List Configuration Options

Configuration Option Screens

Mailman has an extensive set of configuration options available to list owners.

To configure these options:

  1. StepsActions
  2. 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).

  3. Click on the "log in" link to log in with your UW NetID and password.

    By default, you start at the General Options page. 

    At the top of the screen, you should see a menu with links to the following Configuration Categories:

    Note: There are sub-categories for Membership Management and Privacy Options. These sub-categories are made available on the menu when you enter the parent category.

  4. Select the link to a specific configuration option for additional information.
  5. Make desired changes.
  6. When finished making changes, click the "Submit Your Changes" button.

Email help@uw.edu with any questions.

Configuration Settings Explained

Here is a description of each configuration setting available to you as a list owner under your list administration pages. Note that these settings are available in Mailman version 2.1.5 on UW Information Technology's servers. Other versions of Mailman may differ.

Configuration Setting Explanation
General Options
real_name
The public name of this list.
This is how the name of your list will appear. You can make case changes only. For example, you can change your list name from Uwsports to UWsports.
owner
The list administrator's email address(es).
This field contains the list owner's email address(es). For multiple addresses, enter each one on a separate line. Each owner address must end in @u.washington.edu.
moderator
The list moderator's email address(es).
This field contains the list moderator's email address(es). Moderators can approve or reject list subscriptions and postings if the list is configured in that way. For multiple moderators, enter each address on a separate line.
description
A terse phrase identifying this list.
The description appears on the list information page and in the List-ID header included with each message sent to the list. The description here should be short. You can include more detailed information in the info setting.
info
An introductory description about the list.
This information is included at the top of the list information page for the list. You can use this setting to provide detailed information about the list.
subject_prefix
Prefix for subject line of list postings.
This entry will be placed at the beginning of the subject line for all messages sent to the list. For example, you can have the subject line of each posting start with your listname in brackets like this:
Subject: [UWSports] meeting Tuesday!
anonymous_list
Hide the sender of a message, replacing it with the list address.
If set to an anonymous list, the list's address will appear in both the To and From fields of list messages, rather than displaying the original sender's email address. The original From, Sender and Reply-To fields will be removed. Note that configuring your list as anonymous will result in all replies being directed back to the list's address.
reply_goes_to_list
Where are replies to list messages directed?
Choose whether you want the default setting for replies to list messages to be the original poster, the list, or a specific email address. If you want your list to be used for discussions, setting this option to This list is probably best.
reply_to_address
Explicit Reply-To: header.
If you set the reply_goes_to_list setting to Explicit address, specify the address here.
umbrella_list
Send administrative notices to "-owner" address instead of directly to user.
If your list is an "umbrella" list, meaning it has other lists rather than individual user addresses as its subscribers, set this setting to Yes. If your list has other lists as well as individuals subscribed, you do not need to configure it as an umbrella list. This setting affects where administrative notices intended for subscribers (e.g. welcome messages) are sent.
welcome_msg
List-specific text prepended to new-subscriber welcome message.
When new users are added to the list (either by subscribing themselves or being added by the list owner), they are sent a welcome message (if you want them to -- see send_welcome_msg). Any text you enter in this setting will be included in the welcome message.
send_welcome_msg
Send welcome message to newly subscribed members?
You can choose whether or not new subscribers are sent the welcome message. You can customize the text of the welcome message in the welcome_msg setting.
goodbye_msg
Text sent to people leaving the list.
When a user leaves the list or is removed by the list owner, the user will be sent a "goodbye message" (if your list is configured to do so -- see send_goodbye_msg). Any text added in this setting will be included in the message. If left blank, no text will be added to the generic unsubscribe message.
send_goodbye_msg
Send goodbye message to members when they are unsubscribed?
You can choose whether or not users who are leaving the list are sent a message when they unsubscribe. You can customize the text of the goodbye message in the goodbye_msg setting.
admin_immed_notify
Should the list moderators get immediate notice of new requests, as well as daily notices about collected ones?
List owners and moderators are sent daily reminders of requests pending approval. These may include subscriptions or postings that are being held for approval. Setting this option causes notices to be sent immediately on the arrival of new requests in addition to the daily reminder.
admin_notify_mchanges
Should administrator get notices of subscribes and unsubscribes?
If set to Yes, you will be notified when a person subscribes to or unsubscribes from your list.
respond_to_post_requests
Send mail to poster when their posting is held for approval?
If set to Yes, members will be notified whenever a message they send to the list is held for approval.
emergency
Emergency moderation of all list traffic.
If set to Yes, all incoming email messages which would normally be distributed to the list will be automatically held for approval. This setting does not affect messages that would normally be rejected or discarded.
new_member_options
Default options for new members joining this list.
These are the initial options set for members when they are subscribed to your list. These settings can be updated on an individual basis after the individual is subscribed.
administrivia
Check postings and intercept ones that seem to be administrative requests?
Administrivia tests will check postings to see whether they are really meant as administrative requests such as subscribing or unsubscribing. If the postings are administrative requests, they will be held for approval and the owner will be notified.
max_message_size
Maximum length in kilobytes (KB) of a message body.
Set the maximum message size limit for your list. This can help you control the posting of attachments to your list. Any message sent to the list that is over the maximum message size will be held for approval. Set to 0 for the system-wide maximum (currently 10 MB).
Passwords
moderator password Set the moderator password for those moderators not using their @u.washington.edu email address. Moderators who are listed with their @u.washington.edu can log in with their UW NetID and therefore no separate moderator password is needed for them.
Membership Management
Membership List Displays a list of your current members as well as their membership options.
Mass Subscription Subscribe new members to your list using this page.
Mass Removal Remove members from your list using this page.
Non-Digest Options
nondigestible
Can subscribers choose to receive mail immediately, rather than in batched digests?
Choose whether subscribers should be able to receive individual messages as they are sent to the list or if they should be limited to digests only.
msg_header
Header added to mail sent to regular list members.
This text will be added to the top of every message sent to the list (including digests). This can be regular text or Python format strings. For example, if you want to include the description of your list at the top of every message that is sent out, you would specify the following Python format string

