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This is a verbatim copy of a Word document (attached, and as PDF) available since 2004-03-09 on IRC-IT's home page. It has been written in the migration process from aliases to mailing lists and is slightly outdated today.

The name change from IUB to Jacobs has been performed in the web version, but not the PDF. The content has not been updated in the process.

Attached Files

  File Modified
PDF File Utilizing Mailing Lists.pdf Jun 16, 2006 by Schmidt, Torge
Microsoft Word 97 Document Utilizing Mailing Lists.doc Jun 16, 2006 by Schmidt, Torge
Text File Mailing List Creation Form.txt Oct 08, 2007 by Schmidt, Torge

Synopsis

This document gives technical background concerning mailing lists.  It then explains Jacobs University's policies regarding mailing lists, and how to create, manage, and use them.  The handling of email by the server infrastructure is discussed in a separate document, as is filtering of emails.

In the following, the string "LISTNAME" denotes the identifier of the list as defined upon its creation.  If links or mail addresses given in this document are to be used, "LISTNAME" has to be substituted with the identifier of the actual list. All mailing list addresses are relative to the domain @lists.jacobs-university.de. Email lists not ending on @lists.jacobs-university.de are not approved by Jacobs University, but instead are organized by individuals acting on their own behalf.

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Table of Content

Technical Background

The issue of mailing lists is usually raised, if multiple recipients are to be reached by sending a single mail.  In principle, there are three methods to achieve this result, and it should be carefully considered, which method to employ.

Personal Distribution List

This is handled by the respective mail client. The user defines a new contact entry consisting of multiple email addresses, and sends emails to that contact ("Verteilerliste" in German Outlook).  The mail server receives a single mail with several addressees, and sends it to each of them.  If a recipient replies to the mail, it is sent back to the original sender, or to all recipients of the original mail, based on the reply action chosen ("Antworten" or "Allen Antworten" in German Outlook).

  • Advantages: Easy setup and maintenance, no server overhead, no computer systems management involved.
  • Disadvantages: Usually local to the sender (if not shared via Microsoft Exchange), hard to get synchronized between multiple users, no automation options.
  • Conclusion: Perfect for infrequent, personal communication.

Server-based Mail Aliases

Basically the same mechanism can be configured on the central mail server, called an alias definition.  The alias is a dedicated email-address which can be used by everyone in the world to send emails to.

  • Advantages: One email address, kept up-to-date by the system administration staff, low server overhead (except on abuse or delivery errors).
  • Disadvantages: High load on system administration staff, no management automation, no distribution control over mails, potential for abuse by outsiders, easy to overload system, "Anscheinsvermutung" of liability by Jacobs University.
  • Conclusion: Good for mapping workflows or to define abstract names to addresses of real people, good as a single point of contact for official Jacobs University business, not available on user request.

Mailing List Processor

Specialized server-based software that can be employed to handle mass mailing. These are real mailing lists. Mailing lists appear as an email-address to send email to. The emails are processed by a dedicated list management software and, after various processing steps, are delivered to the recipients.

  • Advantages: One email address, list management available (incl. moderation, access control, size limitation, archival), flexibility, user can administer mailing lists themselves.
  • Disadvantages: High server load, complex initial setup.
  • Conclusion: Good for controllable but user-based, frequent mailing, offering flexibility and automation.

Jacobs University Policies

Jacobs University features three distinct sets of mailing lists: official, convenience, and user-driven (aka light-weight) mailing lists.

Official Mailing Lists

These mailing lists are the official channel of Jacobs University administrative email communication.  Membership is mandatory for Jacobs University users, and Jacobs University users can't voluntarily leave these lists.  They are managed by appointed people.  Postings on these lists have the string "OFFICIAL" in the subject line. All official lists are moderated and membership is mandatory.

(info) The definitive, most current, list of mailing lists is available online at the mailing list server.

The following official mailing lists exist:

Outreach

Address (@lists.jacobs-university.de)

Administrator

Users of Jacobs University, except students

jacobs-users

IRC-IT

Students of Jacobs University

jacobs-students-announce

Registrar

Employees of administration

jacobs-adminstaff

IRC-IT

All members of SES (faculty, research instructors, secretaries, postdoctoral fellows, lecturer, research associates, research assistants, lab assistants, technicians, graduate students, dean, assistant, secretary)

ses

Assistant to the Dean

All members of SHSS (faculty, research instructors, secretaries, postdoctoral fellows, lecturer, research associates, research assistants, lab assistants, technicians, graduate students, dean, assistant, secretary)

shss

Assistant to the Dean

All members of JCLL (faculty, research instructors, secretaries, postdoctoral fellows, lecturer, research associates, research assistants, lab assistants, technicians, graduate students, dean, assistant, secretary)

jcll

Assistant to the Dean

(info) Please note, that "Administrator" is not necessarily equivalent to "Moderator". In any case, if question concerning a specific mailing list arise, send a mail to LISTNAME-owner@lists.jacobs-university.deinstead of directing it to specific persons.

(minus) Please note, that you should not set the "No Mail" flag on these lists. Even if you set this flag on these lists, you are required and assumed to have received all content from the list. Though, Jacobs University reserves the right to reset the "No Mail" flag on these lists.

Convenience Mailing Lists

Jacobs University provides a set of mailing lists for specific purposes.  Membership policy is defined by the administrator of the respective list. The lists are not official Jacobs University communication channels, but suit specific purposes. Technically, they are not different from the following user-driven lists. (lightbulb) The only difference is of organizational nature, namely, they are established and well-known to the Jacobs University community. Initially they are set up to only allow member's mailings. All lists configuration parameters are in the hands of the administrator(s) and subject to change by them, particularly the initial moderation status.

