How can I easily manage the mailing lists I am on?
At the Athena prompt, type:
Then, choose an option from the menu, and follow the instructions.
What is a mailing list administrator?
The administrator has the power to add and remove members, and to
alter list settings such as list name, description, public/private,
and visibility. If no administrators are specified, all list members
are administrators by default -- note that if the list is also public,
any Athena user can add himself and become an administrator. (Only
Athena accounts can be list administrators.)
What is a "Membership ACL" and what is it good for?
A Membership ACL (Access Control List) is a way to allow a person or
persons to add/remove people from a list, without giving full
administrative powers. Since the Membership ACL users cannot change
the attributes of the list (description, public/private, visibility,
etc.), they cannot "steal" the list, but they can take care of most
To separate membership control from settings control, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
The Membership ACL can be controlled with
blanche, and the ACL can even be set to the list itself.
How can I determine the administrators of a mailing list to ask a question about the list?
It is considered impolite to send questions about a mailing list, such
as requests for removal or other help, to the list itself. The
reasoning is simple: When you send such mail to the list, many people
have to read your message, while only a handful are likely to be able
to help you.
These requests should instead be sent to the list administrators. For MIT mailing lists, you can find information about a mailing list and its administrators by typing:
athena% blanche -i listname
mailmaint, and choose option 4.
The list administrator, or owner, should be listed. You can then email that address with questions or requests.
If that fails, there are a couple of conventions that may help. Given a list such as email@example.com, the two most common addresses to try are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
How do I get on/off this list?
Many lists will allow you to perform these operations yourself. In
this case, you can type:
to remove yourself from the list and
athena% blanche listname -d username
to add yourself to the list. Sometimes, however, you will get an error message like
athena% blanche listname -a username
In this case, you need to contact the administrators of the list as described above.
/usr/athena/bin/blanche: Insufficient permission to perform requested database access while ...
If you prefer a menu-driven system, you can use
mailmaint instead. Run
mailmaint, and choose option 5 to add yourself to a list, or choose option 6 to delete yourself from one.
How can I see which mailing lists I am subscribed to?
To find out what mailing lists you are on, run
mailmaint, and choose option 3. This is helpful for checking whether you are on a certain list, or for determining what lists you might want to unsubscribe from.
How can I find who is subscribed to a mailing list?
Sometimes, it is helpful to see whether other people are subscribed to a particular mailing list, or just get an idea of how many people are subscribed.
At the Athena prompt, type:
athena% blanche listname
mailmaint, and choose option 2.
How can I manage mailing lists over the Web?
There is a web-based system available for managing Moira mailing
lists. It is located at http://web.mit.edu/moira/. It allows you to do
several of the most common mailing list administrative actions, though
it is somewhat less powerful than the tools on Athena. MIT
Certificates are required.
What does it mean for a list to be public?
Public lists are open to everyone, and you can freely add yourself to them without any special approval. Private lists, on the other hand, are restricted, and only the list administrators or the membership administrators can add users to the list.
How can I create my own mailing list?
If you have an Athena account, you can create an MIT mailing list by
filling out http://web.mit.edu/accounts/www/make-a-list.html (or send
the information to firstname.lastname@example.org). For more on list creation, see