%(description)

in the msg_header area.

msg_footer
Footer added to mail sent to regular list members.
This text will be added to the bottom of every message sent to the list (including digests). This can be regular text or Python format strings. By default, list messages have the following footer:

_______________________________________________
%(real_name)s mailing list
%(real_name)s@%(host_name)s
%(web_page_url)slistinfo%(cgiext)s/%(_internal_name)s

Digest Options
digestible
Can list members choose to receive list traffic bunched in digests?
Setting this option to Yes will allow users to choose between digests and individual messages. If your list gets a lot of traffic, some members may prefer to receive their messages in digest format. If messages sent to your list may be considered time-sensitive, you may not want members to receive digests. Please note that you should not rely on the Mailman server to deliver messages immediately if you are trying to distribute time-sensitive material.
digest_is_default
Which delivery mode is the default for new users?
Choose whether you want new subscribers to receive individual messages (Regular) or digests by default. Members can change their own settings once they are subscribed.
mime_is_default_digest
When receiving digests, which format is default?
Members can choose between MIME formatted or plain text digests. Here you are specifying which one they will receive by default. MIME digests will include any attachments sent to the list whereas plain text digests will not include the attachments.
digest_size_threshold
How big in KB should a digest be before it gets sent out?
Mailman will collect list messages to be distributed in a digest until the threshold is reached. For lists with heavy traffic, this may result in the digest being sent out to those members who have elected to receive it multiple times in a day. This can be useful since a large digest with too many messages can seem unmanageable. On the other hand, list members may prefer to receive only a single daily digest regardless of size, in which case this setting should be set to a larger size threshold.
digest_send_periodic
Should a digest be dispatched daily when the size threshold isn't reached?
If set to Yes, Mailman will send out a daily digest at noon even when the threshold for the digest size has not been reached. This is good for lists with low traffic to ensure that subscribers don't go days or even weeks before receiving their digest.
digest_header
Header added to every digest.
This text will be added to the top of each digest in the same way the msg_header text is added to non-digest messages.
digest_footer
Footer added to every digest.
This text will be added to the bottom of each digest in the same way the msg_footer is added to non-digest messages.
digest_volume_frequency
How often should a new digest volume be started?
You can choose to have a new digest volume started yearly, monthly, quarterly, weekly or daily. When a new digest volume is started, the volume number increases by 1 and the issue number is reset to 1.
new_volume
Should Mailman start a new digest volume?
You can bypass the digest_volume_frequency setting and start a new digest volume with the next digest that is sent out.
send_digest_now
Should Mailman send the next digest right now, if it is not empty?
Setting this option instructs Mailman to send the next digest to list members now rather than waiting for the size threshold to be reached or for the next daily digest if digest_send_periodic is set to Yes.
Privacy Options - Subscription Rules
advertised
Advertise this list when people ask what lists are on this machine?
Set this option to Yes if you want your list to appear on the general Mailing Lists page.
subscribe_policy
What steps are required for subscription?
When someone wants to subscribe to your list, should an email confirmation from the user be required; should the list owner have to approve the subscription; or should both a confirmation from the user and an approval by the list owner be required?
unsubscribe_policy
Is the list moderator's approval required for unsubscription requests?
When members want to leave your list, should it require your approval? No is recommended for most lists.
ban_list
List of addresses that are banned from membership in this mailing list.
Addresses in this list are banned outright from subscribing to this mailing list, with no further moderation required. Add addresses one per line; start the line with a ^ character to designate a regular expression match, e.g. for matching entire domains.
private_roster
Who can view subscription list?
Choose who should be allowed to view the subscription list from the list information page or via email commands. When set, the list of subscribers is protected by member or admin password authentication.
obscure_addresses
Show member addresses so they're not directly recognizable as email addresses?
Setting this option causes member email addresses to be transformed when they are presented on list Web pages so they are not trivially recognizable as email addresses. The intention is to prevent the addresses from being harvested by automated Web scanners for use by spammers.
Privacy Options - Sender Filters
default_member_moderation
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. Set this option to No to accept member postings by default. Set this option to Yes to moderate member postings first. You can always manually set an individual member's moderation bit by using the Membership List page.