The following is a list of the mailing lists of general interest:

Outreach

Purpose

Address (@lists.jacobs-university.de)

Administrator

Moderated

Everyone at Jacobs University

Day-to-day communication, lost keys, car lights still on, etc.

jacobs-talk

IRC-IT

No

Students at Jacobs University

Student's needs

jacobs-students

Registrar

No

Everyone at Jacobs University

Events announcements

jacobs-events

IRC-IT

No

SES faculty, research instructors, dean, assistant, secretary

Communication with/among SES-faculty and the Dean's Office

ses-faculty

Assistant to the Dean

Yes

SES research associates, research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, lab assistants, technicians, secretary

Communication with/among research staff and secretaries

ses-research-staff

Assistant to the Dean

Yes

SES lecturers

Communication with lecturers/"Honorarkräfte

ses-lecturers

Assistant to the Dean

Yes

Master's and PhD students in SES

Communciation with/among SES graduate students

ses-graduates

Registrar

Yes

SHSS faculty, research instructors, dean, assistant, secretary

Communication with/among SHSS-faculty and the Dean's Office

shss-faculty

Assistant to the Dean

Yes

SHSS research associates, research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, lab assistants, technicians, secretary

Communication with/among research staff and secretaries

shss-research-staff

Assistant to the Dean

Yes

SHSS lecturers/"Honorarkräfte"

Communication with lecturers/"Honorarkräfte"

shss-lecturers

Assistant to the Dean

Yes

Master's and PhD students in SHSS

Communciation with/among SHSS graduate students

shss-graduates

Registrar

Yes

JCLL faculty, research instructors, dean, assistant, secretary

Communication with/among JCLL-faculty and the Dean's Office

jcll-faculty

Assistant to the Dean

Yes

JCLL research associates, research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, lab assistants, technicians, secretary

Communication with/among research staff and secretaries

jcll-research-staff

Assistant to the Dean

Yes

JCLL lecturers/"Honorarkräfte"

Communication with lecturers/"Honorarkräfte"

jcll-lecturers

Assistant to the Dean

Yes

Master's and PhD students in JCLL

Communciation with/among SHSS graduate students

jcll-graduates

Registrar

Yes

Biology Faculty

Communication with/among SES Biology Faculty

ses-bio-faculty

Assistant to the Dean

No

Chemistry Faculty

Communication with/among SES Chemistry Faculty

ses-chem-faculty

Assistant to the Dean

No

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Faculty

Communication with/among SES Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Faculty

ses-eecs-faculty

Assistant to the Dean

No

Geophysics and Astrophysics Faculty

Communication with/among SES Geophysics and Astrophysics Faculty

ses-geoastro-faculty

Assistant to the Dean

No

Mathematics Faculty

Communication with/among SES Mathematics Faculty

ses-math-faculty

Assistant to the Dean

No

Physics Faculty

Communication with/among SES Physics Faculty

ses-phys-faculty

Assistant to the Dean

No

Integrated Social Sciences Faculty

Communication with/among ISS Faculty

shss-iss-faculty

Assistant to the Dean

No

History Faculty

Communication with/among History Faculty

shss-hist-faculty

Assistant to the Dean

No


Psychology Faculty


Communication with/among Psychology Faculty


shss-iscp-faculty


Assistant to the Dean


No


European Utility Management Faculty


Communication with/among EUM Faculty


shss-eum-faculty


Assistant to the Dean


No


Methods Courses


Communication with/among Methods Faculty


shss-meth-faculty


Assistant to the Dean


No


Arts and Literature Faculty


Communication with/among History and Theory of Art and Literature Faculty


shss-htal-faculty


Assistant to the Dean


No


Everyone having to do with KruppCollege

 


krupp-college


Campus Activity Coordinator


No


Students of KruppCollege

 


krupp-students


Campus Activity Coordinator


No


Everyone having to do with MercatorCollege

 


mercator-college


Campus Activity Coordinator


No


Students of MercatorCollege

 


mercator-students


Campus Activity Coordinator


No


Everyone having to do with College III

 


collegeiii-college


Campus Activity Coordinator


No


Students of College III

 


collegeiii-students


Campus Activity Coordinator


No

(warning) That table represents information as of 2004-03-09!

(lightbulb) Check the mailing list server for most current information.

User-driven Mailing Lists

These mailing lists are established by request of members of Jacobs University.  The settings of these lists are up to the administrator.  The workflow for creating such a list is given in the following section.

Naming Scheme

Mailing lists have to conform to a common naming scheme. The following prefixes are to be used:


Prefix


List Outreach


jacobs-


Jacobs University


ses-


SES, administered by official SES representatives


shss-


SHSS, administered by official SES representatives


jcll-


JCLL, administered by official SES representatives


irc-


IRC


clamv-


CLAMV


course-


Pertaining to specific classes/courses, including intersession.  Please note, that with the progress of Campus.NET, lists for curricular courses will be handled by Campus.NET and won't necessitate separate mailing lists any more.


bio-, chem-, cps-, eecs-, geoastro-, math-, nano-, phys-, mmp-, ...


Interest groups for the various disciplines; instead, for class-specific lists please use course-bio321, course-chem211, etc.


project-


Research project, esp. with external members, 3rd party funding, ...


krupp-, mercator-, collegeiii-


Colleges


sports-


Members of sport activities, e.g. fitness center, volleyball, ...


club-


Student clubs, e.g. MMC, iwaveradio, ...

Creating a New Mailing List

Each Jacobs University member, including students, is offered the possibility to request new mailing lists.  The first action to do to create a new mailing list is to decide, if a mailing list is really needed.  It is only reasonable to instantiate a mailing list, if its features are needed; the feature section of this document gave the list to check.  Please remember also, that creating a mailing list generates work in the IT department, puts additional load on the list server, and puts the creator (i.e., YOU) into the obligation to administer the list, creating workload on YOU!

If you are the only one to send mail to the list of recipients, it is advisable to use a personal distribution list of your mail client. If the recipients are expected to answer to the mail, and they have to reach all members of the mailing, than they should use the "Reply to all" action.  A mailing list is not justified here.  Please keep also in mind, that creating a mailing list for your own communication needs does not save you from maintaining the member's list.

Having to send an email to a LARGE number of people, especially to a group only you need to address, does also NOT justify an email list.  Manage your group with a spreadsheet (i.e., MS Excel), copy the column with the email addresses into the "To:" field of your mail client (i.e., MS Outlook), and you're done.

