I. Types of Mailing Lists

We currently have 4 types of mailing lists:
  1. open subscribe, closed post --> compass, moneydaily, drweil, streetlife
  2. approved subscribe, open post --> tinm, five
  3. open subscribe, open post --> netly-l
  4. approved subscribe, moderated post --> outage

The majority of our mailing lists are of the first type and are broadcast only with posting permission enabled only for list owner email addresses. Our internal mailing lists comprise the second type of list. Netly is are only list which has a open post/open subscribe paradigm. It is an extremely high traffic list will a small but loyal list of subscribers. Since it is such a high volume list, we also offer it in DIGEST form.

Receiving a list's mail in digest form, means that instead of getting every message as it is sent to the list, you receive one big message containing all the little ones which have been sent during a specific period of time. How often a digest is sent depends on either the size of all the mail messages sent or can simply be time based. The netly-l digest goes out once a day. How to switch your (or a subscribers) mail options will be discussed later.

The fourth and most unusual type of mailing list is our outage list. To subscribe to the list, you must be approved by a list owner. In addition, when someone posts to the list it must be approved by the list moderator or editor. Editors themselves can post straight to the list, but ordinary subscribers cannot post without the intercession of a list editor.

Almost all our mailing lists are ARCHIVED on a yearly, monthly or weekly basis depending on frequency of distribution. The moneydaily list is distributed twice a day, five days a week. This mailing list is archived on a weekly basis. On the other hand, the drweil mailing list goes out once a week. This list is archived on a monthly basis.

What does archiving mean? It means that there is an accessible copy of each posting for a particular list which is sitting on the ListServ server and can be accessed by anyone through a few commands to ListServ. Depending on how often a list is archived, the user will receive a file back which may contain all the postings for the week or all the postings for the month etc. How to access you archives will be discussed later.

II. Sending Mail to Your List

To post to the list send e-mail to the following address:
For example, if your list is called compass, you can send mail to either of the two addresses:

Include the message you wish to post as the BODY of the message.

In a few minutes you should receive a confirmation message back from ListServ. To reply to the confirmation message, do a reply-to (excluding the body) and put "OK" (without the quotes) in the body of the text message. Make sure the "key" is in the subject line. The "key" is a six-character cookie you will have received after emailing your command to Listserv, and it will look something like 65FE9A. It is located in the "Subject: " header line of the message from ListServ.

Alternatively, if you have problems with your "reply-to", you can also confirm by sending mail to with the words:

OK key
in the BODY of the mail message. For example, if the subject line of the mail message returned from ListServ is:

Subject: Command confirmation request (7E1D6E)
you would reply with:
in the BODY of your mail message.

Note that unconfirmed commands will be cancelled after 2 days. If you realize that you had a spelling error in your posting before you have confirmed it you can ignore the first confirmation request, correct your spelling and resend the mail message to your list address and then okay the second confirmation message. In 48 hours you will receive a message saying that your original request to post to your list has been cancelled.

For most of our ListServ mailing lists only email addresses which have been defined as owners addresses can send mail to a list.

III. Listserv Administration

TINM uses an application called ListServ to administrate its mailing lists. The ListServ commands are detailed below. You should substitute the specific name of your list for the "listname" variable.

Three important things to remember:

  1. All commands should be sent, via e-mail, to either or
  2. Listserv ignores email subject lines.
  3. Listserv is not case-sensitive -- letters are the same whether they're capital or lower case.


Listserv uses a confirmation mechanism for administrative commands. When you email an administrative command to your list or to, the software will reply asking for a confirmation. This mechanism is used instead of a password to prevent forged e-mail which appears to come from a list owner address. If you see ListServ asking you for confirmation for commands you did not submit, please let Operations know, someone may be trying to SPAM your mailing list.

To add a user:

ADD listname FirstName LastName

This command will send notification to the subscriber detailing how to how to unsubscribe, it will also include information "welcoming" them to your mailing list; this "welcome" information is what you put into the welcome message field of the Mailing List request form. If you decide you'd like to change your welcome information send mail to the contact at the bottom of this page.