member_moderation_action
Action to take when a moderated member posts to the list.
Choose whether postings from moderated members should be held for approval by the list owner/moderator; automatically rejected with a note being sent back to the member (see member_moderation_notice; or discarded with no notice sent to the member.
member_moderation_notice
Text to include in any rejection notice to be sent to moderated members who post to this list.
If member_moderation_action is set to Reject messages sent by moderated members, you can specify the text of the rejection notice here.
accept_these_nonmembers
List of non-member addresses whose postings should be automatically accepted.
Postings from any of these non-member addresses will be automatically accepted (unless the message triggers another moderation rule except for default_member_moderation). Add member addresses one per line; start the line with a ^ character to designate a regular expression match.
hold_these_nonmembers
List of non-member addresses whose postings will be immediately held for moderation.
Postings from any of these non-member addresses will be automatically held for moderation, regardless of how default_member_moderation is set. Add member addresses one per line; start the line with a ^ character to designate a regular expression match.
reject_these_nonmembers
List of non-member addresses whose postings will be automatically rejected.
Postings from any of these non-members will be automatically rejected deleted and the sender will be notified of the rejection. This option is not appropriate for known spam senders; their messages should be automatically discarded (see discard_these_nonmembers). Add member addresses one per line; start the line with a ^ character to designate a regular expression match.
discard_these_nonmembers
List of non-member addresses whose postings will be automatically discarded.
Postings from any of these non-members will be automatically discarded. That is, the message will be thrown away with no further processing or notification. The sender will not receive a notification or a bounce, however the list moderators can optionally receive copies of auto-discarded messages (see forward_auto_discards). Add member addresses one per line; start the line with a ^ character to designate a regular expression match.
generic_nonmember_action
Action to take for postings from non-members for which no explicit action is defined.
When a post from a non-member is received, the message's sender is matched against the list of explicitly accepted, held, rejected (bounced), and discarded addresses. If no match is found, then this action is taken.
forward_auto_discards
Should messages from non-members, which are automatically discarded, be forwarded to the list moderator?
Set this to Yes if you would like the list owner(s) and moderator(s) to be notified when messages from non-members are automatically discarded.
Privacy Options - Recipient Filters
require_explicit_destination
Must posts have list named in destination (To, Cc) field (or be among the acceptable alias names)?
Most spam messages do not explicitly name their destinations in the To or Cc fields. By setting this option to Yes, you will catch all such messages that do not have the list address viewable in the To or Cc fields and those messages will be held for approval. The cost is that the list will hold for approval any postings (even legitimate ones) that are blind carbon copied or addressed to other addresses that then forward to the list address (such as other lists to which your list is subscribed). If your list is subscribed to another list, you can add that list's address in the acceptable_aliases setting to bypass this setting.
acceptable_aliases
Alias names that qualify as explicit To or Cc destination names for this list.
Alternate addresses that are acceptable when require_explicit_destination is enabled. This option takes a list of addresses, one per line, that are matched against every recipient address in the To or Cc fields of the incoming message. If a match is found, the message will not be held because of an "implicit destination" (see require_explicit_destination).
max_num_recipients
Ceiling on acceptable number of recipients for a posting.
If a posting has this number, or more, of addresses in the To or Cc fields, it is held for administrator/moderator approval. Use 0 for no ceiling. Note that this refers to the number of addresses listed in the To or Cc fields of the incoming message, not the number of subscribers on the list.
Privacy Options - Spam Filters
header_filter_rules
Filter rules to match against the headers of a message.
Specify filters to match against particular headers and perform a specified action on messages that match. Each header filter rule has two parts: A list of regular expressions and an action to take. The regular expressions will be matched against a message's headers and if any matches occur, the specified action will be taken. You can choose to Defer (temporarily disable the filter rule), hold, reject, discard, or accept the message. You can have multiple filter rules for your list; each one will be matched in turn so order does matter.
bounce_matching_headers
Hold posts with header value matching a specified regular expression.
Use this option to hold posts with matching headers. The target value is a regular expression for matching against the specified header. For example, you can use this setting to hold all messages with the word "vacation" in the subject line by entering the following:

Subject: .*vacation.*

Bounce Processing
bounce_score_threshold
The maximum member bounce score before the member's subscription is disabled.
Each time a message bounces from a member's address, the member is assigned a bounce score. This value determines what level a member's bounce score can reach before the membership is disabled. If set to a high number, more bounced messages to a subscriber's address are allowed before that address is disabled.
bounce_info_stale_after
The number of days after which a member's bounce information is discarded if no new bounces have been received in the interim.
If no new bounce messages are received from the member for the number of days specified in this setting, their bounce information will be considered stale and will be discarded.
bounce_you_are_disabled_warnings
How many Your Membership Is Disabled warnings a disabled member should get before their address is removed from the mailing list.
This setting works in conjunction with the bounce_you_are_disabled_warnings_interval setting. The subscriber whose mail is bouncing will receive the specified number of warnings in the specified period of time before being unsubscribed from the list. Set to 0 to immediately remove an address from the list once their bounce score exceeds the threshold.
bounce_you_are_disabled_warnings_interval
The number of days between sending the Your Membership Is Disabled warnings.
This setting works in conjunction with the bounce_you_are_disabled_warnings setting. The subscriber whose mail is bouncing will receive the specified number of warnings in the specified period of time before being unsubscribed from the list.
bounce_notify_owner_on_disable
Should Mailman notify the list owner when bounces cause a member's subscription to be disabled?
By setting this value to No, you turn off notification messages that are normally sent to the list owners when a member's delivery is disabled due to excessive bounces. An attempt to notify the member will always be made.
bounce_notify_owner_on_removal
Should Mailman notify the list owner when bounces cause a member to be unsubscribed?
By setting this value to No, you turn off notification messages that are normally sent to the list owners when a member is unsubscribed due to excessive bounces. An attempt to notify the member will always be made.
Archiving Options
archive
Archive messages?
Do you want messages posted to the list to be archived for later retrieval?
archive_private
Is archive file source for public or private archival?
If you select Private, the archived messages will be password protected so that only list members can access them. Public archives are not password protected and anyone, including non-members, can access them. The contents of public archives will also turn up in a Web search (e.g. Google).
archive_volume_frequency
How often should a new archive volume be started?
You can choose whether you want a new archive volume started yearly, monthly, quarterly, weekly, or daily.
Mail to News Gateways
nntp_host
The Internet address of the machine your News server is running on.
Mailman does not have its own NNTP server so you need to specify one here if you would like your list to be linked with a newsgroup.
linked_newsgroup
The name of the Usenet group to gateway to and/or from.
A Usenet group must already exist in order to use the Mailman list to newsgroup gateway. You can specify the name here.
gateway_to_news
Should new posts to the mailing list be sent to the newsgroup?
This setting controls whether or not messages sent to the Mailman list are also posted to the newsgroup.
gateway_to_mail
Should new posts to the newsgroup be sent to the mailing list?
This setting controls whether or not messages sent to the newsgroup are also posted to the Mailman list.
news_moderation
The moderation policy of the newsgroup.
This setting determines the moderation policy of the newsgroup and its interaction with the moderation policy of the Mailman list. This setting only applies to messages sent to the Mailman list that are being gatewayed to the newsgroup (rather than being sent directly to the newsgroup). If you are not gatewaying from a Mailman list to a newsgroup or the newsgroup you are gatewaying to is not moderated, set this option to None.

If the newsgroup is moderated, the Mailman list can be configured to be the moderation address for the newsgroup. By selecting Moderated, all messages posted to the Mailman list will have to be approved before being sent on to the newsgroup or to the members of the Mailman list.