To create a mailing list, the respective form has to be filled out (given as an appendix, copy'n'paste it into a plain text editor).  Fill it out thoroughly, don't skip questions, and be precise, conscientious, and brief. If it can't be read, it won't!  If it can't be copied'n'pasted into the bare-bone list processing software, it won't!  Please bear in mind, that other people might use other tools than you, and that features of other tools might differ from features of your tools.

Send it in by email, use plain text (7 bit ASCII) format. Do NOT send Microsoft Word files, documents of other word processors, or mails formatted in HTML.  Send the filled request form to itsupport@jacobs-university.de. Creation requests by students should be send there as well, but need the approval of the Director of Campus Activities/College Coordination and are forwarded accordingly by IT Support "behind the scenes".

After validation of the mailing list creation form the mailing list will be manually created by IT staff.  Upon creation, you will receive an automated mail message by the mailing list management software telling you details about the created list. Here is an example:

Subject: Your new mailing list: LISTNAME

The mailing list `LISTNAME' has just been created for you. The following is some basic information about your mailing list.

Your mailing list password is: YOURADMINPASSWORD

You need this password to configure your mailing list. You also need it to handle administrative requests, such as approving mail if you choose to run a moderated list.

You can configure your mailing list at the following web page:

http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admin/LISTNAME

The web page for users of your mailing list is:

http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/listinfo/LISTNAME

You can even customize these web pages from the list configuration page. However, you do need to know HTML to be able to do this.

There is also an email-based interface for users (not administrators) of your list; you can get info about using it by sending a message with just the word `help' as subject or in the body, to:

LISTNAME-request@lists.jacobs-university.de

To unsubscribe a user: from the mailing list 'listinfo' web page, click on or enter the user's email address as if you were that user.

Where that user would put in their password to unsubscribe, put in your admin password. You can also use your password to change member's options, including digestification, delivery disabling, etc.

Please address all questions to mailman-admin@lists.jacobs-university.de.

The following defaults will be set for a newly created list:

  • Subscription requests need user confirmation and moderator approval.
  • Mailings from addresses on the list (members) are automatically accepted (i.e., any list member can send emails to the list).
  • Mailings from addresses not on the list (non-members) are moderated (i.e., a moderator/administrator has to approve each mailing of a non-member).
  • Mailings to the list are not archived. The default issue for newly created mailing lists is set to 500Kbyte per message (including encoding, this amounts to files of ~375Kbyte file size).
  • Please set the list options as you require for your purposes.

From now on, YOU are administrator of the newly created list, with all responsibilities and obligations that come with it.The mail message gives you the links to the administration and information web pages and the administrative password. Please use the administration link to verify the settings of the mailing list, and make changes to the configuration as needed, before you propagate the list. Especially, look into the subscription and un-subscription policy, the moderation setting, and the visibility and archival options.

If this is your first contact with the list manager software, take your time to familiarize yourself with the numerous options and their meanings. There are a lot of "Details" links provided on the administration pages.  If an option is unclear, click on the link and read the explanations carefully.  A user manual is available at the home page of the mailing list manager software, "mailman", at http://www.list.org/. If you want to tweak an option, go ahead and play around, but be careful, as it is easy to break the list with a wrong configuration setting.

If you want to spread general knowledge at Jacobs University about your new list, a mailing to a widely read list at Jacobs University might be in order, depending on the policy of the list you choose as a multiplier.  jacobs-talk@lists.jacobs-university.de is a good approach, it reaches all of the Jacobs University community who want to stay informed, and doesn't bother others.  Please remember, that not sending out an email advertising your new list does not mean, nobody will see or use it; everyone who visits http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/listinfowill see it (this includes the global public). Be sure to write a good short description in the application to allow for quick recognition and decision about your list on that web page.

It is a good idea to put the link to your new list (http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/listinfo/LISTNAME) into your mail, so that people can read about the list on the web, and can subscribe there.  Be sure to describe the new list on the application form accordingly. Please check the link yourself by clicking on it, before you send the email, sparing you embarrassment and corrective emails.

By default, new lists allow subscription request mails from non-Jacobs University mail addresses.  If you want to change this behaviour of the list, go to the "Privacy Options", "Subscription Rules" and modify the "Ban list" (i.e. addresses to disallow) parameter accordingly.  The entries are Python regular expressions, be sure to understand them before you change the entry.  To outright reject all subscription requests, put "^(?!(.*@.*jacobs-university\.de$))" in the text area (without the quotes); see "Python Library Reference, 4.2 re – Regular expression operations" (http://www.python.org/doc/current/lib/module-re.html) or the "[Python] Regular Expression HOWTO" (http://www.amk.ca/python/howto/regex/) Be sure to update the descriptive text of your list, so that your users are aware of the new policy!

Guidelines

A few tips for creating mailing lists:

  • Use all lower case letters for the list name (though the name is case insensitive).
  • For the naming of the list, separate an institutional identifier from a list utilization identifier by a dash (e.g., if you are from the CLAMV and want to establish a list on super computing, call the list "clamv-supercomputing").  This enables recipients and users of the lists to easily identify, categorize, and type it.  Also, related mailing lists will stay together at the lists overview page, if they share the same prefix.  Use the prefixes as defined in the policy section.
  • If you can foresee a limited lifetime of your list, e.g. by the semester, you should specify this on the application form.  This will reduce load on the server in the future.
  • It is generally contra-productive to make a mailing list "invisible".  Mailing lists are all about communication in a community.  If you think, others should not know of your conspiracy, maybe you should use a personal distribution list.
  • "Use the form, Luke!"

Restrictions

There are only very few restrictions on creating, managing, and using mailing lists.  They are basically governed by common sense, ethics, and good style.  Especially, do not try to impersonate other people, institutions, or groups.  There are specific prefixes defined for various purposes, including for creation only by official representatives of the schools, i.e. don't request a list starting with ses-, if you are not doing this in the name of the SES Dean's Office.

