribed address.

Please note that if you are subscribed with an email address ending in @u.washington.edu you should use your UW NetID and password (rather than the password Mailman assigned to you for the list) to gain access to Mailman Web pages.

set ...
Set or view your membership options.

Use `set help' (without the quotes) to get a more detailed list of the options you can change.

Use `set show' (without the quotes) to view your current option settings.

subscribe [password] [digest|nodigest] [address=

]
Subscribe to this mailing list. Your password must be given to unsubscribe or change your options, but if you omit the password, one will be generated for you.

The next argument may be either: `nodigest' or `digest' (no quotes!). If you wish to subscribe an address other than the address you sent this request from, you may specify `address=

' (no brackets around the email address, and no quotes!)

unsubscribe [password] [address=

]
Unsubscribe from the mailing list. If given, your Mailman list password (NOT your UW NetID password!) must match your current password for the list. If omitted, a confirmation email will be sent to the unsubscribing address. If you wish to unsubscribe an address other than the address you sent this request from, you may specify `address=
' (no brackets around the email address, and no quotes!)

who password
See everyone who is on this mailing list. The roster may be limited to list administrators and moderators only, in which case you must supply the list admin or moderator password to retrieve the roster.

Can Mailman ignore vacation messages?

Mailman currently ignores any message marked with a "Precedence: Bulk" header which some vacation programs add to vacation messages. If the vacation message does not contain such a header, however, you will need to manually configure your Mailman list to moderate (but not ignore) certain messages based on other information such as keywords in the Subject line.

To do so, log in to your list's admin pages at:

https://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/admin/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of your list.

Once you are logged in, follow the links to the Privacy Options > Spam filters section. There you will find the "bounce_matching_headers" setting which will already contain some values. Add the following line in the text box:

Subject: .*keyword

where "keyword" is replaced with typical vacation subject line text. For example,

Subject: .*vacation

will catch all messages with the word "vacation" in the subject line. Another typical subject line for a vacation message is "Out of office" so you could also add:

Subject: .*out of .*office

Note that the ".*" needs to be included in the text - it tells Mailman that there can be additional text that you have not specified (e.g. "Out of office" as well as "I'm out of the office" will be caught by the spam filter).

When you are finished adding lines to the filter, click on the "Submit Your Changes" button at the bottom of the screen.

When a message is received by the list that matches any of the lines specified in the spam filter, Mailman holds the message so it is not distributed to the entire list and sends a moderation notice to the list owner.

Why do posts appear to be from "listname-bounces@mailman.u.washington.edu on behalf of" the sender rather than from the sender's actual email address?

When a message is sent to a Mailman list, Mailman adds a Sender header that looks like this:

Sender: listname-bounces@mailman.u.washington.edu [listname-bounces@mailman.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of name of sender

Some email programs such as MS Outlook read this Sender header rather than the original From header but label it as the From header. Only people using MS Outlook (or other programs that behave in the same way) will see the From line in this way. Most programs will display the correct From line with the original sender's name and address.

Why are my message header and footer appearing as attachments?

The display of the footer depends on the email client being used to view the message and also whether or not there are any attachments on the message. If Mailman receives a message with MIME parts (generally attachments such as Word files but could be an html or rich text formatted message without any attachments), the header and footer will be added as additional MIME parts. How those are displayed, however, will depend on the email client you are using to view them. Here are some examples:

  1. Unix Pine: header appears as message body (although it is also labeled as a MIME part); body appears as attachment (although it is also displayed as part of the body); the footer appears as attachment (although it is also displayed as part of the body)
  2. Outlook: message header not displayed or attached; message body is in the body; footer is an attachment.
  3. Gmail: displays message header, body, and footer all as part of the message body with no indication of any attachments.

The easiest solution to this problem is to send plain text messages to your list.

Subscribers

How do I subscribe to a Mailman list at the UW?

To subscribe to a mailing list on Mailman, you need to use a Web browser to open the list's information page. You can access the directory of public lists here.