Note that the ADD command needs to have two separate words after the email address. If you don't know the users name put "Name Unknown". You can also put the word "Anonymous" in place of the FirstName LastName fields.

To add a user without having the list send an introductory message:
QUIET ADD listname FirstName LastName
To remove a user from the list:
DELETE listname

This command will send the subscriber notification that he was removed from the list by the list owner. If you'd like to change the message they get when they are deleted from the list to something more user friendly like "thanks for being with us", please send your replacement text to me.

To remove a user without a notification sent to subscriber:

To change a users address, you must delete their old address and re-add them using their new address. Alternatively, you can tell them how to do this themselves.

Both the ADD and DELETE commands will ask you for a confirmation.


More experienced list owners may want to quietly BULK ADD or BULK DELETE multiple users to or from their lists. To BULK ADD multiple users to a list, send mail to with the following in the BODY of the mail message:

//X DD * FirstName LastName FirstName LastName FirstName LastName FirstName LastName
. . . . FirstName LastName

To quietly BULK DELETE multiple users from a mailing list, send mail to with the following in the BODY of the mail message:

QUIET DELETE listname DD=X PW=??????
//X DD *
where ??????? is YOUR password.


To obtain a password, which is unique to your individual owner email address. Send mail to with the following in the BODY of the message:

PW ADD foobar
where "foobar", in this example, is the password you have chosen. To change your password, send the following to with the following in the BODY of the message:

PW CHANGE foobar foobar2
where "foobar" is your old password and "foobar2" is your newly selected password.

To delete your password, send the following to with the following in the body of the mail message:
In all cases ListServ will ask you for a confirmation (the "ok" message) which you need to reply to before you will be able to use your password in a bulk delete operation.


To get number of subscribers to list, send mail to with the following in the BODY of the mail message:

REVIEW listname (NOHeader (Short
To get a list of subscribers:
REVIEW listname (NOHeader
To get a list of subscribers back in some meaningful order send the following request:
REVIEW listname (NOHeader by SORT_FIELD
where "SORT_FIELD" is one of the following options: country, name, userid. Note that the returned email may be huge in size if you maintain a large list and request the complete list of users. A 60,000 person list will create a 3 to 4 MB mail message. We are considering limiting the size of mail messages which can be delivered by our mail server to 1MB. In this event you would be better off using the search commands in the section below.


To search your list for a specific email address or substring within that email address:
SCAN listname *pattern*
The * symbol is what is known as a "wildcard". The * matches any zero or more characters.

The SCAN command can also be used to search for a person's name. For instance, you may get mail from John Doe asking to be unsubscribed. He's sent his mail from You search your mailing list for this email address, but don't find it. Perhaps he subscribed originally from and now the ISP's domain name has changed. In this case, you should first to a scan using the email address with a wild card:

SCAN listname john.doe@*
If this fails you can try searching by his name to see if anything turns up:
SCAN listname John Doe
The latter search will only work if he actually followed the FirstName, LastName subscribe convention, but sometimes it doesn't hurt to try it. If this fails you might want to try to broaden your search criteria. Search for all the email addresses that start with John and end with "com":
SCAN listname john*@*.com
Often someone's email address' domain may have changed from to or their original domain was and now is or In these cases, you'd only one to search on the first portion of their email address, for example:
SCAN listname john.doe@*
Make sure you don't make your search criteria too broad, if you have a large list and search on for all subscribers from, you may end up with a returned email message which is thousands of lines long.

Sometimes you may get an especially vocal subscriber who is threatening legal action if they are not taken off the list. If you try the above searches and are unable to pull up any email addresses from the list which match their email address, you should try to ask them for as much information to assist you in your search. Ask them if 1) they have any other email addresses they may be getting mail forwarded from 2) if they share mailboxes with someone who might have subscribed them to the list 3) if they have any known mail aliases. An example of a mail alias is This email address actually is identical to the email address and mailbox. You send mail to and you send mail to me.