Do not be offensive, rude, impolite.  Regional, National, European, and International laws apply.  Do not speak in the name of Jacobs University or other organizational bodies of Jacobs University.  Comply to the "General Policy Governing the Appropriate Use of Computer Resources" ( -http://www.jacobs-university.de/computer_policies General Policy Governing the Appropriate Use of Computer Resources).  Use of Jacobs University's electronic resources is a privilege, not a right.

Do not change the maximum message size to an excessive amount.  Especially, do not set it to unlimited, or expect severe (and justified) bashing for killing Jacobs University's infrastructure!  It is best to not change it at all from the given default.  If you have to change it, make the maximum size smaller.  Remember the multiplication effect and persistence of list mailings!  In effect, this costs money and efforts.  With power comes responsibility!

Managing a List (for Administrators and Moderators)

There is a distinction between being an administrator and being a moderator of a mailing list.  To cite from the password page of a list (e.g., http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admin/LISTNAME/passwords):

The list administrators are the people who have ultimate control over all parameters of this mailing list. They are able to change any list configuration variable available through these administration web pages.

The list moderators have more limited permissions; they are not able to change any list configuration variable, but they are allowed to tend to pending administration requests, including approving or rejecting held subscription requests, and disposing of held postings. Of course, the list administrators can also tend to pending requests.

In order to split the list ownership duties into administrators and moderators, you must set a separate moderator password in the fields below, and also provide the email addresses of the list moderators in the general options section.

Please note, that all administrators share a single list administration password, and all list moderators share a single list moderation password.  The administration and moderation password can and should differ. 

The list administrators and moderators are defined on the http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admin/LISTNAME/generalby specifying their email address.  Each list administrator will get administrative emails for the list, and all list moderators and administrators will get emails pertaining moderation of mailings.  Btw., neither administrator nor moderator of a list need to be member of that list! But can be, of course...

Tip: If you are administrator, and have setup a moderator, and don't want to be bothered by moderation messages, you can filter them in your mail client.  As a moderator, it might be advisable to filter messages into a specific folder, too. 

Using the web interface requires cookies to be activated in the web browser.

Adding Users

Adding one or more users can be done on the web page, under the "Configuration Categories" category, "Membership Management, "Mass Subscription", e.g., at http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admin/LISTNAME/members/add. Adding just one member counts as mass subscription, too.  Just put in mail addresses of users to add to the list into the respective web form field.  If multiple members are to be added, put only one email address per line.  You can also specify a file to upload, being plain text (i.e., 7 bit ASCII, Microsoft Word and Excel users be aware!), containing one address per line, making it easy to initially setup a mailing list.

By default, new lists allow subscription request mails from non-Jacobs University mail addresses.  If you want to change this behaviour of the list, go to the "Privacy Options", "Subscription Rules" and modify the "Ban list" (i.e. addresses to disallow) parameter accordingly.  The entries are Python regular expressions, be sure to understand them before you change the entry.  To outright reject all subscription requests, put "^(?!(.*@.*jacobs-university\.de$))" in the text area (without the quotes); see "Python Library Reference, 4.2 re – Regular expression operations" (http://www.python.org/doc/current/lib/module-re.html) or the "Python's Regular Expression HOWTO" (https://docs.python.org/2/howto/regex.html) Be sure to update the descriptive text of your list, so that your users are aware of the new policy!

Please be aware, that depending on the administrator's configuration, it is possible for users to subscribe to the list by themselves (again, depending on the list configuration, the administrator might get a notification of the event).  This might or might not require the administrator's permission, depending on the configuration.  Look at "Configuration Categories", "Privacy Options", "Subscription Rules", "What steps are required for subscription?" (e.g., http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admin/LISTNAME/privacy/subscribing) The options are:

Confirm:           The mailing list software generates a response to the requestor to prevent malicious subscription by others. If and when the requestor responds to that mail, the subscription is granted and the new member is added. This requires no intervention of an administrator, but might give control out of hand (e.g., it would be possible for people outside Jacobs University to put themselves on the mailing list without anyone noticing; the ban_list option could be used to prevent this from happening, see the documentation).

Require approval:                A list administrator has to approve the subscription.  This would not prevent abuse by a third party.

Confirm and approve:         It first requires confirmation of the requestor as specified above.  After the abuse case has been eliminated, an administrator's approval is required to retain control of the membership list.  This should be the regular case prevents abuse and holds control over the list.

New User Requests

Based on "New User Requests" (NUR), new users of Jacobs University will be added to some lists by IRC-IT.  The details are given in the Appendix: "Addition to Mailing Lists based on NUR".

Begin of Semester

At the beginning of a semester, the registrar will submit a list of names to IRC-IT to create email addresses for newly enrolled students.  All new email addresses are added by IRC-IT to the lists jacobs-students-announce,jacobs-students,jacobs-talk,jacobs-events.

In addition, IRC-IT receives lists from the registrar about student residences in the colleges.  The email lists krupp-college, krupp-students, etc. are updated according to these lists from the registrar.

Changes and moves of residential associates and other residents of the colleges are not covered by the registrar's list, hence the list administrators of the respective *-college lists have to care for the list updates, including removal and addition.

Removing Users

Removing users is as easy as adding them.  Go to the "Mass Removal" web page (e.g., http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admin/LISTNAME/members/remove) and, as in "Adding Users", put one email address per line.  If you want to do this on a more individual basis, go to the "Membership List" web page (e.g., http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admin/LISTNAME/members/list), and tick the "unsub" checkbox in front of the users to unsubscribe.  Don't forget to press the "Submit Your Changes" button.

Again, based on the configuration of the list, list members might or might not be able to remove themselves from the list.  This is a "yes/no" choice for the administrator (see, e.g., http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admin/LISTNAME/privacy/subscribing). If set to "no", a moderator's approval is required for members to remove themselves from the list.  For Jacobs University official lists membership is mandatory, hence un-subscription requests require moderator's approval, and this approval will never be given!

Staff Resignation Sheet/Student Leaving Sheet

On submitting a Staff Resignation Sheet to IRC-IT, the respective account will be deleted from all mailing lists.  The same applies for a Student Leaving Sheet, with the "Withdraw" action checked.  For a limited time of absence, IRC-IT does not modify any mailing lists memberships or options.