Every mail list on the server, both public and private, has its own list information page. The lists included on the above page are only those lists that are public. To access a private list, you will need to know the exact list name. You can type the name in the URL like this:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/listname

For example, if you want to access the list information page for the list demo, you would go to:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/demo

Once you have accessed the list's information page, you should see a section that will allow you to subscribe to the list. If you have a UW NetID, use the "Log in" button provided. Otherwise, type your email address and a password. The password that you select should be only for this mailing list.

When you fill out the form, you will be given the option of receiving mail from the list in digest format. The digest format will result in you receiving a single message from the list each day with all of the messages bunched together rather than receiving them individually. If you later decide you want to change your digest option, you can do so.

Once you have filled in the information requested in the "Subscribing" section, click on the "Subscribe" button. If the list has been set up to require owner approval for subscriptions, you will have to wait until the list owner approves your subscription request. Otherwise, Mailman will send an email message to your email address. The message that you receive will ask you to confirm your subscription request. This helps to prevent other people from adding you to a list without your permission. When you receive the confirmation request, simply reply to the message. You do not have to add any additional text and you should not modify the subject line.

After successfully subscribing to the list, Mailman will probably send you a welcome message (list owners can configure their list so that welcome messages are not sent). The message will include the URL that will direct you to the list's information page, a URL that will direct you to your personal settings page, and your list password (if you logged in with your UW NetID, you can ignore the list password). You should keep the welcome message for future referral. You will need the information contained in it if you ever want to modify your personal settings on the list or unsubscribe.

How do I unsubscribe from a Mailman list at the UW?

To unsubscribe from a Mailman mailing list at the UW, go to the list's information page at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/listname

where listname is replaced with the list's actual name.

If you are subscribed to the list with an @u.washington.edu address, use the "Log in" button to log in with your UW NetID.

Under the list's "Subscribers" section you will see an "Unsubscribe or edit options" button next to which you can enter your email address. If you logged in with your UW NetID, your address should be filled in for you. Otherwise, enter the email address with which you are subscribed to the list and click on the button. This will take you to the list's "Membership Configuration" page where you can change your membership options, unsubscribe to the list, or request a password reminder. By clicking on the "Unsubscribe" button, a confirmation message will be emailed to you. The message will have a URL that you can go to in order to complete the removal process. (There will also be instructions on how to confirm your unsubscribe request by email.) This confirmation step ensures that you will not be removed from the list by someone other than yourself or the list owner.

How can I find my subscriber password?

If you are subscribed to the list with an @u.washington.edu address, you can use your UW NetID and password. Otherwise, you will need to know your subscriber password.

To get your password for a Mailman list, go to the list's information page at:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/listname

where listname is replaced with the list's actual name.

Under the list's Subscribers section you will see an "Unsubscribe or edit options" button next to which you can enter your email address. Enter the email address with which you are subscribed to the list and click on the button. This will take you to the list's "Membership Configuration" page where you can change your membership options, unsubscribe to the list, or request a password reminder. By clicking on the "Remind" button at the bottom of the page, your list password will be emailed to you.

What are some general guidelines for posting messages to lists?

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.
  • 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 UW Information Technology by sending email to help@uw.edu]

How can I post messages to a list from multiple email accounts?

If the list to which you are subscribed restricts postings to subscribers, any account from which you post messages will need to be subscribed or added to a sender filter. To have your alternate email address(es) added to the sender filter, contact the list owner at listname-owner@mailman.u.washington.edu, provide your alternate email address(es), and ask that they be added to the accept these nonmembers sender filter.

Your other option is to subscribe your alternate email addresses. You can subscribe your other accounts at the list's information page:

http://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of the list.

After you subscribe, you will want to edit the options for your subscribed addresses so that only one of them will receive postings from the list. At the very bottom of the listinfo page for the list, there should be a line that begins with "To unsubscribe from...". At this point, you should decide which addresses should receive postings and which should not. Take one that should not, and enter it as directed. Click on the button that says "Unsubscribe or edit options." You will then be asked for your list Password. If you entered an @u.washington.edu email address, follow the link to the UW login and log in with your UW NetID and password. Otherwise, enter your subscriber password.

