Western Kentucky University

IT Division - Mailing Lists

Mailing List Administration Helpful Tips

Below are some helpful tips on managing your mailing list.

Subscribing New Members

One of the most important considerations to take into account when setting up a list is new subscriptions. While it may be tempting to pre-populate the membership with email addresses that you feel would be interested in the list, this is almost never a good idea. In this age of spam, people are very sensitive to how their email address is used. Getting subscribed to a new source of email, particularly without prior consent, can lead to confusion and even hostility. Additionally, it is a violation of WKU acceptable use policy to send unsolicited emails to anyone. A much better practice is to let prospective members know about the list and allow them to choose to subscribe. Anyone can request to subscribe to a list by sending a blank email to [listname]-subscribe@lists.wku.edu.

A welcome message is also very helpful in preventing confusion. The Mailman software will send an informational message to new subscribers by default. However, by further customizing the welcome message, you can provide your members with information about your list's specific intent and preferred "netiquette." Look for the "List-specific text prepended to new-subscriber welcome message" section on the General Options page for your list.

Finally, if you are running an announcement-type mailing list that only selected email addresses should be able to post to, make certain to enable the option "By default, should new list member postings be moderated?" This will prevent member postings from going through to the list. This option is available from the Sender Filters page under Privacy Options.

Staying on Top of Spam

Just like a regular email address, anyone on the internet can attempt to send a message to your list - this includes spammers. By default however, Mailman will hold, for moderation, any message that is not from an actual list member. If you prefer to not deal with messages from non-members, you can change this behavior to simply reject the message, rather than hold it. The sender/spammer will automatically receive a rejection notice letting them know the message did not go through to the list.

Bounce Action Notifications

Sometimes messages posted to the list don't get delivered to all list members. When this occurs, the list administrator will be sent an automated message with the subject "Bounce Action Notification." While these messages are somewhat terse, they are sent to keep the list administrator informed of automated actions taken by Mailman - namely in regard to automatically unsubscribing list members. The notification will include the account in question, the list posting that triggered the notification, and why the member was unsubscribed. Some reasons for receiving a bounce action notification include:
    1. The receipient is at the maximum for their email quota
    2. The receipient's address is no longer working
    3. A technical problem between mail servers

 Last Modified 7/23/13