Student lists are updated once a semester as described in the section "Beginning of Semester", including removal of addresses.

Moderation

Be careful to provide for moderation in times of your absence!

Configuration

It is important to keep in mind, that moderation is set on a per-user basis!  The default setting for newly added users is defined under the category "Member filters", as the option "By default, should new list member postings be moderated?", at the link http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admin/LISTNAME/privacy/sender.

If you administer a moderated mailing list, you can explicitly allow the mailings of some members to pass by moderation and go onto the list without moderator intervention.  You can do this on a per-member basis  at the link http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admin/LISTNAME/members. For the members whose mailings you don't want to be moderated (e.g., your own), uncheck the column "mod". Don't forget to press the "Submit Your Changes" button. There is also a link button to set all members of the list to moderated status. 

If you want to allow non-members' mailing to pass by the moderation, you can specify their email addresses under the category "Non-member filters", as the option "List of non-member addresses whose postings should be automatically accepted.", at the link http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admin/LISTNAME/privacy/sender.

Moderating Emails

At the administration web page of your mailing list you will find, under the Category "Other Administrative Activities", the link "Tend to pending moderator requests"; for the LISTNAME list, this link points to http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admindb/LISTNAME.  After clicking on that link you will see a list of all mailings held in the moderation queue, with Subject, Size, Sender, etc.  The queued mailings awaiting moderation are ordered by sender.  In front of each sender's mailings is the option to take for all of that user's items in the moderation queue. 

The available options to decide are:

  • Defer:                Don't decide now, defer the decision until later.
  • Accept:              Let the mail through onto the list.
  • Reject:               Do not let the mail trough onto the list, and send an email stating this fact back to the sender of the mail.
  • Discard:            Do not let the mail through onto the list, but don't send an email stating this fact back to the sender of the mail.

You can also click on each message and decide on a mail-by-mail basis how to deal with each single mail.

Go through all mailings, check the respective option for each user and/or for each mailing, and after completing this for all items on a page, click the "Submit All Data" button.  You can even reset the moderation bit for a specific user on that page. 

You have just moderated a bunch of mailings with only a few clicks, saving a few posters from embarrassment and a lot of recipients from getting bored by off-topic mails!

It also possible to moderate mailings by using email alone.  Administrators and moderators will get an email, when moderated mailings have arrived. The automated mail contains detailed instructions how to moderate the mailing.  Be sure to read the attachments as well. 

Please be also aware, that all emails which don't match the privacy options for allowed mailings will have to be moderated (by a moderator or administrator, if no moderator is defined), even for lists explicitly set to not be moderated.  This specifically includes messages exceeding the size limit and mailings from unsubscribed addresses (if not configured to be discarded automatically).

Removing a List

A mailing list has to be removed by the server manager of IRC-IT.  The list administrator should send an email with the request to itsupport@jacobs-university.de.

Lists can be defined with a lifetime.  In due time before the list is deleted by the server manager, e.g. 14 days ahead, you will receive an email, that your mailing list is due for deletion, and if you don't object, it will be deleted. Everything associated with it, is lost. This particularly includes the archives of the list.  If you don't want this to happen, or want to save some of the context data, please respond to the due message in time.  Provide for your times of leave!

Other Issues

Please be reasonable if re-setting the message size limit. Bear in mind, that one email is replicated to a number of mail boxes, and the emails might be kept for months or even years on Jacobs University's servers, costing disk space, performance, and administrative overhead. The default issue for newly created mailing lists is set to 500 Kbyte per message (including encoding, this amounts to files of ~375Kbyte file size). Lists with a large number of subscribers might have a smaller message size limit. If you really intend to set a larger message size limit, please contact IT support beforehand.

Don't specify spam or content filters on lists. It would conflict with current policy to put that decision in the user's hands.  Be aware, that if a contract worth a few million Euros will be lost due to your filter rules, you might get held liable!

Using a Mailing List (for all Users)

If you receive an email from the list processor software, please read it carefully.  If you don't understand it, please read it again, slowly.  The automated mails are usually self-explanatory and give detailed explanations and instructions.

If you have trouble or complaints about the mailing list, send an email to the administrator of the respective list, i.e. LISTNAME-owner@lists.jacobs-university.de.  IT support is not responsible for the administration of mailing lists.  If you forgot your password, see below.

Using the web interface requires cookies to be activated in the web browser.

Getting onto a List

For Jacobs University non-official lists, see http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/listinfo regularly for available mailing lists. If the short description sounds interesting for you to partake in the discussion, click on the list-specific information link, e.g. http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/listinfo/LISTNAME. A page will be displayed which contains more detail about the list.  If you want to subscribe, enter your mail address on the page, and, optionally, provide a password (if you don't, one will get generated and sent to you). 

Depending on the configuration of the mailing list, you might get an automated response, requiring you to validate your request, thus preventing a third party from subscribing you onto a mailing list. Also, depending on configuration of the mailing list, a moderator's approval might be needed for you to join the list.  Allow for some time to process your request.

Again, depending on the configuration of the mailing list, you are required to use an Jacobs University mail address.  If you don't, your request is immediately rejected at the web page.

Setting User Options

You can set user-specific options.  Browse to the member options login web page of that specific list, e.g. http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/options/LISTNAME, and look around to see, what's available. Each option shows a descriptive text explaining it.  If unsure, check the "mailman" documentation available at http://www.list.org.

In particular, the web interface of your list membership configuration offers the option to stay on a list but no longer receive mailings from it.  This can be helpful for longer periods of absence; don't forget to re-enable the receipt of mails when you are back.  Please note, that even if you set the "No Mail" flag on Jacobs University OFFICIAL lists, you are required and assumed to have received all content from the list.  Though, Jacobs University reserves the right to reset the "No Mail" flag on these lists.

Getting off a List

For Jacobs University official lists, there is no way to get off! These are official Jacobs University communication channels and all Jacobs University user's are expected to read them.

To get off other mailing lists, browse to the member options login web page of that specific list, e.g. http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/options/LISTNAME and, after checking the "Yes, I really want to unsubscribe" box, hit the "Unsubscribe" button.  Depending on the configuration of the list, your un-subscription is transformed into a moderated request, pending approval of a moderator.

