Mailing lists

All AYY’s mailing lists use the Mailman system. Mailman is a software that facilitates the management of mailing lists and offers easily accessible features (list moderating, sender-based posting rules, free web based subscribing, archiving etc.)

Every mailing list has an administrator, who automatically receives the system password from Mailman when he/she creates the new list. Mailman mailing lists are managed through a web interface, which makes everything quite simple. This page lists the most important and most often needed features and settings of Mailman.

Guides for list administrators

University of Pittsburgh has very good guides for mailing list administrators. Only significant differences are that management addresses start with instead of and list addresses end with instead of

Getting a new mailing list
  1. Think about why the list is needed, who is it for etc. Most associations have at least following mailing lists:
    • for generic contact address
    • for the board if the one above is not used
    • for strictly moderaded announcement list
  2. Send an email to AYY IT containing:
    • the name of your association
    • your post in the association (eg. chairman, webmaster, PR officer, secretary, some reason why you have right to request new mailing list for said association)
    • the desired name for the mailing list (of the form <association prefix>
    • the future list administrator’s email address.
  3. After we have sent you the login information, open the list’s administrator page.
  4. Go through the list’s settings, write a list description (terse phrase) and input the email addresses of other administrators and moderators (if there are any).
  5. You can add members to the list in the Membership Management / Mass Subscription menu.
  6. Check that the settings in Privacy Options are to your satisfaction. Remember that setting the filters to automatically reject messages is a bad idea!
Managing a mailing list

Mailing List Management Quick Guide

Administration address for list

The list administrator can manage mailing list in address[list name]. List name is without domain so lists admin address would be

Public address for list

Public info page of your list is[list name]

You can also use short link[list name] which redirects to that.

You can use public address for subscribing list (or sending subscribing request if it’s a closed list), unsubscribe list if you are current receiver etc.

General Options menu

Includes general mailing list settings. The following (and more) can be controlled in the menu:

  • Mailing list administrators
  • Welcome and goodbye messages
  • The maximum size of delivered messages

Passwords menu

  • Passwords of the list’s administrators and moderators
    • Administrator is person who can manage all aspects of mailing list
    • Moderator can approve mails and manage list members

Language menu

  • Language of the list (default is English)

Membership management menu

  • Adding addresses to the list
  • Removing addresses from the list
  • Viewing addresses on the list

Privacy Options menu

  • Settings concerning the privacy of the list (moderated list / only messages by members approved etc.)

NOTE! Remember to click on the Submit Your Changes button at the bottom of the page after changing settings or adding new addresses to the list.

Checklist for Moderating Messages
As a rule, the moderation queue should be kept manageable. Moderating is so much easier when there aren’t hundreds of messages to go through. It is also worth remembering that if there is a lot of spam in the queue, moderation requests can easily slip into spam as well.

  1. Mailman sends email notifications to the list’s administrators and moderators of people wishing to join the list and of messages in need of moderation (they are not, then, delivered to the list itself).
  2. Mailman offers four moderating options for messages: defer, accept, reject and discard. Defer does nothing, it leaves the message in the queue. Accept approves the message and delivers it to the list. Reject rejects the message and sends a notification of rejection to the sender. Use reject if you wish to leave a trail of the message’s rejection. The last option, discard, removes the message quietly, without notifications. This is the best option for spam.
  3. Same four options are used to handle membership requests.
  4. Discard marked defer is a tool meant for removing spam messages. It removes all messages marked defer, so you do not have to remove each spam message individually: it is enough to accept genuine messages and defer the spam.
Adding or changing list administrators
Lists have two passwords per list, one is for list administrators and one for moderators. Difference between admins and moderators is that modererators can only tend pending moderation and subscription requests while admins can also modify list settings. Password is shared between group of admins.

You can change list administrator with following steps:

  1. Log in to your list admin page (<listname>)
  2. Go to “General Options” page if you are not yet there
  3. Add new administrators to “The list administrator email addresses” field, one address per line
  4. Give list password to new admins
  5. If you are no longer working as admin, ask new admins to change list administrator password from Passwords page

Important Questions About Managing Mailman

How do I login to Mailman?
A: Mailman automatically sends a message containing a notice of the list’s creation and the login information to the list’s administrator. In case you have lost that message, the administrator access of Mailman lists can be found at

If you cannot remember your password, ask AYY IT for a new one.

How do I add addresses to my list?
Adding addresses in Mailman is found under the Membership Management/Mass Subscription menu. You add addresses to the upper box on the screen so that the addresses are all on different lines.
How do I Remove addresses from my list?
Removing addresses in Mailman is found under the Membership Management/Membership List menu.

You remove an address by checking the Unsubscribe box next to it. After this you click on the Submit Your Changes button and Mailman will remove the selected addresses from the list.

You can also remove addresses through the Membership Management/Mass Removal menu, where addresses are removed in the same way as they are added in the Mass Subscription menu mentioned above. The benefit of using Mass Removal is that it lets you decide whether to send a notification of removal to the removed addresses or not.

How can I control my list’s privacy settings?
Privacy settings are found under the Privacy Options menu.

  • Subscription rules control how people can subscribe to the list
    • eg. do they just need to confirm their emaill address or do you also require that list administrator approves them
  • Sender filters control what addresses can send messages to the list
  • Recipient filters control message reception settings
How can I change my list’s administrator?
List administrators are controlled in the List Administrator Email Addresses section of the General Options menu.

Note that administration emails are only used for some announcement messages. List’s admin password is all you need to have for managing list subscribers and settings.

Most important default settings in mailman
  • Nobody can subscribe to the list without the administrator’s approval
  • The list is not advertised publicly on the website
  • Anybody can send messages to the list