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Introduction Mailman Thomas Krichel 2003-10-09. structure history fundamentals list configuration overview –normally the defaults are sensible –but I.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction Mailman Thomas Krichel 2003-10-09. structure history fundamentals list configuration overview –normally the defaults are sensible –but I."— Presentation transcript:

1 introduction Mailman Thomas Krichel 2003-10-09

2 structure history fundamentals list configuration overview –normally the defaults are sensible –but I will mention the most important features one needs to be aware off.

3 Listserv Listserv is a program by Eric Thomas. First version ran on IBM VM/XA architecture (yuk!) in 1986 Now commercially produced and maintained by LSoft International, see They have an exclusive trademark on the term, its use to mean "mailing list" is inappropriate.

4 At LIU… We used to run "listproc" a piece of software that started life as "Unix Listserv" by Anastasios Kotsikonas, later commercialized by CREN. Last year, following gripes by me, Mailman was adopted. –covered by GNU public license –sophisticated –user-friendly

5 Fundamentals A mailing list is a computer managed tool –it collects data about members (at least their email address) – it allows users to send mail to a list address, which is aimed to be distributed at all member of the list. Usually only members of a list are allowed to send mail to the list. This is called "posting" to the list.

6 list administrator A list administrator is a person who has full rights to manage the list. –add and remove member –set all list service parameters A list is open if anyone may become a member of the list, without approval of the list administrator. Otherwise it is closed.

7 list moderator A moderator is a person who can approve posts to the list a list is moderated if, by default, posts are held for approval, it is unmoderated otherwise.

8 digested delivery A digest is a compilation of posts sent to a list –during a dayor –when a traffic limit is reached Members may be allowed to opt for digested delivery. If you don't think that this is a good idea, then remove the digestability right when opening the list. If you do it later, all digested members will be unsubscribed.

9 open a list technically, you need to have –name of the list –email of list administrator –initial password or one will be mailed to you administratively, all this has to be approved by LIU administration.

10 web interface If your list is called list –its user web interface (aka listinfo page) will be at –and its adminstrative web interface will be at It will be protected by the password you gave or you got. Site wide user web interface is at – (what a mess!)

11 basic configuration: informative description: a terse text string that describes the list and that will appear on the site-wide web user interface introduction: a html formatted string that appears on the listinfo page prefix: a string that appears in the subject line with each mail sent to the list

12 basic configuration: replies Default reply –to poster(recommended) –to the list –to specific address If poster sets custom reply-to header –respect it(recommended) –remove it

13 base configuration: notification When users subscribe, they are being sent a password that can be used to change subscription options. Users can ask to be reminded about their password from the listinfo page. By default, Mailman will send a monthly reminder. You can switch it off if you think that it is over the top.

14 base configuration: administrivia Administrivia are the contents of short posts that request "signoff" "help" etc. They are mainly a legacy from mail command based mailing list interfaces. By default –posts will be checked for administrivia –will be held if they contain administrivia.

15 membership basics I mod set the moderation bit. If set, posts by this member are held for moderator approval hide hide member. If set, will prevent the member from appearing in member listings nomail set a member to receive no mail ack set whether a member receives an explicit acknowledgment that she has posted

16 membership basics II not metoo prevents a member from getting her own postings to the list digest if set the member will receive the post in digested form. By default, digests will be put together using the MIME protocol. plain if set, digest messages using a plain text digestion method (not recommended)

17 mass subscription and removal You can mass add or remove. Cut and paste a list of addresses, one address per line or upload a file, one address per line

18 privacy options I These have become extremely important because of all the spammers out there! You can choose not to advertise the list on the LIU Mailman site. You can close the list by requiring administrator approval for subscription. You can set a ban list of addresses that are not allowed to subscribe.

19 privacy options II You can restrict the membership list to be viewed –by members only –by list administrators only(recommended) You can choose to obfuscate mail addresses e.g. "krichel at openlib dot org" in membership lists.

20 privacy options III You can set some email addresses of non- members that are approved to post. All other non-member postings can either be –held(administrator will decide later) –rejected (explanation is sent to poster) –discarded (poster receives no reply) You should be careful with the default action. You can request that administrators receive a forward of all discarded mails.

21 privacy options IV Most spammers do not put the address of the destination in the TO: header. Requiring the list address to be mentioned in the to: or cc: header is a good defense against them. You can also set a ceiling for the maximum number of recipients of the post. But sometimes that leads to legitimate messages being held if there are extensive cross-postings.

22 privacy options V Finally, you can ban known spammers from sending mail to the list by explicitly blacklisting their addresses.

23 bounce processing If delivery to a member address failed, it is said to bounce. You can configure the bounce sensitivity of Mailman, but I wouldn't do it. –if an address bounce too much it is disabled member is still subscribed Mailman sends occasional messages to the member to check if the address works again and to invite the member to subscribe again. –if a disabled address still bounces, the member is unsubscribed.

24 archiving Mailman can be configured to keep an archive of posts. This archive can be private or public. –public means that they are on public access on the web –private means that they can only be accessed by list members using their passwords.

25 contents filtering You can set up contents filtering. You can disallow messages that have a certain MIME type. This can be very effective in preventing viruses. But I don't currently have a list most frequently used by viruses.

26 moderator requests You will be informed every 24 hours –if a message has been held for approval –if an non-member has tried to post –if there is an uncaught bounce etc, if you have opted to be informed. If you are not informed, you will not see any problem. Amount of notification requires careful planning.

27 bounce notification you can choose to be notified –if un uncaught bounce (one that mailman did not know what to do with) is received –if a member is disabled –if a member is unsubscribed on class lists, this is recommended.

28 Thank you for your attention

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