MIT Mailman User Guide:
May 5, 2003.
MIT Information Systems
is pleased to announce the availability of Mailman to the MIT Community with
limited support. Mailman is a modern web-based list management system that has
been adopted by
a number of our peer institutions.
Mailman has a lot of
good internal documentation to guide a list subscriber (list member) and list
administrator. This quickstart
will cover some of the basic Mailman functions.
Request a Mailman List
At the moment,
new Mailman lists may be requested from Accounts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
the future, a web form will be available guiding list requesters through the
Mailman lists. When requesting a list, you will still need to know the name of
the list you want, and who will "own" the list. The owner will be able
to administer the list, adding and removing members and setting up all other
Once your list
is created, you will receive email from Accounts with basic information about
your mailing list, including the mailing list password
to configure the list. This password is automatically generated, and can be changed
by the list administrator on the Passwords screen. PLEASE NOTE this password
you are using elsewhere. It should definitely not be set to your Kerberos password
(the password you use to access your @mit.edu email).
Populate List with Members
already have a list of initial members in mind for your Mailman list, and will
want to add them immediately. To do so, go to the
list administrative interface referenced in the email accounts sent you. You
may also find your list's administrative interface from https://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/admin.
You will be asked to enter the List Administrator Password to enter the administrative
screens. Once you are in, you will see a screen of general options. To add members
to your list, navigate to "Membership Management", then select "Mass Subscription".
On the Mass Subscription
page, you will be able to type in a list of email addresses, or upload a text
list of member email addresses. You may enter the person's real name for Mailman
to track as well by entering the subscribers one per line with appropriate delimiters:
be able to either subscribe or invite people to the list. If you only invite
member, the potential member will receive email asking them to confirm their
You may also choose to send new subscribers a list-specific welcome
message. The text for the welcome message can be set on the General Options screen.
If you have text entered and would like it sent with the welcome message, be
sure to select Yes for "Send welcome message to newly subscribed members?".
Once you have entered your members and selected the mass subscirption optoins,
you will submit your changes. Your changes have immediate effect; if you have
subscribed a list of members, they will now receive email sent to the list.
Once your list has been set up and populated, you may want to control who
can subscribe to the list itself. These options are available under "Privacy
"Subscription rules" page.
You can set up your list to require subscriber confirmation
for membership. When someone requests a subscription, Mailman sends them a notice
with a unique subscription request number that they must reply to in order to
This prevents mischievous (or malicious) people from creating subscriptions for
others without their consent.
Last, from this section you may also control who can see the list members.
Set up List
Moderation / Prevent Unwanted Posts
may choose to restrict who can post to the list. By default, lists are set up
to be completely open - all posts to the list will go through to the
list. To change these options, navigate to "Privacy
options" and "Sender filters".
can also flag members who should and shouldn't be moderated on the Membership Management
> Membership List screen.
To allow any
email address from @mit.edu OR @ai.mit.edu to post to your Mailman list, enter
regular expressions (one on each line)
in the "List of non-member addresses whose postings should be automatically
Owners may want to consider the value of using regular expressions to allow or
deny user action. In this case, email addresses can be forged, and so spam traffic
using an @mit.edu address may still get through to your list. If you want to
ensure no unwanted email is delivered to your subscribers, moderate all traffic
to your list.
allows list owners to prevent certain emails from being delivered to list subscribers.
This is a different tool from spam
screening which scores each message delivered
to individual mailboxes. With spam screening, all email is delivered to the recipient.
With Mailman's spam filtering option, the list owner can choose to hold posts
that match a certain pattern. The spam filtering screen is available under Privacy
not have many rules built in. The filter requires the list owner to enter rules,
such as "hold anything from aol.com", expressed
If list owners
want to hold all email that is not from an @mit.edu email address,
the anti-spam filter. Be aware that the email will be held with status "Message
has a suspicious header". If you allow Mailman to send posters an automatic acknowledgement
of their post, they will receive email saying their mail has been held because
it has a suspicious header.
rules being used by SpamAssassin to score spam, see http://spamassassin.org/tests.html.
Archive List Traffic
comes with an archiving program built in. By default, archiving list messages
is off. To turn archiving on, change the options on the "Archiving Options" screen.
The archive can be set up to be public or private (for current members/subscribers
from Athena Lists
has many more features than Athena (Moira) lists. A list
of Athena list features
and comparable Mailman options is available to assist Moira owners and
subscribers with the transition to Mailman. One
important feature Athena lists have that Mailman lists do not have is the ability
a list also be an AFS group. AFS groups are used to control access to AFS directories
and restrict access
to web pages using MIT certificates (using htaccess.mit