Filtering Incoming Mails

You can filter emails based on the list it is received on.  See the filter options of your mail client.  For Outlook users, have a look at "Extras -> Rules Wizard" (you must have a mail view active to get that pull-down menu entry).  You can either filter based on message header content, or based on the subject line.

Mailing onto a Moderated Lists

If you send mail to a moderated list, your mail will be held, until a moderator or administrator decides about the outcome of the mailing.  To inform you of this process, you might receive a mail as this:

Your mail to 'LISTNAME' with the subject

SUBJECT OF MAIL

Is being held until the list moderator can review it for approval.

The reason it is being held:

Post to moderated list

Either the message will get posted to the list, or you will receive
notification of the moderator's decision. If you would like to cancel
this posting, please visit the following URL:

http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/confirm/LISTNAME/9191269ca82e02a7a1d825159d31d27a1cadc1c6

This will also give you the option to delete the message by clicking on the given link before it is reviewed for moderation.  If you delete the mail from the moderation queue BEFORE a moderator decides, it will not be sent to the list.

Please bear in mind, that moderation is done by a human and will take some time.  If your message didn't show up as soon as you expected, bother the administrator(s) of the mailing list (LISTNAME-owner@lists.jacobs-university.de), but don't ask IT support.  IT support in general is not responsible for managing mailing lists, and can't make mailing list administrators or moderators work faster than they see fit.

Message Size

Please be aware, that if and when you send a mail message to a mail list, your message will be duplicated as often as there are members on the list.  This implies to keep your messages small, please refrain from sending large and seemingly funny pictures, sound, video, ... files.  This will put load on the mail servers, fill the hard disks, and usually doesn't provide any additional value.  If you absolutely must distribute this information to a large number of people, put large files on a web server and send the link (URL) to it onto the list. The mailing list software enforces a maximum mail size on mailings and puts mails not complying to this policy into a moderation queue (if so configured, or outright rejects it).  If your mail is rejected due to exceeding the mail size limit, please shorten your mail.  If it is put in a moderation queue, you will receive an email, e.g.:

Your mail to 'LISTNAME' with the subject

Example Subject for a message too big

Is being held until the list moderator can review it for approval.

The reason it is being held:

Message body is too big: 1261980 bytes with a limit of 10 KB

Either the message will get posted to the list, or you will receive
notification of the moderator's decision. If you would like to cancel
this posting, please visit the following URL:

http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/confirm/LISTNAME/f1d0c0bc2e58488ed945da7e5d476e0389ff7943

If you receive such an email, by clicking on the link it is possible to revoke the message and to check it for how to reduce its size.  It is very likely, that you attached a file of an excessive size.  Please check your attachment(s) to use a compressed file format. Use an application program to convert file formats and reduce the size.  The following table gives (non-comprehensive) suggestions for space saving conversions:


File Type


Large File Format


File Extension


Small File Format


File Extension


Conversion Program


Exemplary Product


Formatted Text


Microsoft Word


.doc


Adobe Portable Document


.pdf


PDF generator or converter


Adobe Acrobat


Image


Windows Bitmap


.bmp


Joint Photographic Experts Group


.jpg, .jpeg


Image Viewer


Photoshop


Image


Tag(ged) Image File Format (without compression)


.tif, .tiff


Tag(ged) Image File Format, with LZH compression


.tif, .tiff


Image Viewer


Photoshop


Any


Any


Any


Compressed Archive


.zip


Archiving and Compressing Application


WinZip

Password Reminders

Based on the configuration of the lists you are subscribed to, you will periodically get reminders of your password of the specific list (the default upon list creation is no).  You will need the password to configure the list to your liking, including if you want to receive password reminders.  The password is only for your eyes.  Do NOT forward this email to anyone!  This is an example of such a reminder email:

This is a reminder, sent out once a month, about your
lists.jacobs-university.de mailing list memberships. It includes your
subscription info and how to use it to change it or unsubscribe from a
list.

You can visit the URLs to change your membership status or
configuration, including unsubscribing, setting digest-style delivery
or disabling delivery altogether (e.g., for a vacation), and so on.

In addition to the URL interfaces, you can also use email to make such
changes. For more info, send a message to the '-request' address of
the list (for example, mailman-request@lists.jacobs-university.de) containing
just the word 'help' in the message body, and an email message will be
sent to you with instructions.

If you have questions, problems, comments, etc, send them to
mailman-owner@lists.jacobs-university.de. Thanks!

Passwords for your.email@jacobs-university.de:

List Password // URL
---- --------
LISTNAME@lists.jacobs-university.de YOURPASSWORDHERE http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/options/LISTNAME/YOURMAILADDRESS%40jacobs-university.de

[...]

The mail gives you links to the member option web page for each list, too.

Forgotten Passwords

If you have forgotten your password, you can either wait for the next password reminder email (if the list is configured accordingly, see above), or you can go to the web page http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/options/LISTNAME, provide your mail account in the web form, and, in the "Password reminder" section, click on the "remind" button. The message "A reminder of your password has been emailed to you." appears on top of the page.  Wait for the message to arrive and you have your current password back.

IT Support does not know your password, can not know it, and can't change it.  If you have trouble regarding your password setting, either follow the procedure above or contact the list administrator(s) via email, i.e. LISTNAME-owner@lists.jacobs-university.de.

Spam and Content Filters on Mailing Lists

It is IRC-IT policy at Jacobs University, to NOT filter messages by content and then revoking some.  Instead, all messages are delivered, but tagged, so that users might filter based on their own decisions and liking.

Having said that, it is technically possible to specify spam and content filter rules for mailing lists. By default, none are set.  If there exist such rules, they have been set by the administrator of the mailing list.  If you have the impression, that mailings don't go through due to this kind of filtering, you should check with the list administrator(s) (LISTNAME-owner@lists.jacobs-university.de).  IT support can not and will not change the list administrator's configurations. It's up to them.  Complain to the list administrator(s).