If the newsgroup is moderated but you do not want the Mailman list to be moderated, select Open list, moderated group. Mailman will then follow the rules for moderation that are set in Privacy Options but messages being gatewayed to the newsgroup will need to be moderated.

news_prefix_subject_too
Prefix Subject: headers on postings gated to news?
Mailman prefixes Subject: headers with customized text (specified in the subject_prefix setting under General Options). This prefix will show up in messages gatewayed to the newsgroup unless this option is set to No.
mass_catchup
Should Mailman perform a catchup on the newsgroup?
When you tell Mailman to perform a catchup on the newsgroup, messages will begin to be gatewayed to the Mailman list with the next new message found. All current messages on the newsgroup are ignored so Mailman list members will not see any current or old messages from the newsgroup (only new ones).
Auto-Responder
autorespond_postings
Should Mailman send an auto-response to mailing list posters?
You can have Mailman send out an automatic reply to anyone who posts to the list. If you do so, you also need to specify the text of the autoresponse message in the autoresponse_postings_text setting.
autoresponse_postings_text
Auto-response text to send to mailing list posters.
If autorespond_postings is set to Yes, specify the text of the autoresponse message with this setting.
autorespond_admin
Should Mailman send an auto-response to emails sent to the -admin and -owners addresses?
This option is similar to the autorespond_postings option except that it only regards messages sent to -admin and -owner addresses rather than messages posted to the list. If set to Yes, you also need to specify the text of the autoresponse message in the autorespond_admin_text setting.
autoresponse_admin_text
Auto-response text to send to -admin and -owner emails.
If autorespond_admin is set to Yes, specify the text of the autoresponse message here.
autorespond_requests
Should Mailman send an auto-response to emails sent to the -request address?
Choose whether Mailman should send an auto-response to emails sent to the -request address. If you choose Yes, also decide whether you want Mailman to discard the original email or forward it on to the system as a normal mail command.
autoresponse_request_text
Auto-response text to send to -request emails.
If autorespond_requests is set to Yes, specify the text of the autoresponse message here.
autoresponse_graceperiod
Number of days between auto-responses to either the mailing list or -admin/-owner address from the same poster.
How often should a person receive an autoresponse message when they post to the mailing list or the -admin/-owner addresses? Set to 0 for no grace period (i.e. auto-respond to every message).
Content Filtering
filter_content
Should Mailman filter the content of list traffic according to the settings below?
If you want Mailman to filter the content of list traffic, set this setting to Yes. If set to No, all other settings under Content Filtering will be ignored.
filter_mime_types
Remove message attachments that have a matching content type.
Use this option to remove each message attachment that matches one of these content types.
pass_mime_types
Remove message attachments that don't have a matching content type. Leave this field blank to skip this filter test.
Use this option to remove each message attachment that does not have a matching content type.
convert_html_to_plaintext
Should Mailman convert text/html parts to plain text? This conversion happens after MIME attachments have been stripped.
Mailman will attempt to convert html attachments to plain text.
filter_action
Action to take when a message matches the content filtering rules.
This action is taken when the message matches one of the content filtering rules and the message ends up empty. This action will not be taken if the message still contains content. When messages are discarded, a log entry is written containing the Message-ID of the discarded message. When messages are rejected or forwarded to the list owner, a reason for the rejection is included in the bounce message to the original author. When messages are preserved, they are saved in a special queue directory on disk for the site administrator to view (and possibly rescue) but otherwise discarded. This last option is only available if enabled by the site administrator.
Topics
topics_enabled
Should the topic filter be enabled or disabled?
The topic filter categorizes each incoming email message according to regular expression filters you specify in the topics setting. If the message's Subject: or Keywords: header contains a match against a topic filter, the message is logically placed into a topic "bucket." Each user can then choose to only receive messages from the mailing list for a particular topic bucket(s).
topics_bodylines_limit
How many body lines should the topic matcher scan?
The topic matcher will scan this many lines of the message body looking for topic keyword matches. Body scanning stops when either this many lines have been looked at, or a non-header-like body line is encountered. By setting this value to zero, no body lines will be scanned; only the Keywords and Subject headers will be scanned. By setting this value to a negative number, then all body lines will be scanned until a non-header-like line is encountered.
topics
Topic keywords, one per line, to match against each message.
Each topic keyword is actually a regular expression, which is matched against certain parts of a mail message, specifically the Keywords and Subject message headers.

Last modified: May 21, 2014