Mailing lists are usually used to send a single message to a group of people, for example staff lists for research groups or division and student lists for courses. A list name is typically several words linked together using hyphens; this naming scheme ensures related lists are grouped together.
A mailing list is simply a collection of email addresses - the list members. Each list also has a collection of managers. There are potentially two other groups of people associated with a mailing list. These are authorised senders, who are explicitly allowed to send messages to the list, and list moderators, who can deal with unauthorised messages and manage subscriptions.
Lists within Engineering
The mailing lists which are available within the department are listed on a separate page, which is visible only to Engineering department members - you may need to log in with Raven to access this page:
Using mailing lists
Sending messages to lists
For lists run by the Engineering Department using the lists.cam.ac.uk system we always provide an address within @eng.cam.ac.uk which points to the lists.cam.ac.uk address. If the list was called firstname.lastname@example.org then you would send mail to everyone on the list by addressing your mail to email@example.com itself.
You should only send relevant material to a mailing list - sending irrelevant material is likely to breach the Information Technology Syndicate Rules.
Subscribing and unsubscribing from lists
To subscribe to the list, unsubscribe from it, or change your address, you should send a mail message specifying the change you would like to firstname.lastname@example.org (i.e. to the name of the list with -request after the list name). Do NOT send such requests to the whole list. These messages are handled by software, and if you send it a message it does not understand it will email you back with instructions. Some lists required the list maintainer to approve requests, so do not expect the change to happen instantly!
You can also see which lists you are subscribed to and make changes by visiting https://lists.cam.ac.uk/mailman/ and logging in with your Raven password. Please note that in almost every case the list names displayed here which correspond to lists in the Engineering Department will have an extra eng- on the front, so for example email@example.com is the same mailing list as firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you subscribe to active mailing lists it is easy to quickly accumulate an excessive amount of mail, so you should remember to check and tidy your mailbox regularly. If you are going away for more than a couple of weeks you should either unsubscribe from any mailing lists, and resubscribe again when you return or visit the lists service webpage and set them to send you no mail while you are away. Please remember to unsubscribe from mailing lists if you are leaving the department.
Contacting the list owners
If you have a question for the managers of a list you can send it to the list owners directly by adding -owner after the list name, for example for the weeble-users list you would use the address email@example.com.
Running Mailing Lists
Existing mailing lists
We can help you set up a mailing list, but normally it would be up to the managers of the list to update the list members as necessary, decide what messages are acceptable to the mailing list, and so on. The Computing Service provide mailing list documentation to help with this.
If you cannot find the information you need from the documentation we're always happy to help if you need assistance, just drop us a message to postmaster-query and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
If you would like to set up a mailing list for use in the Engineering Department, then please contact postmaster-query to discuss your requirements. Please do not contact the Computing Service directly. We need to ensure that any lists under Engineering are appropriate for the department and fit in with our naming scheme. A direct application is only appropriate for lists of University wide interest, such as undergraduate societies.
To apply for a list you just need to send a message to postmaster-query. We will ask you for a certain amount of information about your list in order to set it up. It is helpful if you can consider:
- The Name you would like for your list.
- A Brief Description of the purpose of the list.
- An idea of who will be allowed to send messages to the list (its Security Status - see below).
- A list of Managers who will run the list on a day to day basis.
- A list of Authorised Senders if the list is Restricted (see below).
- The Visibility of the list (whether the list membership is Public or Private).
The Security Status of the list is changeable after the initial setup. The options and when they are appropriate are given below:
- Open - anyone, anywhere will be able to mail to all the list. The Computing Service recommend this option should never be used for a list which has more than about 100 members, and we recommend it isn't used for any list of more 10 people. It is appropriate for addresses which need to be externally visible and accessible, e.g. enquiry points, course administrator addresses etc.
- OpenCam - anyone in the cam domain (with an e-mail address ending cam.ac.uk ) will be able to mail to the list. This is probably of limited use to us - might be appropriate for an enquiry point only expected to be used by current students or staff.
- Closed - only list members, managers and authorised senders will be able to mail to the list. The Computing Service recommend that large lists should be at least closed. This option is appropriate for most discussion lists and some announcement lists, and is probably appropriate for most Engineering Department lists. Messages from non-members will be sent to the list moderators who can decide whether to pass the message on to the rest of the list.
- Restricted - only the list moderators and authorised senders can freely post to the list. This is useful for informational lists where only a small number of people need to send to the list.
- Secure - each message must be explicitly approved by list moderators. This is most appropriate for very large lists with small amounts of legitimate traffic.
Once the list parameters are agreed we will apply to the Computing Service for the mailing list(s) on your behalf and make any initial adjustments to the list configuration. We will then set up the appropriate aliases at Engineering to allow the list to be accessed either via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
We will then let you know that your list is ready for you to start adding list members and then use. We will send you a link to the Computing Service Lists Documentation, but do feel free to ask if you have any further questions at that point - or if you would like one of the postmaster team to give you a brief demonstration of how the system works.