Mailing Lists

ID #283

How do I use Mailman's email interface?

Applies to: Grid System, Managed Servers, VPS

Each mailing list has addresses associated with it that provide extra functionality. Let's use the list name example-list as a sample and assume you host at Modwest. So, is the base address where you send an e-mail to post to the list. Here is a list of additional utility addresses:

  • or

    Sending to this address allows someone to subscribe to your list. The e-mail alone is enough to subscribe. The subject and the body of the email is not utilized.

  • or

    This pair is simply the opposite of -join. People that send mail to this address will be removed from the list.


    Allows people to contact all the administrators of the list by using one address.


    An internal address that Mailman uses when dealing with undeliverable mail or when responding to requests.


    The address that deals with -join and -leave confirmations.


    Allows you to run commands on your list via email. This is the address you would send to when requesting a subscriber listing. Here are the commands that you can send to -request:

    • confirm $confirmation_string

      If you received an e-mail from the list like a subscription confirmation, you could verify the subscription by sending . confirm [confirmation string]" to -request. The string is required.

    • end

      End tells Mailman to cease reading commands so that it doesn't process your signature file that your mail program may attach.

    • help

      Mailman will send you a copy of the help dialogue upon receiving the help command.

    • info

      This provides general information about the Mailman list.

    • set

      You can use set to change your settings via e-mail. Set help will give you a list of options that you can set. Set show returns your current configuration.

  • In the following commands, the $address in [address=$address] is your membership address if it is different from the one you are sending from. Arguments surrounded by brackets are optional. Anything with a dollar sign in front of it is variable and should be replaced by a value that is appropriate for your situation. These commands should be entered as the 'Subject' of the message being sent.

    • Password [$oldpassword $newpassword] [address=$address]

      Used alone, password will send your current password. With $oldpassword and $newpassword, it sets your new password if you correctly enter your old password.

    • Subscribe [$password] [digest | nodigest] [address=$address]

      You can subscribe to a mailing list with this command. $password is what the initial password will be. If it is not set, Mailman randomly generates a password. You can also pick if you would like to be a digest or non-digest member. Digest members receive a compilation of all correspondence in a day; Non-Digest members receive the messages as they arrive at the mailing list. Setting an $address in this command will invite that address to join the list.

    • unsubscribe $password [address=$address]

      Unsubscribe removes you from the list.

    • who $password [address=$address]

      This command displays the current membership roster of the list. The printout shows the address and name of each member. The roster is separated into non-digest and digest members. Using this command is a good way to procure yourself a copy of your subscribers for backup.

Last update: 2012-05-04 15:20
Author: FAQ Admin
Revision: 1.4

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