Majordomo List Owners guide Managing a Local Mailing List A brief explanation of how to setup, operate and configure a majordomo mailing list. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Introduction Starting up a list Using MajorCool Your list password Adding information and introduction files List membership o Beware inconsistent mail addresses! 7. Configuring your list o Default list configuration o Restricted lists o Moderated lists o Customising postings to the list o Other useful settings 8. Posting messages to your list 9. Approving bounced messages
1. Introduction Majordomo is a mailing list management program, providing facilities for list owners to setup, operate and configure an e-mail discussion list. This guide gives you an overview of these facilities and how to use them.
2. Starting up a list The Directorate acts as the central majordomo administrator, authorising and creating new lists on request. Only members of staff, research students (on behalf of a research project) and student societies are eligible to own lists – the facility is not generally open to undergraduate or taught postgraduate students. Once a list has been created, the list owner is responsible for managing the list – setting the options for who can make use of the list, adding and removing list members, and dealing with any problems experienced by the list members. This is achieved by using the web interface MajorCool. To request the set up of a new mailing list, fill in the online Mailing List Request Form or contact [email protected]
and ask them to e-mail a copy of the form to you. When the list has been set up, you will receive an e-mail message informing you that the list has been created and giving you an initial password for the list. You should now use MajorCool to:
change your list password install an information file for your list adjust the configurations settings, if required subscribe members to the list or send out an invitation for people to subscribe themselves
3. Using MajorCool MajorCool provides an easy-to-use web-based interface to managing majordomo mailing lists. All you need to know is your list name and list password. You'll find MajorCool at www.abdn.ac.uk/majorcool. Login details should be entered in the format:
Login name - this is the listname without @abdn.ac.uk appended, e.g. mylistname not [email protected]
Password - this is the list admin password
Maintenance of list membership Using MajorCool, you can view the list of addresses on your list and add or delete addresses simply by editing the list. MajorCool will construct the relevant subscribe and/or unsubscribe commands to implement your changes. You and the people you have (un)subscribed will receive an e-mail acknowledgement from Majordomo confirming your changes. List configuration Choose Configuration Options when you log in and you will be presented with a table of configuration options, descriptions of what each is for, and easy to use radio buttons or text boxes to make changes. Or choose the Info File option to create or edit an information file which will be sent automatically to the people you subscribe to your list. Documentation and further information There is no user documentation (it's supposed to be self-evident) but you may wish to refer to MajorCool's Help page to help you get started.
4. Your list password The list password is used to authenticate the administrative commands you send to majordomo. The initial password you are given is a random string of characters so the first thing you should do is change it to something more memorable, using the MajorCool interface. Choose Configuration Options when you log in and you will be presented with a table of configuration options, at the foot of which is the option to change your list password.
5. Adding information and introduction files It is good practice to create an information file describing the purpose of your mailing list and containing relevant information for list members. This information file will be sent to each new member who is subscribed to the list (unless you create a separate intro file) and can be retrieved at any time via the MajorCool interface – choose the Info File or Intro File option when you log in.
6. List membership You can add and remove members from your list using the MajorCool interface – choose the List Subscribers option when you log in. By default your list will be closed so that only you can add members to the list. If anyone tries to subscribe themselves to your list, their subscribe command will be bounced to you for your approval. On the other hand, if you set the subscribe_policy to 'open' (see below), people will be able to add themselves to your list without your intervention. When starting up an open list you may choose to send a message out to a number of other, already existing lists, saying what your list is for and inviting interested people to subscribe themselves. Beware inconsistent mail addresses!
If your list is closed or restricted in any way or is open to self-unsubscription, you are quite likely to encounter cases where majordomo bounces or refuses a request from an apparently valid list member. When processing a command which is restricted to list members only, majordomo will check that the e-mail address of the sender matches exactly an e-mail address on the list. If no such match is found, the command is rejected. Staff and research postgraduate users at the University of Aberdeen have two valid e-mail addresses – [email protected]
and [email protected]
(e.g. [email protected]
and [email protected]
). By default, the mail systems at Aberdeen are configured such that messages appear to come from your [email protected]
, rather than your username. Thus, if you subscribe someone to your list using their username address, majordomo may not recognise that person as a list member as messages he or she sends will appear to majordomo as coming from his or her mailname.