To change a subscriber's mail settings for them, send the following message to
where "MAIL_OPTION" is one of the following:
  1. MAIL - normal mail delivery
  2. NOMAIL - turns off mail delivery
  3. DIGEST - mail is delivered only in digest form

IV. What Information You Need To Share with Your Subscribers.


Send mail to with the following in the BODY of the mail message:
SUBSCRIBE listname FirstName LastName


Send mail to with one of the following in the BODY of the mail message:
SIGNOFF listname
Within a few minutes of sending this unsubscribe request the user will get an email back from ListServ asking for confirmation. When the subscriber receives this message, they should reply to the message, excluding the body, and put the single word "OK" in the BODY of the mail message. The word "OK" should be the ONLY text in the BODY of the message and should not include the double quotes which are being used for emphasis. The "OK" confirmation mechanism will expire with 48 hours. All commands that are not confirmed via the "OK" mechanism within 48 hours will be rejected. So if the user does not confirm their unsubscribe request within two days, they will have to start over and send a new unsubscribe request.

We strongly recommend that you include the "How to Unsubscribe" information at the top or bottom of every mail message that you send to your list. We also recommend that you give them an alternative address for unresolved problems or to request help in unsubscribing.

Note that sending the command:
to will cause the user to be deleted from ALL mailing lists which run on our server.


Send mail to with the following in the BODY of the mail message:
where "MAIL_OPTION" is one of:
  1. MAIL - normal mail delivery
  2. NOMAIL - turns off mail delivery (say they go on vacation for a month)
  3. DIGEST - they receive only the lists digests and not mail as it comes in
ListServ will send the user a notification of their changed setting status.


To get a list of all the available digest files for a particular mailing list, send mail to with the following in the BODY of the mail message:
INDEX listname
if you do this for a list, for example, moneydaily, you will receive back the following information:

Archive files for the MONEYDAILY list at LISTSERV.PATHFINDER.COM
(weekly logs)
filename filetype GET PUT -fm lrecl nrecs date time
MONEYDAILY LOG9801A LOG OWN V 73 1822 1998-01-07 19:59:33
MONEYDAILY LOG9801B LOG OWN V 75 2916 1998-01-14 20:36:07
MONEYDAILY LOG9801C LOG OWN V 76 2264 1998-01-21 20:29:27
MONEYDAILY LOG9801D LOG OWN V 75 2953 1998-01-28 21:17:44
MONEYDAILY LOG9801E LOG OWN V 76 1040 1998-01-30 20:10:07
MONEYDAILY LOG9802A LOG OWN V 73 1266 1998-02-04 09:22:13

Most of this information is overly complicated for the average user, however the most important thing they should be looking at is the date. This list is archived once a week, so if they are interested in retrieving the moneydaily articles for January 22, 1998, they should request the file dated 1998-01-21, named LOG9801C. To request a copy of the file, send mail to with the following in the body of the mail message:
ListServ will mail back the file which contains all the postings to the moneydaily mailing list for that week.

V. What Is All That Stuff ListServ Is Sending Back To You?

ListServ will send you notification when it deletes someone from the list. It usually does this when the email address has an unrecoverable error. An example of this might be "user unknown at destination", meaning this email address no longer exists on the destination machine. How soon it does this and after how many attempts have been made to send the mail depends on how the individual lists are configured. Most of our lists have fairly stringent "autodelete" policies. If you find that subscribers are sending you mail asking why they keep getting kicked of your list, we can modify your list's autodeletion policy.

Keep in mind however, that ListServ is only a software package. It determines whether an email address is invalid by interpreting the bounced messages it gets back from different types of mail servers all over the world. Not all of these servers reply in a standard fashion. ListServ will send you a daily error report which gives a list of the email addresses it is currently monitoring for possible deletion. The addresses on the daily error report are obtained only when ListServ CAN understand the messages it receives back from the destination mail machines.

Often ListServ can't understand the bounced messages it receives back. You may start getting a bounce every time you post to your list from the same invalid email address. Although you as a human can easily determine what the problem is, and recognizes the error message as one that has been seen over and over, the software may not be smart enough to figure it out. What we suggest is to set aside 15-30 minutes every week to clean up your list. To do this you will want to utilize the QUIET bulk delete, see above.

VI. Contacts

Amanda Hanes

VII. Resources

Amanda S. Hanes
Manager of Systems Development, Pathfinder
Time Inc., New Media (x3585)