- What is an electronic Mailing List?
- What is Mailman?
- Am I eligible to get a mailing list for my group?
- Will a mailing list meet my needs?
- What mailing lists are hosted at Haverford?
- Mailman asks for a password. What do I enter?
- My List is getting a lot of spam. What can I do?
- How do I subscribe to a list?
- Can I unsubscribe myself from a list?
- The subscription page asks me to create a list password. What is this?
- I forgot my list password. Is there a way to get it?
- Can I use bold, italics or attachments in a mailing list message in Mailman?
- I get too many messages from a list. How can I get fewer messages from a list?
- What is a mail filter, and how do I use it?
- What is a digest, and how do I use it?
- Emails from a list have such long headers. Can I get rid of the extra header information?
List Administrators and Moderators
- What is a list administrator?
- I have a list of email addresses to subscribe. Is there an easy way to subscribe them at once?
- Can I preview messages before they go to my list subscribers?
- How do I moderate a post?
- My subscribers see too much spam. Can I stop this?
- What happens if a list subscriber’s email address no longer works?
- Can I have non-haverford email addresses on my mailing list?
- What’s the difference between a list administrator and a list moderator?
- Can I change who moderates my list or make someone else the administrator of my list?
- Can I change the name of my list once I have set it up?
- Can I use a mailing list for foreign language discussions?
- How can I access messages in my list archives?
- Where can I get more info on using the Mailman web interface?
- Does Mailman have an email command line interface?
Mailing List FAQ
What is an electronic Mailing List?
An electronic mailing list is a tool facilitating email correspondence to large groups. Mailing list software allows us to create lists for particular purposes. Each list corresponds to a group of people, called list subscribers, who receive messages sent to the list.
A list administrator controls who can subscribe, what features subscribers can access, and when and how emails are sent to subscribers.
What is Mailman?
Mailman is the mailing list software used at Haverford. It provides a number of options to list administrators and list subscribers. List administrators and subscribers can set options via the web. Many of these options are explained later in this FAQ.
Am I eligible to get a mailing list for my group?
Haverford’s computing centers will create lists that support the mission of the college. Request a list.
Students who would like a mailing for their student group should place a request through FIG.
What mailing lists are hosted at Haverford?
A list of lists tells you what list are available. You may subscribe to these lists and/or send messages to them, when permitted by the list administrator.
Mailman requires a password to change list subscriber preferences or administration settings, and (usually) to view list archives. If you are a list subscriber you can set one password for use with all the lists to which you subscribe. List administrators require a separate password for each list they manage.
How do I subscribe to a list?
In many cases, the list administrator will subscribe you. You can also attempt to self-subscribe to a list. Self-subscriptions may be subject to approval of the list administrator.
- Go to the list of lists.
- Select the list you would like to join.
- Fill out the form as instructed.
- If you get an email asking you to confirm your list membership, follow the instructions in that email.
Yes, if permitted by the list administrator.
- Go to the list of lists.
- Select the list you would like to unsubscribe from.
- Fill out the form as instructed.
The subscription page asks me to create a list password. What is this?
List subscribers have passwords which allows you to read list archives and change subscriber options. For example, with the subscriber password you can change your subscribed email address or set your list subscription to vacation mode.
If you subscribe to multiple lists, you may synchronize your passwords so that all of your lists respond to the same password.
I forgot my list password. Is there a way to get it?
Yes. We have a password reminder page.
I get too many messages from a list. How can I get fewer messages from a list?
You can digest message (if permitted by the list administrator) to collect all list messages from the day in one long email, or you can use your email filter tool to automatically put all list messages into an appropriate mailbox.
The subject line from Mailman list emails start with the name of the list. Here are instructions for using the filter tool in Thunderbird.
What is a digest, and how do I use it?
A digest batches all individual list emails sent during a day one long email sent at the end of the day. If permitted by your list administrator you can enable digests as follows:
- Go to the list of lists.
- Select the list you would like to digest.
- You can request a digest at the time you self-subscribe. If you wish to digest a list to which you are already subscribed, scroll to the bottom of the list subscription web page.After the test “To unsubscribe from ‘hc-listname’, get a password reminder, or change your subscription options enter your subscription email address” enter your your subscribed email address and click the unsubscribe or edit options button.
- Enter your password and log in.
- You can then turn on or off your digest option.
Emails from a list have such long headers. Can I get rid of the extra header information?
The long headers are a feature of our Mailman mailing list software. They provide helpful information about using the list. You cannot abbreviate the headers and eliminate this information.
What is a list administrator?
The list administrator is responsible for configuring and maintaining the list. As a list administrator, you are given a password which allows you to add and remove list subscribers (or permit users to subscribe and unsubscribe on their own), decide who may post to your list, and determine other list settings. You are also the contact for anyone who may have questions about the list.
I have a list of email addresses to subscribe. Is there an easy way to subscribe them at once?
Yes. You can cut and paste your email address list into our Basic List Administration Form.
Can I preview messages before they go to my list subscribers?
Yes. You may opt to have a moderated list. If you opt for a moderated list, moderators can approve deferred messages before they are sent to the greater list.
In general, lists are either moderated (messages must be approved before they go to list subscribers) or unmoderated (all messages are immediately sent to list subscribers–no approval required).
See How to Moderate a list for more information.
How do I moderate a post?
See How to Moderate a List.
What happens if a list subscriber’s email address no longer works?
The Mailman software will attempt to send list messages to all list subscribers. If it cannot deliver to an address, it will make several attempts, and eventually drop that subscriber from the list. By default, subscribers are only dropped after 5 failed attempts made over an extended period.
You may change this setting via the list administration web interface under Bounce Processing. However, we recommend leaving this setting as the default.
What’s the difference between a list administrator and a list moderator?
All lists have a list administrator. Some list also have a list moderator. Both an administrator and a moderator can subscribe and unsubscribe list subscribers, and approve or deny deferred messages. (See “Can I preview messages before they go to my list subscribers?“).
The administrator can also modify all list settings available via the list administration web interface. The moderator does not have access to the list administration tools.
In general, the list administrator also serves as the list moderator.
Can I change who moderates my list or make someone else the administrator of my list?
Yes, you change either of these settings, along with many others, via the list administration web interface.
Can I change the name of my list once I have set it up?
You can change many features of a list, but not the name. If you feel the list name is no longer appropriate for your list, you can save the list membership and request a new list. Once you have the new list, subscribe your old subscribers to it.
Can I use a mailing list for foreign language discussions?
Yes, Mailman allows lists to be published in foreign languages. However, IITS has not yet fully tested this feature, and does not yet support it.
For most lists, there is an archive of all messages sent to the list. For most lists, you can get to the archive by going to your list’s info page.
- Go to http://lists.haverford.edu and click on the name of your list.
- In the new page that appears, look for a link to the list archive in the “About [listname]” section.
- If the archive is password protected, you will need to use a password that is different from your Haverford email password. If you do not know your list password, go to the password reminder page.
Where can I get more info on using the Mailman web interface?
Mailman offers lots of options to both list administrators and list subscribers. Details on these option are described on Mailman’s web site.
For a list of options and instructions send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Help, where “listname” is the name of the list.