7. Configuring your list The default list configuration Each mailing list has an associated configuration file which controls the behaviour of the list. A new list is given the default configuration file which can be modified to make configuration changes. The following table describes the most important options. If you're happy with the default settings, there's no need to change them. Configuration options Subscription policy
Default setting only the list owner can add or remove list members
anyone can send a message to the list anyone can use the info command to retrieve the information file describing your list only list members can retrieve the list's introduction file only list members can use the which command on this list
Intro policy Which policy
messages go direct to list members
nothing is added to posted messages
Alternative settings anyone can join or leave the list by (un)subscribing their own address only list members can send a message to the list only list members can retrieve the information file
anyone can use the intro command to retrieve the introduction file anyone can use the which command to check whether a specific mail address is on the list all postings are bounced to the list owner and must be approved for posting you can specify text to be added to the subject header or the body of each message posted to the list
Restricted lists Certain facilities can be restricted to list members only. [Use the MajorCool interface – choose the Configuration option when you log in, then select All Keywords from the drop-down list at the top of the page.] subscribe_policy = open | closed
anyone can subscribe their own address
subscription requests are forwarded to the list owner for approval
unsubscribe_policy = open | closed
anyone can unsubscribe their own address.
requests to unsubscribe are forwarded to the list owner for approval. Set this option to the name of your list to restrict posting to list members only. Any attempts to post to the list by nonmembers will be 'bounced' to you for your approval. (See below for information about approving bounced messages). Can be useful if you find your list being bothered by junk mail. By default it is blank, allowing anyone to post to the list. only list members can retrieve the information file associated with your list
restrict_post = listname
info_access = list | open | closed
open closed intro_access = list | open | closed
list open closed list
which_access = list | open
open who_access = list | open
anyone can retrieve the information file associated with your list no-one can retrieve the information file (not recommended) only list members can retrieve the introduction file associated with your list anyone can retrieve the introduction file associated with your list no-one can retrieve the introduction file. only list members can check whether an address is on the list anyone can check whether any e-mail address is on the list. only list members can retrieve the list membership anyone can retrieve the list of list members
Moderated lists A moderated list is one where nobody can post directly to the list. All postings are 'bounced' to the list administrator (that's you) and must be approved for posting. See below for information on approving bounced messages. [Use the MajorCool interface – choose the Configuration option when you log in, then select All Keywords from the drop-down list at the top of the page.] moderate = yes | no
all postings must be approved anyone can post a message to the list
Note: Setting this option to 'yes' will mean considerable management overhead for you as list owner. If you simply want to exclude unwanted messages, consider using the restrict_post option instead – see above.
Customising postings to the list You can specify text to be added to the subject line or at the start or end of the text every message posted to your list. By default all these are blank. [Use the MajorCool interface – choose the Configuration option when you log in, then select All Keywords from the drop-down list at the top of the page.] subject_prefix = one-word message_fronter message_footer
If you supply a word here (which can include numbers and punctuation but not spaces or tabs), this word will be added to the beginning of the subject line of every message sent to your list. This helps list members to identify messages coming from your list. The text you want to appear at the beginning of every message. Any text you put here will be put in front of the text of every message sent to the list. The text you want to appear at the end of every message. Any text you put here will be added to the end of every message sent to the list.
Other useful settings [Use the MajorCool interface – choose the Configuration option when you log in, then select All Keywords from the drop-down list at the top of the page.] description = A short description of your list, up to 50 characters long
approve_passwd = newpasswd
administrivia = yes | no
This text will appear when a user uses the lists command to request a list of lists. You should have specified it when you first registered your list and you can use this configuration option to change it. The description is useful if you want people to know about your list and ask to join it. This password is used to approve postings to a restricted or moderated list. The default value is the same as your initial (random) list password. You can use this option to change it to something more memorable. Any 'subscribe' or 'unsubscribe' requests sent to [email protected]
instead of to [email protected]
will be bounced to the list owner for approval Such requests will not be filtered out but will be posted to all list members. We recommend you leave this parameter set to 'yes'.
8. Posting messages to your list Address the message to: [email protected]
to send it to all members of the list. If your list is moderated (see above) the message will be bounced back to you for approval.
9. Approving bounced messages Majordomo will bounce certain messages back to you as owner of the list. These may be requests to 'subscribe' or 'unsubscribe', mistakenly sent to the list address instead of to majordomo, or, if your list is moderated or restricted to posting by list members only, attempts to post messages to the list may be bounced to you for your approval. In the case of a subscription request, you can use the MajorCool interface to add or delete the user, as appropriate. In the case of a restricted or moderated list, you have to resend the message using the MajorCool interface.