At the next screen, scroll down until you see "Your listname Subscription Options." Under "Mail Delivery," check the button that says "Disabled." Then scroll down and click on the button that says "Submit My Changes."

You should repeat this process for any email addresses that you do not want postings sent to, but would like to be able to send postings from.

Why do my daily Mailman digests have unreadable text in them?

Mailman subscribers can choose to receive either plain text or MIME formatted digests. If your subscription is set to receive a plain text digest, any MIME formatted messages or attachments that are sent to the list will show up as random characters in your digest. The solution is to change your subscription to receive MIME formatted digests.

To change the type of digest you are receiving, go to the list's information page at:

https://mailman.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/listname

where listname is replaced with the actual name of the list. Log in with your UW NetID and password or fill in your email address next to the "Unsubscribe or edit options" button at the bottom of the page, then click on this button. If you did not log in with your UW NetID and password, you will need to enter your Mailman password. On the membership configuration screen, scroll down until you see the "Get MIME or Plain Text Digests?" box. Choose MIME (if you also choose "Set globally," all of your Mailman subscriptions will be changed) and then click on the "Submit My Changes" button at the bottom of the screen.

Can I use email commands to interact with the Mailman server?

Mailman has a limited set of commands that it will recognize via email. The majority of Mailman's options are available exclusively by the Web interface.

Commands should be sent to listname-request@mailman.u.washington.edu (where listname is replaced with the name of the list).

Mailman will recognize the following commands (note that words in "<>" are required and words in "[]" are optional. Do not include the "<>" or "[]" in the actual commands):

confirm
Confirm an action. The confirmation-string is required and should be supplied within the mailback confirmation notice.

end
Stop processing commands. Use this if your mail program automatically adds a signature file.

help
Print this help message.

info
Get information about this mailing list.

lists
See a list of the public mailing lists on this GNU Mailman server.

password [ ] [address=

]
Retrieve or change your password. With no arguments, this returns your current password. With arguments and you can change your password.

If you're posting from an address other than your membership address, specify your membership address with `address=

' (no brackets around the email address, and no quotes!). Note that in this case the response is always sent to the subscribed address.

Please note that if you are subscribed with an email address ending in @u.washington.edu you should use your UW NetID and password (rather than the password Mailman assigned to you for the list) to gain access to Mailman Web pages.

set ...
Set or view your membership options.

Use `set help' (without the quotes) to get a more detailed list of the options you can change.

Use `set show' (without the quotes) to view your current option settings.

subscribe [password] [digest|nodigest] [address=

Subscribe to this mailing list. Your password must be given to unsubscribe or change your options, but if you omit the password, one will be generated for you.

The next argument may be either: `nodigest' or `digest' (no quotes!). If you wish to subscribe an address other than the address you sent this request from, you may specify `address=

' (no brackets around the email address, and no quotes!)

unsubscribe [password] [address=

]
Unsubscribe from the mailing list. If given, your Mailman list password (NOT your UW NetID password!) must match your current password for the list. If omitted, a confirmation email will be sent to the unsubscribing address. If you wish to unsubscribe an address other than the address you sent this request from, you may specify `address=
' (no brackets around the email address, and no quotes!)

who password
See everyone who is on this mailing list. The roster may be limited to list administrators and moderators only, in which case you must supply the list admin or moderator password to retrieve the roster.

Why do posts appear to be from "listname-bounces@mailman.u.washington.edu on behalf of" the sender rather than from the sender's actual email address?

When a message is sent to a Mailman list, Mailman adds a Sender header that looks like this:

Sender: listname-bounces@mailman.u.washington.edu [listname-bounces@mailman.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of name of sender

Some email programs such as MS Outlook read this Sender header rather than the original From header but label it as the From header. Only people using MS Outlook (or other programs that behave in the same way) will see the From line in this way. Most programs will display the correct From line with the original sender's name and address.

Last modified: January 21, 2014