This chapter helps the (potential) subscriber to ezmlm/idx lists to learn the basic functions of the mailing list manager. It contains information on how to start and stop subscribing to ezmlm/idx list, how to access the list archive, how to send messages to the list, and how to contact the list owner, if necessary.
Features marked ``(*)'' are available only if the list uses ezmlm-idx in addition to ezmlm. See More information for more information on ezmlm and ezmlm-idx.
ezmlm is a modern mailing list manager. Its purpose is to efficiently send a message to a large number of recipients with minimal delay. It allows automated additions and subtractions from the subscriber database. In addition, it may keep an archive of messages. It can also impose restrictions on what may be sent or retrieved and by whom. Some mailing list managers keep a database of subscriber information and tailor the message specifically for each subscriber. ezmlm sends the same message to all subscriber. This is much more efficient. The benefits to the user are that on average posts to ezmlm lists reach subscribers much faster than they would with other mailing list manager.
The digest list(*) is special kind of mailing list extension.
receiving posts, it sends out ``digest'', ordered collections of
messages, when a predetermined limit in time or traffic volume has been
reached. From the subscriber point of view, the digest list for the
To temporarily leave an ezmlm list, just unsubscribe. Subscribe again later, when you wish to receive messages or digests again. ezmlm processes such requests virtually instantaneously, removing the need for a temporary ``hold'' command.
ezmlm is highly automated. Virtually everything can be done simply, rapidly, and without human intervention. ezmlm encodes your address and the message number in the return address to automatically handle bounces, i.e. messages returned to sender because they couldn't be delivered to the subscriber. This can be used to find out the message number, as well as the address you're subscribed under (see Unsubscribing from an ezmlm list).
ezmlm has a different address for each command. In essence, the address is the list name and the command. This is straight forward to interpret and therefore very fast. It also makes it very easy to send commands from the command line without having to worry about the subject and the message body (which are ignored).
Messages to the list address itself are sent to all subscribers and
should never be used for administrative
requests. If you have forgotten everything, send a message to
If you want to interact administratively with the ezmlm mailing list
As mentioned previously, ezmlm commands are put into the ADDRESS. To
The confirmation is used so that only you (and the list administrator) can add/remove your address from the list of subscribers.
Sometimes, you may want to subscribe an address other than the one
you are sending from. Let's say you're sitting at
Some ezmlm mailing lists may use subscription moderation(*). Subscription to these lists is identical to the process described above, except that after confirmation the request is passed on to the list moderator(s). You become a subscriber only after one of the moderators has approved your request. If you want to send any additional information to the moderator, do so in your confirmation message. ezmlm will notify you once you are a subscriber.
You've guessed it already!
To unsubscribe from
If you message contains a ``List-Unsubscribe:'' header, just click on it if your mail reader supports it and send of that message. If you mail reader doesn't support this, copy the entire address from after ``mailto:'' until just before ``>'', paste it into the ``To:'' field of a new message and press ``SEND''. Reply to the confirmation request.
Otherwise, you have to know your subscription address.
To find it, look at the very first header of
any message from the list. This should contain something like
You can also send -unsubscribe requests for each potential subscription address and reply to the confirmation requests. The message sent by ezmlm in response to you -unsubscribe confirmations will tell you if you -unsubscribe attempt was successful.
With ezmlm-idx(*) you can also send mail to
If you for some reason are not successful with these attempts you can as a
last resort contact
Unsubscribe from subscription moderated lists works the same way as for normal lists. You never need approval to remove your address from a moderated list.
When a list is set up to allow posts from subscribers only(*),
a post from an address (
To send messages to an ezmlm list, you must know its name. If the list
Due to the efficiency of ezmlm, you usually get back the message you sent to the list within a few minutes. Of course, this is true only if you are a subscriber.
Most ezmlm lists require that you specify a ``Subject'', a few words that give everyone an idea what your message is about. This is a good thing, since many subscribers automatically delete mailing list messages without subject. Conversely, a good subject causes those interested/able to help with your comment/problem to read the message. If you send a message without a subject, ezmlm will send it back to you with an error message.
ezmlm also rejects messages to the list if the subject is a single command
word only, such as ``subscribe'' or ``help''. These are almost always
misdirected commands from novice users. Instead of ``flames'' from
many subscribers, the sender gets an informative error message. As you
know, your should send mail to
The list owner may place additional restrictions on messages to the
list. ezmlm allows rejection of messages that are not from subscribers(*),
that are too long/short(*), or that contain certain MIME parts(*). If your
message is not acceptable by these criteria, ezmlm will send your
message back to you and tell you why it failed. You can then
correct the problem and try again.
You can also mail
In special cases, the list owner may set up the list to be message moderated(*). When you subscribe, you should be told if the list is moderated. Also, ezmlm adds a special ``Delivered-To: moderator for ...'' header to the messages. On a message moderated list, your message, instead of going directly to the list, is sent to one or more moderators. They can accept or reject, but not modify the message. If the message is accepted, it is sent to the list unmodified. If it is rejected, it is sent back to you, optionally with an explanation from the moderator. On moderated lists it may take a little longer for the message to reach all the subscribers, since it has to be read and approved by at least one moderator before being sent out to the subscribers.
