Mailman Lists

Mailman is a list management system that allows list administrator(s) to set up and manage the list by logging in to a web page interface. The Mailman software offers many features but we've highlighted the few options that often need to be changed, depending on purpose of the mailing list. The default email address for Mailman lists is ____@lists.columbia.edu.

To request a Mailman list be created, please review CUIT's mailing list options and follow our mailing list request steps.

 

List owner ("admin") guidelines

To manage your Mailman list, log in to the admin interface using the password you were emailed upon the creation of the list (you can search for an email from mailman@lists.columbia.edu).

The login link will look something like https://lists.columbia.edu/mailman/admin/listname, where listname is the part of the mailing list email address before @lists.columbia.edu.

Sending ("posting") privileges

One of the most important mailing list settings is determining who should have "send access" to the list. You can set Mailman lists to behave in three ways:

  • Standard (default): any list member can send email to the list
  • Moderated: only designated administrator(s) can send email to the list
  • Open: anyone, whether on the list or not, can send email to the list

When a message is sent from someone that is not allowed to send to the list, the pending message is sent to the list admin(s) and moderator(s) for approval to release.

List owner (admin) options

  1. Log in to the admin interface using the password you were given upon the creation of the list. The login link will look something like https://lists.columbia.edu/mailman/admin/listname, where listname is the part of the mailing list address before @lists.columbia.edu.
  2. Navigate to Privacy Options and select Sender filters.
  3. Scroll to the Member filters section.
  4. In the By default, should new member posting be moderated? option, select Yes.
  5. Click Submit Your Changes at the bottom of the page.
  6. If your list already has members, you then need to navigate to the Membership Management section and select Membership List.
  7. Scroll to the Additional Member Tasks at the bottom of the page.
  8. For the Set everyone's moderation bit, including those members not currently visible option, select On
  9. Click Set.
  1. Log in to the admin interface using the password you were given upon the creation of the list. The login link will look something like https://lists.columbia.edu/mailman/admin/listname, where listname is the part of the mailing list address before @lists.columbia.edu.
  2. Navigate to Privacy Options and select Sender filters.
  3. Scroll to the Non-member filters section.
  4. In the Action to take for postings from non-members for which no explicit action is defined option, select Accept.
  5. Click Submit Your Changes at the bottom of the page.

General options

  • Add list administrator(s): Users who will receive all administrative mail for the list, such as requests to approve emails to be sent from users that do not have "send access", as well as notices of when members are subscribed and unsubscribed. Enter the full email addresses, one per line, into the 'The list administrator email address' field.
  • Add list moderator(s): Users who will receive requests to approve or deny emails to be sent from users that do not have "send access". Enter the full email addresses, one per line, into the 'The list moderator email address' field.
  • Create a welcome message: By default, welcome messages are sent to members when they subscribe. Welcome messages contain information that allows members to set certain options for themselves as well as unsubscribe. These welcome messages can be disabled, which is useful for announcement lists where membership is mandatory and the option to unsubscribe is disabled. Change the Yes/No option to no for 'Send welcome message to newly subscribed members?'
  • Increase maximum message length: You can increase the maximum allowable message length from 4000 kilobytes (default) to a larger size if your messages are not being sent due to size. Replace 4000 with the numeric size (in kilobytes) in the 'Maximum length (in kilobytes) of a message body' field.

General options that should not be updated

  • Emergency moderation of all traffic: This is option turned off (no) by default and should only be used in emergency situations that might result in an email storm (when so many emails are being sent that few can make it through due to overwhelmed servers). When the option is turned on (yes), all messages will bounce to the admin for approval rather than be distributed to the list.
  • Host name this list prefers for email (lists.columbia.edu): Do not make changes to the option. Changing this will make any mail sent to and from the list undeliverable.
  1. Log in to the admin interface using the password you were given upon the creation of the list. The login link will look something like https://lists.columbia.edu/mailman/admin/listname, where listname is the part of the mailing list address before @lists.columbia.edu.
  2. Navigate to Privacy Options and select Subscription rules.
  3. Scroll down to the Subscribing section.
  4. For the Advertise this list when people ask what lists are on this machine? option, select no if you do not want your list to appear on the listing of all the public mailing lists at Columbia.
  5. Scroll down to the Membership exposure section.
  6. For the Who can view subscription list? option, select List admin only if you want to hide the members' email addresses from the public. For lists of students in a school or department, this option must set to List admin only due to federal regulations that protect student data. If your mailing list has a closed subscriber list, where the admins select the members, we recommend also setting this option to List admin only so the privacy of the group is maintained.
  7. Click Submit Your Changes at the bottom of the page.
  1. Log in to the admin interface using the password you were given upon the creation of the list. The login link will look something like https://lists.columbia.edu/mailman/admin/listname, where listname is the part of the mailing list address before @lists.columbia.edu.
  2. Navigate to Membership Management and select the Mass Subscription section.
  3. Choose whether to automatically subscribe the list of users, or to email them with an invite to opt into your list.
  4. Select if you would like to send a welcome message.
  5. Select if you would like to have automatic notifications sent to the list owner (admin) of newly subscribed members.
  6. In the first text box, enter the email addresses, one per line, of the members you would like to include.
  7. Click Submit Your Changes at the bottom of the page.

