Tag Archives: mailman

Email Listserves

Bryn Mawr College uses software called Mailman for our listserves. We have a mix of announcement and discussion lists, some of which are moderated, and others which are unmoderated or “open”. Changes to listserves can be made via the web interface by the list owner. You can subscribe to or manage listserves at http://newmailman.brynmawr.edu.

There are some listserves with automatic enrollment, such as all campus notification lists. For more information about these listserves, and to read our information regarding mass emails, please visit the Mass Email Information Page. To request a new listserve, there is a request form available on the LITS web site.

What is a Mailing List?

As per the Mailman Users Manual at http://wiki.list.org:

A mailing list is simply a list of addresses to which the same information is being sent. If you were a magazine publisher, you would have a list of the mailing addresses of all the subscribers to the magazine. In the case of an electronic mailing list, we use a list of email addresses from people interested in hearing about or discussing a given topic.

Two common types of email mailing lists are announcement lists and discussion lists.

Announcement lists are are used so that one person or group can send announcements to a group of people, much like a magazine publisher’s mailing list is used to send out magazines. For example, a band may use a mailing list to let their fan base know about their upcoming concerts.

A discussion list is used to allow a group of people to discuss topics amongst themselves, with everyone able to send mail to the list and have it distributed to everyone in the group. This discussion may also be moderated, so only selected posts are sent on to the group as a whole, or only certain people are allowed to send to the group. For example, a group of model plane enthusiasts might use a mailing list to share tips about model construction and flying.

Some common terms:

  • A “post” typically denotes a message sent to a mailing list. (Think of posting a message on a bulletin board.)
  • People who are part of an electronic mailing list are usually called the list’s “members” or “subscribers.”
  • “List administrators” are the people in charge of maintaining that one list. Lists may have one or more administrators.
  • A list may also have people in charge of reading posts and deciding if they should be sent on to all subscribers. These people are called list moderators.
  • Often more than one electronic mailing list will be run using the same piece of software. The person who maintains the software which runs the lists is called the “site administrator.” Often the site administrator also administrates individual lists.

Bryn Mawr College uses a piece of software called Mailman for our lists. We have a mix of announcement and discussion lists, some of which are moderated, and others of which are unmoderated or “open”. One can subsribe to or manage mailing lists at http://newmailman.brynmawr.edu. More information about using these lists can be found on the Tech Documentation Blog.


  • To subscribe to a list, visit http://newmailman.brynmawr.edu and choose Subscription Page.
  • There, click on the list you would like to subscribe to and enter your email address and name to subscribe.
    • If the list is private/closed, your request will be sent to the list’s administrator for approval.

For Listserve Owners:

In order to change settings or moderate emails sent to your listserve, you will need to log in by navigating to http://newmailman.brynmawr.edu and choosing Administration Page. Find and click on the listserve you would like to manage, and log in with the listserve’s password.

  • Note: If you never received a password, or are unsure of what the password for your listserve is, please contact the Help Desk at 610-526-7440 or help@brynmawr.edu
  • To change a listserve password: 
    • Once you have logged in, click on Passwords in the top left.
    • In the Change list ownership passwords section on this page, enter and confirm the new password in the administrator password fields.
    • The password can be up to 25 characters long and may only include letters and numbers.

Modifying Listserves:

Once you have logged in, you’ll see a number of categories to manage your listserve. The following is an overview of some most commonly used options; all options in the Mailman interface are labeled and include links to further information if necessary.

  • List Ownership: In the General Options category, you can add or remove list administrator email addresses. You can also add or remove moderators, who can approve or deny pending emails and membership requests, but not modify most listserve settings.
  • Add or Remove Members: In the Membership Management category, you can see a list of all members of your listserve and change their specific settings – for example, allowing a member’s messages to the listserve to never be moderated, or unsubscribing an individual from the list.
    • The Mass Subscription subcategory allows you to add users to your list by entering their email addresses or uploading a file.
    • The Mass Removal subcategory allows you to remove users from your list in bulk by entering multiple email addresses at once.

Moderating Listserves:

To prevent spam sent via listserves, emails sent to lists are held for moderation by default. To change moderation settings, look in the Privacy options category.

  • In Sender filters, you can set email addresses whose messages should be automatically approved, or addresses whose messages should be immediately discarded.
  • To review messages that are waiting to be discarded or released, click on Tend to pending moderator requests in the top right; this will list any messages that are waiting and will present options for managing them.

When you are done moderating your listserve, be sure you log out by clicking Logout in the top right corner of the window.