Mailman is a program for e-mail lists. It can be useful for classes, conferences, seminars, or cooperative projects where many emails are sent out to the same group of people.

By default, Mailman archives all the messages sent to lists. For security, the archives are only available to list members. Lists available on the server are also private.


To begin, set a list up from OTDI self service; if you need assistance with this contact ASCTech. Once this is done, you will receive an e-mail giving you the web administration address, as well as a web address for members to subscribe and change their preferences. As the admin, you will still have to manually subscribe to the list to receive postings.

Do not forget your owner password, which will be provided. You will need this to make changes to your list. You can change this password, but do not use you Unix password for this. Pick something you'd use for an insecure web site.

Mailman vs. Distribution Groups

  • Distribution Group are generally preferred:
    • You can expand DGs, and easily see who is on it and remove certain people. (This is very useful for a surprise party, call for feedback, etc.)
    • Since DGs are in the Office 365 system, you get warnings for out of office and presence.
    • Buckeyemail addresses can be on a DG.
    • DGs can have a ‘friendly’ unit address if you have legacy mailing lists.
    • DGs can either only receive email from Exchange accounts or from the internet at large.
  • Mailing Lists, on the other hand, have the following features that DGs do not:
    • Archive and Digest options.
    • Easier mass subscription and removal; easier for outside OSU addresses.
    • Moderation by admins.
    • More likely to be caught be junk mail filters.
  • Unit Distribution Groups and Mailing Lists should be owned by non-ASCTech faculty/staff whenever possible.
    • OTDI can switch the owners.
    • Faculty and Staff can request either a Mailman list or DG from the OTDI self service portal.

Using Mailman Lists

Once your list has subscribers, send an email to and all the members that are subscribed to that list will receive the email. Members can subscribe, unsubscribe, and even find out who is already part of a list on their own.

Remember that members can reply-all to everyone on the list, but by default a normal reply just goes to the poster.

By default, only members of a list can post to it. If a non-member attempts to post, or someone attempts to post from a different email, the post will be sent to the list admin for approval. The poster will also get a message telling them why their posting was not posted.

If someone who is not on the list attempts to post, you can view the messages from the admin page, and there are several options as to what to do with them.

Web Administration Addresses

All configuration of the lists can be done through the web, thus these URLs are key.

If the list is called listname, the admin site will be:

The user web page will be:

Subscribing Users

The easiest way for users to subscribe is for them to go to the user webpage, where there is an option to subscribe. Alternately, the admin can add people using the administrative site. If you have a long list of people to add, Support can add them for you.

By default, each subscription request will generate an e-mail that is sent back to the requester for confirmation. This is done by simply replying to the confirmation message. Once this is done, the user will get a final e-mail welcoming them to, and explaining how to use, the list. The e-mail will also contain either the password they picked or a randomly generated one.

After subscribing to the list, members can go to their personal options page and change preferences. For instance, members can choose to receive the list in digest form, hide their e-mail address, choose between text/html format, etc.

Admin Management Interface

There are a great many settings that can be set from the administrative webpage. For most lists, the defaults should be fine, but certain lists may benefit from some of the options. The following is a partial list of settings that can be changed: 

  • Show/hide poster e-mail addresses

  • Add additional administrators

  • Set where replies go

  • Set what kind of messages members get when changing options

  • Send subscribe/unsubscribe notices to the administrator(s)

  • Moderate the list

  • Set a max message size (though the default is normally enough)

  • Advertise the list (bad for spam)

  • Confirm or deny subscriptions 

  • Ban addresses

  • Select archive options

  • Set digest options

  • Set filters

Mail Interface

Like Majordomo previously, Mailman can take commands from e-mail when sent to However, the web interface tends to be much more straightforward. Thus, for information on the e-mail interface, send a message to, with the word help in the subject or in the body.

Members can contact the owner(s) of the list by sending mail to:
Address to send and process potential email delivery failures (bounces): ​​​​​​​
Request to join a list:
- Requests to leave a list​​​​​​​: ​​​​​​​
Lists can also have a no-reply address, but there's no standard form for that.

In email address a "+" and e verything that follows it until the "@" is called a "subaddress" and is ignored by the mail system. It's intended for creating disposable email addresses or for use by the mail client for filing purposes.

Full Documentation

This is just an introduction. Full documentation is available at:


Article ID: 33564
Wed 7/19/17 4:27 PM
Fri 9/22/23 3:27 PM

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