General Remarks

Most features are available by email as well. Send an email to LISTNAME-request@lists.jacobs-university.de, with the word "help" in the subject line header or body of the email to get detailed instructions.  Also, the web pages often give instructions and mail addresses to use for specific purposes.

Mails sent to a mailing list will be modified! Header lines will be added to show the processing by the mailing list management software, and the subject line will be pre-pended by a tag showing an abbreviation of the name of the list it was posted on.

Sending to a list implies, that a large number of people will read the mail.  Please write it so that people can understand the contents even when they don't know you, your status, your role, and/or your environment.  Imagine a complete stranger and try to write the mail accordingly. There might also be users on the list, not having been there shortly before; if you dive into a long discussion thread, be sure to provide enough content so that newcomers to the list will be able to participate.

Sending to a list also implies, that people will use other tools to write and read mails than you do.  If you want to reach people, use the least denominator for the format of the mail.  You should usually refrain from sending Microsoft Word files, Framemaker documents, Microsoft Excel sheets, Executables, Funny Formatted MS Outlook Mails, etc., because there will be recipients who will not be able to open them: they miss the necessary applications, operating systems, hardware, ... to do so. Use plain text instead, or PDF files. Do not send HTML-formatted mail messages: a lot of people read their mail from a command line and would see only unreadable gibberish.

Also don't rely on any font to be available or in use, even don't assume that a "tab stop" will be interpreted as wide as it is on your screen.  If the format of text is important and you use plain text, use a non-proportional font (e.g., Courier) and spaces instead of a proportional font (e.g., Arial, Times) and tab stops.

For many years now, an etiquette and culture exists on the internet on how to use email and how to behave in electronic communication with other people, called the "Netiquette".  Please check "RFC 1855: Netiquette Guidelines" (http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1855.txt) or use your favourite search engine to look for "Netiquette" and honour it and respect others.  This particularly applies when you are writing to a large number of people as is the case in writing to a mailing list, and mind the international character of Jacobs University:

"Remember that the recipient is a human being whose culture, language, and humor have different points of reference from your own.  Remember that date formats, measurements, and idioms may not travel well. Be especially careful with sarcasm." [RFC1855]

Appendix: Useful Links

List of all (visible) mailing lists: http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/listinfo

List-specific information page: http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/listinfo/LISTNAME

List-specific archive page: http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/private/LISTNAME

List-specific administration page: http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admin/LISTNAME

List-specific moderation page: http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/admindb/LISTNAME

Home page of "mailman", the mailing list manager software: http://www.list.org/

Home page of python, the programming language "mailman" is written in: http://www.python.org/

Python Library Reference, 4.2 re – Regular expression operations: http://www.python.org/doc/current/lib/module-re.html

[Python] Regular Expression HOWTO: http://www.amk.ca/python/howto/regex/

Appendix: Mailing Lists Handout

List of all mailing lists: http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/listinfo

Official Mailing Lists


Outreach


Address
(@lists.jacobs-university.de)


Users of Jacobs University, except students


jacobs-users


Students of Jacobs University


jacobs-students-announce


Employees of administration


jacobs-adminstaff


All members of SES (faculty, research instructors, secretaries, postdoctoral fellows, lecturer, research associates, research assistants, lab assistants, technicians, graduate students, dean, assistant, secretary)


ses


All members of SHSS (faculty, research instructors, secretaries, postdoctoral fellows, lecturer, research associates, research assistants, lab assistants, technicians, graduate students, dean, assistant, secretary)


shss


All members of JCLL (faculty, research instructors, secretaries, postdoctoral fellows, lecturer, research associates, research assistants, lab assistants, technicians, graduate students, dean, assistant, secretary)


jcll

Convenience Mailing Lists


Outreach


Purpose


Address
(@lists.jacobs-university.de)


Everyone at Jacobs University


Day-to-day communication, lost keys, car lights still on, etc.


jacobs-talk


Students at Jacobs University


Student's needs


jacobs-students


Everyone at Jacobs University


Events announcements


jacobs-events


SES faculty, research instructors, dean, assistant, secretary


Communication with/among SES-faculty and the Dean's Office


ses-faculty


SES research associates, research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, lab assistants, technicians, secretary


Communication with/among research staff and secretaries


ses-research-staff


SES lecturers


Communication with lecturers/"Honorarkräfte


ses-lecturers


Master's and PhD students in SES


Communciation with/among SES graduate students


ses-graduates


SHSS faculty, research instructors, dean, assistant, secretary


Communication with/among SHSS-faculty and the Dean's Office


shss-faculty


SHSS research associates, research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, lab assistants, technicians, secretary


Communication with/among research staff and secretaries


shss-research-staff


SHSS lecturers/"Honorarkräfte"


Communication with lecturers/"Honorarkräfte"


shss-lecturers


Master's and PhD students in SHSS


Communciation with/among SHSS graduate students


shss-graduates


JCLL faculty, research instructors, dean, assistant, secretary


Communication with/among JCLL-faculty and the Dean's Office


jcll-faculty


JCLL research associates, research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, lab assistants, technicians, secretary


Communication with/among research staff and secretaries


jcll-research-staff


JCLL lecturers/"Honorarkräfte"


Communication with lecturers/"Honorarkräfte"


jcll-lecturers


Master's and PhD students in JCLL


Communciation with/among SHSS graduate students


jcll-graduates


Biology Faculty


Communication with/among SES Biology Faculty


ses-bio-faculty


Chemistry Faculty


Communication with/among SES Chemistry Faculty


ses-chem-faculty


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Faculty


Communication with/among SES Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Faculty


ses-eecs-faculty


Geophysics and Astrophysics Faculty


Communication with/among SES Geophysics and Astrophysics Faculty


ses-geoastro-faculty


Mathematics Faculty


Communication with/among SES Mathematics Faculty


ses-math-faculty


Physics Faculty


Communication with/among SES Physics Faculty


ses-phys-faculty


Integrated Social Sciences Faculty


Communication with/among ISS Faculty


shss-iss-faculty


History Faculty


Communication with/among History Faculty


shss-hist-faculty


Psychology Faculty


Communication with/among Psychology Faculty


shss-iscp-faculty


European Utility Management Faculty


Communication with/among EUM Faculty


shss-eum-faculty


Methods Courses


Communication with/among Methods Faculty


shss-meth-faculty


Arts and Literature Faculty


Communication with/among History and Theory of Art and Literature Faculty


shss-htal-faculty


Everyone having to do with KruppCollege

 


krupp-college


Students of KruppCollege

 


krupp-students


Everyone having to do with MercatorCollege

 


mercator-college


Students of MercatorCollege

 


mercator-students


Everyone having to do with College III

 


collegeiii-college


Students of College III

 


collegeiii-students

Appendix: Mailing List Creation Form

This form is also attached as a plain .TXT file.

