Computing Facilities    links to the SCS and CMU home pages Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science Carnegie Mellon University
 
Advanced search tips 
 
 » Introduction to Facilities 
 » Accounts & passwords 
 » AFS 
 » Application software 
 » AV help 
 » Backups & restores 
 » Calendaring 
 » E-mail 
 » Networking 
 » Printing 
 » Purchasing 
 » Resource management 
 » Security 
 » Software licensing 
 » Support charges 
 » Web publishing 
 » Mac support 
 » Linux support 
 » Windows PC support 

Mailman mailing-list FAQ

Here are some commonly-asked questions — and answers — about using Mailman mailing lists in the SCS environment. To submit your own question or to request one for this list, please send email to the SCS HelpDesk, <help+@cs.cmu.edu>.

Contents

  1. How do I add new members to my list?
  2. How do I remove members from my list?
  3. How do I configure my list so that anyone can post a message?
  4. How do I configure my list so that only certain people can post a message?
  5. As list Administrator, I keep getting bounce messages whenever somebody sends a post to my list. Isn't Mailman supposed to handle these problems automagically?
  6. I have a lot of subscribers in my mailing list, and it appears that Mailman only wants to show them by first letter. How can I get a full listing?
  7. I want to moderate my mailing list
  8. How do I configure Mailman to send list messages in digest format?
  9. What is the system trying to say with an error like: "bovik@CS.CMU.EDU is not allowed to access the Administrator pages for list foo-bar"?
  10. How can I filter spam?
  11. My a question is not on this list. Where can I get more help?

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I add new members?

    To subscribe new members, go to the "General Options" page for your list and find the "Configuration Categories" section:
    1. Click the "Membership Management" link
    2. Click the "Mass Subscription" link
    3. Add new members by entering their addresses, one per line, in the text window. You can use a bare-address form, such as bovik@cs.cmu.edu, or either of three more complete forms that will also populate the list member's "Name" field automatically:
      • "Harrison Quasar Bovik" <bovik+@cs.cmu.edu>
      • (H.Q. Bovik) bovik@cs.cmu.edu
      • bovik@cs.cmu.edu (Harry Bovik)
    4. Alternately, you can upload a text file of addresses:
      1. Click on the "Browse" button below the text-entry window
      2. Specify your source file
      3. Click "OK"
    5. The Subscription tool does not verify email addresses, so review your new entries carefully before proceeding
    6. Finally, click on "Submit Your Changes"

  2. How do I remove members from my list?

    To unsubscribe list members:
    1. Go to the "General Options" page for your list and find the "Configuration Categories" section
    2. Click the "Membership Management" link
    3. Either: Scroll down to the "Membership List" section and click the "unsub" box for the relevant members
    4. Or, if you prefer the "Mass Removal" tool instead, click on its link:
      • Enter one or more email addresses in the text window
      • Alternately, you can upload a text file of addresses: Click on the "Browse" button below the text-entry window. Find the file, then click "OK."
    5. Click on "Submit Your Changes"

  3. How do I configure my list so that anyone can post a message?

    To allow unrestricted posting:
    1. Go to your list's "General Options" page, then to "Privacy Options" > "Sender Filters."
    2. Scroll to page bottom and select "Accept" next to the option "Action to take for postings from nonmembers for whom no explicit action is defined."
    3. Finally, click the "Submit Your Changes" button

  4. How do I configure my list so that only certain people can post a message?

    If, after reviewing the "Privacy Options" > "Sender Filters" section of your list's administrative pages, you still do not see a way to specify the desired behavior, you may want to define a privileged group (a mixture of members, administrators, and nonmembers) that identifies the only people allowed to post.
  5. As list administrator, I keep getting bounce messages whenever somebody sends a post to my list. Isn't Mailman supposed to handle these problems automagically?

    Mailman may be having difficulty parsing bounce messages returned by software on some destination system. Although Mailman can handle most such warnings for you, error-message formats are not standardized, and some messages can confuse the system. To alleviate the problem, you have two choices:

    • Remove the offending addresses from your membership list:
      1. Go to the "General Options" page for your list and click the "Membership Management" link
      2. When the page reloads, click the "Mass Removal" link, near where you previously clicked
      3. In the form that pops up, enter the rejected mail addresses
      4. Click the "Submit Your Changes" button
    • Turn off bounce notifications:
      1. Go to the "General Options" page for your list and click the "Bounce Processing" link at page top
      2. Scroll down to the "Bounce detection sensitivity," area and find the option "Should Mailman send you, the list owner, any bounce messages that failed to be detected by the bounce processor? ..."
      3. Select "No,"
      4. Click the "Submit your changes" button

  6. I have a lot of subscribers in my mailing list, and it appears that Mailman only wants to show my subscribers by first letter. How can I get a full listing?

    When a mailing list's membership gets large, the interface displays the member list in alphabetic chunks. To see the complete list on a single roster page:
    1. Go to the "General Options" page for your list
    2. Under "Other Administrative Activities," select "Go to the general list information page"
    3. Click on "Visit Subscriber List"

  7. I want to moderate my mailing list.

    Depending on the type of list, the amount of traffic it gets, and the amount of off-topic messages it attracts, you may wish to consider list moderation, in which all (or just some) incoming mail is held for inspection before delivery to list members.

    While moderation is an effective way to ensure that only appropriate mail propagates through the list, the tradeoffs include extra work and delays in forwarding messages. Administrators can moderate for themselves or can designate separate Moderators to handle pending mail.

    Set up Moderation options on the "Sender Filters" page under "Privacy Options."

  8. How do I configure Mailman to send list messages in digest format?

    In digest mode, incoming mail is collected and only sent out periodically in one large message called a "digest." Each new digest continues where the last one ended. While this option is not as popular as it once was, some users still appreciate receiving mailing-list traffic in large chunks this way.

    The option can be set on a per-user basis. Users can direct the Mailman server to deliver the list as a digest themselves, or the Administrator can change this setting for individual users under "Membership Management" by setting the user's "Digest" flag

  9. What is the system trying to say with an error like: "bovik@CS.CMU.EDU is not allowed to access the Administrator pages for list foo-bar"?

    This error indicates that the Kerberos instance under which you authenticated via WebISO is not listed as owner of the mailing list whose administrative pages you are attempting to access. The list's owner is shown near page bottom-left. You must go back and reauthenticate with that identity.

  10. How can I filter spam?

    Mailman's filter rules provide flexible screening of incoming mail and can be configured to look for specific headers set by the PureMessage tagging service. On encountering such headers, Mailman can take several actions. Commonly, mail is either held for Moderator review (to see if it really is spam) or simply discarded (often a useful policy for high-traffic lists). Configure your spam filters under "Privacy Options" in the "Spam Filters" subsection:

    • To catch messages that PureMessage considers spam, add a rule with:
      • Spam Filter Regexp: X-Spam-Warning:
      • Action: Discard
    • To catch virus warnings, add a rule with:
      • Spam Filter Regexp: Subject:.*PMX:VIRUS
      • Action: Discard

    For help in creating more complex filters, feel free to contact the SCS HelpDesk.

  11. My question is not on this list. Where can I get more help?

    Please contact the SCS HelpDesk, <help@cs.cmu.edu> or x8-4231, and tell us that your question was not on or not clarified by this FAQ list. Please include full mail headers if your question regards a particular Mailman message.