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Administrator's Guide


The below document will help listserv administrators become familiar with the configuration categories within the Mailman Web interface. The general options allow the administrator to specify the many ways the listserv will interact with the Web server and deliver messages to subscribers.

The public name of this list (make case-changes only).

  • This is the name by which the list will be referred to in all automatically generated messages as well as on the listing of lists available on the server. Note that this name must match the name of the list as it was created -- you may only change the case of the name in this field.

The list admin's email address - having multiple admins/addresses (on separate lines) is okay.

  • This field should contain the e-mail address of the list administrator. The list administrator will receive all administrative messages generated by the server as well as any requests that require approval (postings to moderated lists or requests to subscribe to non-open lists).
  • Note: the persons listed as administrators do not automatically receive copies of list traffic. If they want to participate in the list they must also add their address as a subscriber.

A terse phrase identifying this list.

  • This phrase will appear in two places: on the general list info page showing all of the lists hosted on the server and in the header of all messages sent through the list itself. This value is best kept short.

An introductory description - a few paragraphs about the list - will be included, as html, at the top of the list info page. Carriage returns will end a paragraph.

  • This information will be included at the top of the list info page for this list. In cases where the list info page is used to entice people to join the list you would want to use this setting to provide a detailed description of the purpose and nature of the list.

Prefix for subject line of list postings.

  • This value will be added to the beginning of the subject line of all list traffic in order to help members identify/filter list traffic. By default, the value is the name of the list enclosed in square brackets. You may modify this value to something other than the name of the list.

List-specific text prepended to new-subscriber welcome message.

  • When new users join your list or when they are added by the list manager, they receive a note welcoming them to the list and telling them about their password and list-related URLs. Text contained in this box will be prepended to the generic technical information so that you can let them know about specific procedures or protocols related to their participation in the list.

Text sent to people leaving the list. If empty, no special text will be added to the unsubscribe message.

  • This is your last chance to get a word in when people leave your list.
  • Note: in v2 of Mailman there is no way to prevent persons from leaving a list. If you are running a list where participation is mandatory (such as a course or a list of system users) you may want to include something in this area to let them know that they should not be leaving the list.

Where are replies to list messages directed? Poster is strongly recommended for most mailing lists.

  • When poster is selected, the reply-to line will be written by Mailman so that persons hitting reply in their mail program will send their response back to the individual who posted the note. When this value is set to "this list," the reply-to line will be rewritten so that persons hitting reply in their mail program will send their response back to the list itself. When this value is set to "explicit address," the Reply-To header will use the value that is provided in the field below.
  • While the program suggests that this be set to poster, you should consider the purpose of the list in selecting this value. Lists that intend to focus on discussion are best set to "list" to encourage conversation. Lists used for announcements are best set to poster to prevent unwanted traffic and the inadvertent broadcast of replies.

Explicit Reply-To: header.

  • If the reply-to header is set to "explicit address above," the value in this field will be used in all outgoing list messages.

(Administrative filter) Check postings and intercept ones that seem to be administrative requests.

  • If you activate this feature Mailman will check traffic for administrative requests that have inadvertently been sent to the list. This will prevent the classic case of a user sending a note to the entire list membership saying "unsubscribe."

Send password reminders to, eg, "-owner" address instead of directly to user.

  • This is a setting that Mailman refers to internally as the "umbrella list" setting. If your list does not actually consist of people but instead of lists (so that messages cascade from this "umbrella" down into the constituent lists) then you want this setting to be yes. This means that the password and subscription information will not be sent to all of the members of the constituent list, but instead to the list owner alone.

Suffix for use when this list is an umbrella for other lists, according to setting of previous "umbrella_list" setting. *When using your list as an umbrella list as mentioned above, this setting is what will be used to specify who the owners of the constituent lists are. While -owner is not universal, it will cover the conventions used by most of the mail list managers that are used today (and will work with Mailman lists).

Send monthly password reminders or no? Overrides the previous option.

  • When set to yes, list members will receive an automatically generated monthly posting reminding them of their password as well as the URLs to access their list configuration options. This will save the administrator time as it will let users solve a lot of their own problems.

Send welcome message when people subscribe?

  • When set to yes, people who join the list or who are added by the list administrator will receive an automatically generated welcome message with information including the list address, their password, and the URLs needed to access their list preferences.

Should administrator get immediate notice of new requests, as well as daily notices about collected ones?

  • This setting dictates the frequency with which the list administrator is told of pending administrative requests: either notes awaiting moderator approval or subscription request for controlled lists. By default the server will send a daily reminder of the pending requests. If the list owner would like more immediate notification then they should check "yes" here for immediate notice of each request.
  • The notification that you receive will include a URL that will take you to the pending administrative requests page detailed near the end of this document.

Should administrator get notices of subscribes/unsubscribes?

  • Because list membership is checked easily through the web, the list manager may not feel that it is necessary to know all the comings and goings of list members (especially on large lists with a lot of turnover). Saying yes here will tell Mailman to send a short note to the list manager for each person that is added or removed from the list.
  • Note: Mailman does not currently let the list manager block persons from leaving the list. If you are running a list for something like a course or committee, where participation is mandatory, make sure to have this set this to "yes" so you will be informed of unauthorized departures.
  • Note: If you are migrating large lists over to Mailman or if you are creating new lists using the mass subscribe feature, you may want to deactivate this initially so that the manager is not flooded with innumerable subscribe notices.

Send mail to poster when their posting is held for approval?

  • Setting this option to yes will send a short "we have your message and it is awaiting approval" note to persons whose postings are being held for approval. This is a useful "courtesy" and will help people on moderated lists from wondering why their note never showed up. This message will also be sent to non-members who attempt to post to lists that allow posting for members only.

Maximum length in Kb of a message body. Use 0 for no limit.

  • This setting will allow you to specify the maximum size of messages allowed to be passed through the list to the subscribers. This is an important security measure as it allows you to block a malicious poster from bombing everyone's list with a large file, and it prevents your server from being tied up delivering inappropriately large messages.
  • If you do not wish to have a limit on the size of messages, set this value to 0.

Host name this list prefers.

  • For multi-home hosts (systems that have different aliases) this would be the value that Mailman uses to identify itself. You should not attempt to modify this value without consulting your system administrator or Mailman may cease to work.

Base URL for Mailman web interface.

  • This is the base portion of the Mailman URL that will be prepended to all of the pointers to specific web features. You should not attempt to modify this value without consulting your system administrator or Mailman may cease to work.

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