This section also applies to members designated as admins or moderators.

  1. Log in to the admin interface using the password you were given upon the creation of the list. The login link will look something like https://lists.columbia.edu/mailman/admin/listname, where listname is the part of the mailing list address before @lists.columbia.edu.
  2. Navigate to the Membership Management section and select Membership List.
  3. Add or find the member that you would like to provide sending rights for.
  4. Remove the check in the column labelled'mod on the line with their entry.
  5. Click Submit Your Changes at the bottom of the page.

Standard lists only accept mail from list members. However, it may be necessary to allow certain users to send mail without necessarily being a member.

  1. Log in to the admin interface using the password you were given upon the creation of the list. The login link will look something like https://lists.columbia.edu/mailman/admin/listname, where listname is the part of the mailing list address before @lists.columbia.edu.
  2. Navigate to Privacy Options and select Sender filters.
  3. Scroll down to the Non-member filters section.
  4. For the List of non-member addresses whose postings should automatically be accepted option, enter the non-member email addresses, one per line.
  5. Click Submit Your Changes at the bottom of the page.
  1. The listed admin(s) will receive a message from Mailman saying that a message needs approval.
  2. Click on the link for the moderator queue. You will need to log in with the list password.
  3. You will see a page with a text box with one or more numbers, which correspond to the pending messages in queue for approval. 
  4. Click on a number to see the pending message. You will see a page with the subject and the message.
  5. Select any of the four action buttons at the top of the page: Accept (to approve for sending to the list), RejectDiscardDefer.
  6. After selecting an action, click the Submit button at the top or the bottom of the page.
  1. Log in to the admin interface using the password you were given upon the creation of the list. The login link will look something like https://lists.columbia.edu/mailman/admin/listname, where listname is the part of the mailing list address before @lists.columbia.edu.
  2. Navigate to Privacy Options and select Subscription rules.
  3. In the Subscribing section, select Require approval for What steps are required for subscription?
  4. Click Submit Your Changes at the bottom of the page.

List member guidelines and options

To manage your membership options, log in to the Mailman portal with your UNI to see the lists to which you belong. As described above, each list owner/admin will set up unique subscription and posting rules, so you may or may not be able to change certain options for yourself.

To send email to a list, send your message to listname@lists.columbia.edu, where listname is the part of the email address before @lists.columbia.edu.

Moderated lists require a list admin to manually approve any message sent to their mailing list from a non-approved email address. If you attempt to email a mailing list and are not part of the approved sender list, you will receive a notification that your message is being held and the the list admin(s) will receive an email notification to review and approve/deny your message for sending.

The Mailman system tries to detect messages that contain administrative requests, such as "Subscribe me", and sends them to the list admin(s) for action.

To subscribe to a Mailman list, go to the list's listinfo page. It will be something like:
https://lists.columbia.edu/mailman/listinfo/listname, where listname is the part of the list address before the @lists.columbia.edu.

You can also send subscribe requests via email:

  • To the list admins at listname-owner@lists.columbia.edu, where listname is the part of the list address before the @lists.columbia.edu.
  • To the subscribe/request address, at listname-join@lists.columbia.edu, with the word "Subscribe" in the message body.

Once your request is received, you will be asked to confirm that you would like to be subscribed as a security measure. The confirmation message will contain instructions on how to confirm you subscription, either by sending an email to the address provided with a text string to be copied and pasted into your message, or by clicking on a link within the message. The link will send you to a page where you will be able to enter your name and set a member password. Do NOT use your UNI password as your list password. The combination of your email address and your password will allow you to set certain options for yourself, as well as enter the list's posting archive, if any.

If the list admin has allowed it and you have set a password, you can set certain list options for yourself by navigating to the membership options page at https://lists.columbia.edu/mailman/options/listname/yoursubscribedemailaddress, where listname is the part of the email address before @lists.columbia.edu and your yoursubscribedemailaddress is likely yourUNI@columbia.edu.

You can change your subscribed email address, unsubscribe, change your password, and have your password emailed to you on this page in addition to the options below.

If you do not see certain option(s) listed, it is because the list admin has not enabled the option for members.

After you have updated your preferences, be sure to select Submit My Changes at the bottom of the page to save any changes you have made.

  • Mail delivery: By default, this is set to Enabled. If you are going on leave or would not like to receive mail delivery for a while, but would like to remain on the list, you can change to Disabled.
  • Set Digest Mode: If you are on a very active list, digest mode can reduce the number of emails you receive each day by bundling them together.
  • MIME or Plain Text Digests: If you turn digest mode to on, you can opt for MIME digests, which will allow formatted text (if your email reader supports it). Plain text can be ready by any mail reader.
  • Receive your own posts: By default, this is set to yes, since most people want to receive their own emails to confirm they were sent to the group.
  • Receive acknowledgement when you send mail to the list: This option is another way of reassuring senders that their emails have reached the group.
  • Conceal yourself from subscriber list: Select yes to hide your email address from other members who view the membership list. List admins will still be able to see your you on the membership list.
  • Topic categories/topic filters: If the list admin has created topics, you can select those which you would like to receive to reduce your emails.
  • Avoid duplicate copies: To reduce unnecessary emails, you can opt out of getting two copies of a message that you are both Cc'd on, and on the mailing list for.