FREQUENTLY ANSWERED QUESTIONS
Do your lists have attached ads?
How do I unsubscribe from a list?
Send an email to [list]-firstname.lastname@example.org with the word 'subscribe' in the
subject Replace [list] with the list in question. If you don't know what that list is,
look at the full headers of your email. You'll need to tell your email program to
show you these headers, they're hidden by default. One of the headers, the
List-Unsubscribe header, contains a link for you to unsubscribe from that list.
What do I need to administrate a mailing list?
An email program, a web browser and an active internet connection.
Why don't your lists have any tracking features?
We feel like that is a privacy issue. We feel that no one should ever open an
email and have someone else know that they opened that email. We take
privacy and security issues very seriously.
Can the list messages be individually personalized?
The services quoted and mentioned on this website do not include any
personalization features. Sending personalized messages is much more
expensive but we can do it. If you really want to send such messages request
a quote from .
Do you sell list serve software?
Everything used by Listserve.com is licensed by one of several Open Source
licenses. Nearly all modifications to these software packages have been
contributed back to the community. For those wishing to have a similar set up
to ours, but in-house, we can quote on a turn-key server to handle your list
How large a message can I send through a list?
All lists are priced from a base of 64k. That's roughly 64,000 characters. If you
need your list to send out up to 128k then the pricing increases by 50%. If you
needed 256k then it would increase by another 50% and so on. We don't
recommend sending more than 128k through any list. Documents can always
be placed on a website and a link placed in the list mail, which is how we
recommend you handle larger files.
I'm not receiving email from a list
Check your spam filters, etc. Quite often list mail is stopped by over-zealous
All the messages I send to the list are received as attachments, is there a setting I
Make sure that your email client is set to send both plain text and rich text (if present).
The list is reporting a bounce but the address isn't on the list.
This one can be very hard to track down. What's happened is an address that
is subscribed to your list is actually an alias or forwarder to another address. If
you look through the Received: headers in the bounce you may be able to tell
what address is actually subscribed.
Can I get a printout of my subscribers?
Send the 'who' command to the list -request address. Send the word 'help' to
the -request address if you need more information.
Why does the From: line read 'On Behalf Of...'
That's the result of a display bug in Outlook and the Address book. Contact
Microsoft for more information about when this bug may be fixed.
Why are my archives not threaded?
The threaded display of the archive is dependent upon the presence of either
a 'In-Reply-To:' or 'References:' header. You may need to upgrade your email
program (most modern email clients support these headers). There is also a
possibility that your mail server is stripping these headers (Note & CC:Mail
are notorious for this).
What can I do about users with broken autoresponders?
(taken from the Mailman Wiki entry by Greg Ward)
A common problem on mailing lists is users who have setup an
"autoresponder", or software that automatically responds to all mail for them,
that doesn't understand mailing lists. Autoresponders are most commonly
used for "I'm on vacation"-style messages, but they might also be seen
bouncing mail that appears to be spam or virus-infected. There are varying
degrees of broken-ness, but there do not appear to be any limits on the
stupidity of broken auto-responders.
The least harmful kind of stupid auto-responder is one that replies to the list
administrator -- eg. if you are running email@example.com, you keep getting
"I'm on vacation" messages from one of your list members at foo-list-
firstname.lastname@example.org. The problems here might be 1) the user did not
configure her autoresponder to exclude mailing lists, and 2) the
autoresponder doesn't have a rate-limiting feature (eg. "Only send an
automatic response to each sender once per day"). In this case, the
autoresponder software is probably working correctly (in particular, it's
sending responses to the envelope sender only), and the user has probably
just configured it incorrectly. Since it's just you, the list administrator being
bothered, how to deal with this is up to you. Disabling the user's subscription
is an option (if they don't get any more list mail, they won't send you any more
pointless "I'm on vacation" messages), but it's probably just as easy to ignore
the messages (and send the user a polite note asking her to fix her
autoresponder before she takes another vacation).
A more annoying kind of brain-damage is when every poster gets an
inexplicable "I'm on vacation" message from someone he's never heard of
(and who just happens to be on the same list). For example, let's say
email@example.com sends mail to your list, firstname.lastname@example.org. Mailman
processes the message and sends a copy to everyone on the list, including
email@example.com. If firstname.lastname@example.org has a stupid auto-responder that
sends responses to some address in the header of the message (as opposed
to the envelope), then email@example.com will get firstname.lastname@example.org's auto-
response. joe will presumably be confused by this, since he doesn't know
who the heck bob is. However, you -- the list admin -- won't find out about,
unless you also post to the list -- or if joe figures out what's going on and tells
you about it. In this case, the autoresponder software is broken, and sending
a polite note to email@example.com, asking that the broken
autoresponder be fixed or disabled, is legitimate. You should cc
firstname.lastname@example.org so he knows what kind of trouble he's causing. If the
problem persists, disabling bob's subscription is reasonable; you should send
bob another note to let him know you have done so.
The worst kind of autoresponder brain-damage is when "I'm on vacation"
messages get sent to the list itself. This should be inconceivable with
Mailman (since the list address is usually only in the "To" or "Cc" headers),
but remember: there is no limit to the stupidity of broken autoresponders. If
this happens, the best option is to immediately disable the subscription of the
user causing the trouble: you want to stop clogging your list with completely
useless noise as quickly as possible. Again, you should send mail to the
postmaster of the offending domain and the user responsible for the
autoresponder, letting them know what kind of havoc their amazing broken
autoresponder is causing.
The key things to keep in mind here are:
How do I edit a held message before approving it?
It's best to explain this in steps:
1. Use the 'forward this message' feature to email yourself the message.
2. Edit the message in your email program. You should probably include a
notice that you have edited the message.
3. Resend the message (and here's the trick) adding a Resent-To: header
containing the list posting address. Also include a Approved: header
containing the admin password
You cannot use Outlook in this fashion. If you feel you need to be able to do
this with your list you need to use another mail program such as Eudora,
Mulberry or Pine.
Why do I have to keep entering my password for every page?
Make sure your browser is set up to accept cookies.
Why does/doesn't my list show up on the main list page?
You can choose to (or not) advertise your list under the Privacy Settings page.
Why don't the replies go to the list?
The lists are set up as Reply-To-Sender by default. This setting can be
changed under the General Options section. It is recommended that you read
through 'Reply-To Munging Considered Harmful' before changing this setting.
My message was stopped because of size. Why?
Mailing lists have a limit to the size of a message you can pass through. Your
message exceeded this limit. Generally this limit is rather generous for a text
message and will allow many pages worth of text. Most single images of a
responsible size can be passed within the limit as well. You may need to
modify your message content, perhaps splitting it across multiple emails, to
get it through the list. You may wish to store any files on a web site and email
a link to download them rather then have them go through the list.
- it's your list; you have the right to disable the subscription for anyone who's
- be polite: don't curse or swear at distant postmasters; they probably don't
even realize what's happening
- be accurate: don't accuse the wrong user of having a broken
autoresponder, and don't mis-characterize the problem when explaining it to
them or their postmaster. (If you don't understand the difference between
envelope sender and header addresses, you should think twice before
Do you support RFC 2369 headers?
Yes, we do.
Do you support VERP?
No, not at this point. It may be implemented at some point in the future, or