Message moderation is very useful for e.g. announcement lists, or lists where for other reasons not all posts are accepted. ezmlm does not reveal the moderators' identity to you. If you feel that you are treated unfairly by a moderator, please state your case to the list-owner.
Messages sent via an ezmlm mailing list come ``From:'' the original sender. For many lists, it is appropriate to discuss privately with the original sender, then post a follow-up message with e.g. a solution to the list. In this case, just ``Reply'' to the sender. Without this behavior two things may happen: First, a subscriber may intend to reply to the original sender only, but sends a message to the entire list. This can be very embarrassing. Second, misconfigured subscriber programs sometimes send ``John is on vacation'' messages back to the ``From:'' address. The ezmlm setup allows these to go to the original sender (a minor nuisance) rather than to the list (a major nuisance with the potential for mail loops if the subscriber software is severely misconfigured).
In other cases, you may want to send the reply to all subscribers. The easiest is to type in the list address by hand or to use the ``Reply-to-all'' function of your mail reader. If you do this, delete your address as well as the original sender's address so that the message goes to the list only. Since messages reach subscribers within minutes, it is usually superfluous and sometimes annoying to also send a reply directly to the sender as well.
By default, ezmlm mailing lists keep an archive of all the messages sent to the list. Some of them may have been removed by the list owner, but usually at least the last few month's message will be there. With ezmlm you can retrieve one message at a time with the -get command. With ezmlm-idx(*) you can access the archive in three different ways: You can get an ``-index'' listing message subjects and authors only. This information is sent as sets of 100 messages with up to 2000 entries per request. You can also ``-get'' a range of messages(*) (up to 100 per request) which will be sorted by subject (``Re:'' and other ``subject modifiers'' are ignored) and time received. Finally, you can retrieve a set of messages or a ``thread'' containing a specific message. This usually gives you an ordered set starting with the first post, and then all replies in order received.
To access the archive, again remember that commands are put into the ADDRESS. Here are examples of the commands:
If you haven't been following the list for a while,
or you just want to see the discussion of
a specific question, the easiest is to start with -index(*).
If not found,
send further -index(*) requests going backwards in the archive.
found one message (e.g. ``667'') in the thread use the -thread(*)
If you're a digest subscriber and find an interesting discussion,
Some lists may be set up to allow archive access to subscribers only(*). If
you are not a subscriber, you can simply subscribe. If you are a subscriber,
but are denied archive access, you are subscribed under an address different
from the one you are sending from. Easiest is to unsubscribe (see above)
the current subscriber address and subscribe the address you're sending from.
Alternatively, some mail programs (e.g. Mutt) allow you to change the
SENDER address depending on where you are sending mail. Last, if this
address difference is necessary, you may FORWARD a list message, and a note
with the two addresses and a request to
1.8 Getting ezmlm digests a few times per week rather than individual messages(*).
ezmlm list may be set up with a digest function. This is basically a second
address database used to send out ``digests'',
ordered collections of messages sent to the main
list. Usually, a ``digest'' is sent out every other day. This is very
convenient for users who want to follow a list, but not participate in
the discussion. A digest is sorted, so it's easy to read what interests you.
Thus, the digest for
Simple ezmlm/idx lists test if the conditions for a digest are met whenever a message arrives. Thus, the digests do not arrive at a specific time, but rather approximately every two days, or more often if there is a lot of traffic.
On some mailing lists you are a subscriber, and as a subscriber, you can choose to receive the messages individually or as a digest. With ezmlm, you can subscribe to the ``list'' for individual messages, or to ``list-digest'' for digests. Some people prefer to subscribe to both: They can keep up with a discussion if they like, but if they have too little time they can just delete the individual messages and read the ``threads'' that interest them. To switch from being a ``list'' subscriber to being a ``list-digest'' subscriber, simply subscribe to the digest and unsubscribe from the main list. You will still be able to post to the main list.
With some mailing list managers, the digest is edited by a human. ezmlm digests contain each message as it was sent out by the list (apart from having many less informative headers removed). No editorials, no missing messages. The messages are ordered by subject (or ``story'' or ``thread'') and within each subject by arrival time. First in the digest is a table of contents with subjects, message numbers, and authors. Messages are enclosed as attachments so that a MIME-capable mail reader will allow you to see them as individual messages. This way, you can easily follow-up on a post even from the digest. The owner may chose to use a non-MIME single message format instead. This is most often done on old lists where the subscribers are used to that format and unaware or due to deficient mail readers unable to appreciate the advantages of the MIME format (Pegasus Mail and Mutt are free programs that do a good job).
The digest of a list ``list'' is called ``list-digest'', and the commands
are the same as for the main list. Thus, to subscribe to
You unsubscribe to the digest in the same manner as you unsubscribe from
the main list (see
Unsubscribing from an ezmlm list),
but using the digest list name.
Thus, to unsubscribe your current address from
Just unsubscribe from the list or list-digest, then subscribe when you want mail to resume. If desired, get missed messages from the archive with -get or just subject/author info with -index(*).
Due to the fast replies from ezmlm this is easier and more efficient than having ``dormant'' subscribers.
You can contact the list owner by mailing to the ``owner'' address.
For the list
© Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999 Fred Lindberg, firstname.lastname@example.org & Fred B. Ringel, email@example.com
This page was last built on 10/3/99; 1:26:27 PM on the MacOs