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Getting started with mailing lists in Sympa

How to join, create and manage a Cambridge mailing list in Sympa, the Mailman replacement service.
  • It is not necessary to use a Cambridge email address to receive messages sent to a Cambridge list.
  • Mailing lists should have at least one manager/owner with an @cam.ac.uk email address.

Becoming a list member and using a list

  • If you wish to be added to the membership of a mailing list you may be able to subscribe yourself, or you may need to email the list managers (see Subscribing to a list in Information for list members).
  • If you want to send a message to the list, you should send the message to the list name, e.g. soc-cuxs@lists.cam.ac.uk.
  • If you are replying to an existing message and only want to reply to the sender, be careful not to reply to the whole list by mistake.
  • If you start to receive junk mail via the list, don't respond to it, just delete it from your mailbox.

Setting up a mailing list

  • Read Further information about UIS-managed mailing lists.
  • See if there is already a list set up. You can do this using the lists system, or you can ask in your Department, College or University Society. Lists that are intended for academic use are usually organised by a department. Those that are for use in a College are usually run by the College Office or the College Computer Officer. University Society lists are usually run by the officers of the Society.
  • If you find that no list exists, you need to think of a name for your list. In the case of a Society, the name will usually include the usual abbreviation for the Society, e.g. the Cambridge University Xylophone Society, otherwise known as CUXS, would have the mail list soc-cuxs@lists.cam.ac.uk.
  • Consider your policy on what the mailing list is to be used for.
  • Decide who is going to manage the list; the recommendation is to have more than one manager for each list.
  • Decide if you will also need moderators, and if so who the moderators are to be.
  • Consider your policy on who is allowed to mail to the list. While it is tempting to feel that everyone who wants to should be able to join in discussion, you may soon find your list has fallen victim to junk mail and you will need to secure the list until the problem dies down.
  • Request a Sympa list.

Managing and moderating a list

You have several responsibilities as a mailing list manager:

  • Setting up and maintaining the options that affect the operation of the list, for example if your list starts to receive a lot of junk mail, you may need to change the status of the list until the problem ceases.
  • Depending on the list configuration, possibly subscribing and unsubscribing list members and moderating messages posted to the list (if you need to do this it is best if you do it in a timely fashion).
  • Ensuring that the use of the mailing list does not contravene any law, any University regulation or policy relating to the use of computing facilities, or the JANET acceptable use policy.

When you leave the University

  • If you are a member of a list or lists, unsubscribe (remove yourself) from all the lists of which you are a member.
  • If you are a manager or moderator of a mailing list, you should hand over your responsibilities to your successor and remove yourself from the list.

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