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Mailman List Administration

The full documentation can be found at (among other places) the Mailman administrators guide:

Also see:

Once UMIACS staff has created your list, they will tell you what the password is for managing this list. You'll need this password to do various list management things such as add/remove users, approve user subscription or postings for restricted lists, and tailor the list.

If staff was provided with a list of initial subscribers, these people will have already been subscribed. Tell your users that if they'd like to subscribe, they need only go to

even if the list is private (not advertised or listed).

They can also subscribe/unsubscribe by email by sending to

 LISTNAME-subscribe and LISTNAME-unsubscribe

respectively. In ALL of the above cases, the user will receive email confirming their action. They need to just reply to the mail for this to take effect.

Managing a List

To manage your list, go to:

You will be prompted for the aforementioned password. In general, most of the default settings are likely to be fine but you should know about the following capabilities and pieces of information.

  • Just because you are the list administrator doesn't mean you're subscribed to (or you have to be subscribed to) this list.
  • Under the Membership management page, you can unsubscribe users, hide their email address and more.
    • To subscribe other people, on this form, enter their addresses in the text window under the "Mass Subscription" section.
    • If a user goes on vacation, you can change the option to "nomail" for them on this form turning off mailing to that individual until he/she returns. Of course, users can do this themselves as well.
  • If a user forgets his/her password, Clicking on the users email address on this form allows you to send them an email message containing their password.
  • Under Privacy options, you can specify whether the list is visible to the world, whether subscribers require approval, who can view subscription list, who can post to the list (is it open or moderated?) and more.
  • By default, all messages are NOT archived. If you turn this on, users will be able to access them from Once turned on, you can choose whether these are available to the public or only subscribers on the Archival Options form. If the archive is private, users will need to use their subscribing password to access the archive. This archive is currently not searchable.
  • Messages sent out aren't necessarily delivered immediately; it could take up to 5 minutes.

General Settings

Most of the defaults for lists are probably fine but a number of them bear special mention. These are the options under "Privacy".

By default, NO one can see the list. If this is not the behavior you want, change the setting on the first item of the page: "Advertise this list when people ask what lists are on this machine?"

  Change this from NO to YES, On the bottom of the page, and click "Submit Your Changes".

Note that even if users can't see the list, they can still subscribe (or try to subscribe). They simply need to know the URL.

By default, anyone can subscribe to the list. (To ensure that someone can't subscribe someone else as a prank, Mailman sends a confirm email message to the users asking something like, "You have been subscribed to.... Are you sure you want to subscribe? Just REPLYing to this message will subscribe you")

If this isn't the behavior you want, click "require approval" or "confirm+approval". Approval means that you, as the list administrator, will get a message saying USER@HOST wants to subscribe. You can then approve or discard their request.

  Again, on the bottom of the page, click "Submit Your Changes".

By default, only list members can see the email addresses of other list members. Users can hide their own addresses from their list subscription page. Likewise, you can hide some users and not others from the Administrators Membership Management page.

  On the bottom of the page, click "Submit Your Changes".

You can decide to approve all posts rather than allowing list members to post by clicking "yes" on the fifth item of the privacy page, "Must posts be approved by an administrator?" This means that all posts sent to the list will go to you first. You need to either discard or allow them thru. This can be done on the "Tend to pending administrative requests" page.

  list (Not even members will be able to post)

Moderated Lists

If you want your list to be moderated (i.e. ONLY you and/or a few others can post to it), this can be set at the bottom of the "Membership Management" --> "Membership List" page. Make sure to also set this for all new members under "Privacy options" --> "Sender filters". If moderation is set, make sure the list admin (and/or whomever you want to be able to send to the list has his/her moderation bit turned off.)