MAILING LIST CREATION FORM
==========================

1. Who is requesting the mailing list, and will be the list administrator?
Full Real name:
Position:
Email address at Jacobs University:

2. What should be the mail identifier of the mailing list (e.g. club-mylist@jacobs-university.de)?

3. How long should this list be active?
[ ] Unlimited
[ ] End of semester

4. What is the purpose of the mailing list? This will show up in the description of the list to others. Include policy descriptions for accepted email content, intended senders, intended receivers.

5. A one line description of the list. This will show up in the overview of all lists.

HOW TO CONTINUE
---------------

Send it in by email, use plain text (7 bit ASCII) format. Do NOT send Microsoft Word files, documents of other word processors, or mails formatted in HTML. Send the filled request form to itsupport@jacobs-university.de.

Document Information:
---------------------

File: Mailing List Creation Form.txt
Distribution: Jacobs University all
Last saved: 09.03.2004 17:45
Status: Released
Author: IRC-IT/ts

Appendix: Addition to Mailing Lists based on NUR

Based on "New User Requests" (NUR), new users of Jacobs University will be added to lists by IRC-IT.  Specifically, based on the "Function" check box from the NUR:


Function


Lists to add to


Administration


jacobs-adminstaff, jacobs-users


Administration (IRC-IR/IRC-IT)


irc-ir/irc-it, irc, jacobs-adminstaff, jacobs-users


SES, Faculty


ses-faculty, ses, jacobs-users


SES, Graduate (not employed, i.e. no other box marked)


ses-graduates, ses, jacobs-users


SES, Graduate (employed, i.e. other box marked)


ses-graduates, ses-research-staff, ses, jacobs-users


SES, Research/Teaching Assistant


ses-research-staff, ses, jacobs-users


SES, "Other", with addition lecturer


(no automatic addition, please specify explicitly list of addresses, incl. jacobs-users if required)


SHSS, JCLL


(similar to SES, with prefix shss-, jcll-)

In addition, if the "Faculty" check box is marked, the new email address is added to a mailing list specific to the research area based on the "CostCenter" entry of the NUR.  In particular:


CostCenter


List to add to


2110


ses-math-faculty


2120


ses-phys-faculty


2130


ses-chem-faculty


2140


ses-bio-faculty


2150


ses-geoastro-faculty


2160


ses-eecs-faculty


2310


shss-meth-faculty


2320


shss-iss-faculty


2330


shss-hist-faculty


2340


shss-iscp-faculty


2350


shss-htal-faculty


2360


shss-eum-faculty

JCLL lists will be amended as needed.

Appendix: Migration Information

With the introduction of "real" mailing lists in the sense as described above, existing mailing lists and aliases will be adapted to the new mechanism.  Existing mailing lists will modified to conform to unspoken standards and administratorship will be transferred to the requestor of the list.  Specifically, existing aliases will be transformed into mailing lists, and lists with non-conforming naming schemes will be converted to mailing lists and renamed.

Accessing the lists server by web will likely be changed to SSL/TLS/HTTPS-only in the near future

Mailing lists for courses will not be needed any longer, when they become available through Campus.NET.

Specifically, in addition to the above listing, the following renaming will take place:


Old name of mailing list/alias


New name


jacobs-user


jacobs-users


Adminstaff


jacobs-adminstaff


irc-library


irc-ir


clamv


clamv-users


clamv-profs


clamv-faculty


schooles


ses


facultyesc


ses-faculty


lecturer-es


ses-lecturers


eecs


ses-eecs-faculty


graduatees


ses-graduates


facultyhss


shss-faculty


graduatehss


shss-graduates


schooles_bio


bio-faculty


schooles_chem


chem-faculty


schooles_eecs


eecs-faculty


schooles_geoastro


geoastro-faculty


schooles_math


math-faculty


schooles_phys


phys-faculty

The following changes will be important to be aware of:


List name


Change


jacobs-users


Moderated


jacobs-students


Free for Jacobs University students to (un)subscribe


jacobs-talk, jacobs-events


New lists, free to (un)subscribe


shss-*-faculty


New lists of SHSS

This migration information appendix and this notice is subject to be deleted in further iterations of this document.

7 Comments

  1. Please consider updating this document to the new list names with Jacobs. Or is the autoritative source for this information somewhere else? Thanks, Christoph

    1. Thanks for pointing this out. Done.

  2. I am trying to view my subscription options for the jacobs-students mailing list. However, the URL http://lists.jacobs-university.de/mailman/listinfo does not work. A ping to lists.jacobs-university.de results in 100% packet loss. Can this please be fixed?

    Thanks, Andrei

    1. Just tried this, the page works well. Where and how are you connected?

  3. Dear IT,
    The text on this page with regards to the college mailing lists is not completely correct.

    "In addition, IRC-IT receives lists from the registrar about student residences in the colleges. The email lists krupp-college, krupp-students, etc. are updated according to these lists from the registrar."

    At the moment, IRC-IT has nothing to do with these lists. A student, paid jointly by all the colleges and supervised by one of the college masters (me) takes care of all aspects mentioned above and more. However, if IRC-IT would like to take over this job, I am sure that the colleges would be more than happy to hand this over into your hands !

    regards
    Vikram

  4. Are there any plans to update to Mailman 3?

  5. Sure, as it is available, provided by a stable repository, and once an upgrade path from the current mailman version 2.1.x is available.