Sympa List Owner Advanced Documentation and FAQ

Note that this documentation is for Sympa, Michigan Tech's old email list server. Please use Google Groups for all new email lists.


How can I add and update list members for a list I manage?

Visit and log in with your email address and your ISO password. Choose the list you wish to update and pick Manage Subscribers. New members are easily added. For both adds and removals, there is a checkbox Quiet. If you check this box, the subscriber does not get a notice.

Note: you must be the owner of a list to manage it. If you are not the owner but you should be because you help administer a list, write to and let us know.


For a list I own, can I add and update list members via email (instead of the web)?

Yes, you can send list commands to Sympa via email. Commands are documented in: Manage via Messages (below)


Can a list have more than one owner? How do I change the list over to a new owner?

Many owner changes you can manage yourself. Or you can write to and we will do it for you.

For adding and managing list owners, for the given list, select Admin and then Edit List Config, then List definition. Under the Owner box you should see your email and name with a extra section to add an additional owner. Fill in the new owner's email address and name and click Update at the bottom. The list can have several co-owners, just add them one at a time.

The new owner will be able to administer list membership but will not have the privilege to add additional list owners. If the new owner should have this privilege, write to and we will set them up.

To delete co-owners from the list just remove the owner email address and click Update at the bottom of the change form.


What posting rules are possible and how can I change my list?

Moderated lists allow only designated people to post to the list - these lists are ideal for sending out announcements. Restricted lists allow list members to post to the list, in other words, a discussion list. To change posting rules, select Admin for the list and and Edit List Config. Select Sending/reception and make a choice from the selections of Who can send messages. Pick Moderated if you want an announcement list. Pick Restricted to subscribers if you want a discussion list where all list members send and receive. One more type is a Public List. Pick this type if you want anyone to be able to post to list (no posting rules).


What is a list editor? How can I add additional more editors to a list?

A list editor (also called a moderator) is someone who can directly post to an announcement list. The list owner/manager can add list editors. For the given list, select Admin and then Edit List Config, then List definition. In the box labeled "Moderators (editor)" add the email and name of the additional list editors and click Update at the bottom. You can add as many editors as you need, one at a time.


How do I manage a moderated list?

If you are a list moderator, you will receive notices if someone has a posting they want to send to the list. The notification message will contain the proposed posting as an attachment and links to act on the message. Click on the distribute or reject link in the message to allow or remove the message from being sent to the list.

Alternatively, you can moderate a list at the list management web site Choose Admin and then Moderate. You will see the list of messages waiting for your action - you can choose to reject or distribute any messages.


What is a concealed list? How can I manage who can know about my list?

For most lists, only members of the list will know the list exists. You can change the visibility settings of your list so anyone can see the list or no one can see the list. For the given list, select Admin and then Edit List Config, then List definition. In the box labeled "Visibility of the list" there is a drop down list of choices. Common choices are "conceal except for subscriber", "conceal even for subscriber", "public" or "intranet access" (meaning anyone with email).


What are Archives?

An email list has an archive of postings. Owner information is found in Manage List Archives (below).


What is the list category and how do I change it?

The list category, also known as list topic, organizes MTU lists. If your list is in the wrong category, select Admin and Edit List Config Then select List definition. Down the page, find Topics and choose Academics, Administration or whatever category seems best suited. At the bottom of the page, pick Update.


What is the list subject? How do I update it?

The list subject is a short phrase describing a list, such as Ping Pong Club. A list owner can modify the subject by picking Admin and then Edit List Config. The first box shown is the list subject, just type the preferred subject into the white box, go the bottom of the web page and click Update.


What is a subject tag? How do I change it?

A subject tag is an identifying prefix inserted in the Subject line of a message posted to a list. For new lists, this is set to the name of the list. The list owner can modify or remove the tag. For the given list, select Admin and then Edit List Config, then Sending/reception. In the box labeled Subject tagging, simply change or remove the text.


What is a list description? How do I update it?

The list description is optional but if you would like to have a longer description of how your list is to be used in more detail, you may make or modify the list's long description. From the left hand column select your list and select Admin. Then select Customizing. Click on the down arrow and select list description and click the Edit button. A text box will open into which you can type your description, putting in line breaks where you want them. Once done click save at the bottom. To verify click on Info in the left hand column and it will show the description.


How do I manage one list as a member of another (nested lists)?

You will use the data inclusion feature for this.

How to Manage Nested Lists

A nested list is one made up of other lists.

Suppose we have three lists: birds-l, hawks-l and ravens-l

Create the lists hawks-l and ravens-l and add the members as usual.

Create the list birds-l. For birds-l list, select Admin and then Edit List Config. Then pick Data sources. On the Data sources screen, find the section: List inclusion

Enter hawks-l into the box and update the form. Now you may enter ravens-l and update the form again. You can add more lists, one at a time.

To see the resulting membership of the birds-l list, use Manage subscribers. You should now see all list members. You can see which list is the source for any member.

Created in this manner, all three lists should work properly. If the birds-l list is set to allow any member to post, then any member of any of its sublists will be able to post. If all lists have subject tags, then the subject tag of received messages will show correctly.


Can I change the name of a list I own?

List owners cannot change the name of an existing list. To request the change of a list name, send a request to ITSS staff will make the change.

Manage Via Message FAQs


How do I manage my list via email messages?

You can easily manage the subscribers via the list management site Sympa list service can also take commands sent in email messages. For a single command, put the command in the subject of the message and send the message to For multiple commands, put them in the body of the message followed by the QUIT command and send the message to


How do I add subscribers via email?

You can easily add and update subscribers at the list management site If you wish to send commands via email, sent a message to with commands in the body of the message.

Here are example add commands, you can submit many per message:

ADD pingpong-L John Joe
ADD pingpong-L Leslie Smith

Here is an example command where the person is added without a notice:

QUIET ADD pingpong-L Leslie Smith


How do I remove subscribers via email?

You can send signoff commands to Put the commands in the body of the message. Here is an example.

DELETE pingpong-L
DELETE pingpong-L


How can I get a list of subscribers via email?

You can send a REVIEW command to Put the command in the subject of the message. Here is an example command.

REVIEW pingpong-L


How can I see what lists I own?

You can send a WHICH command to This command is just the single word WHICH. You put it in the message body or the subject. Via email, you will get names of all lists you own.

Manage List Archives FAQs


Do email lists have an archive of messages?

The new list service keeps archives of messages sent to lists. These are helpful in several ways. List members do not need to retain copies of list messages in a folder because they can refer to archives whenever needed. If a person is on vacation, they can choose to stop receiving list mail but still skim through a given lists's archive to see what they missed.


What is a "no mail" list member?

A person with an email address can be a member of a given list but change their Reception setting to no mail. They will no longer receive mail from the list. But because they are a list member, they can log in to and read all the postings from the list archive.

The owner can change members by picking Manage Subscribers and then the specific member you want to change. Under the receiving mode down arrow select "no mail (useful for vacations)".


Can the owner remove postings from the list archive?

Yes, the list owner can manage the archives, including deleting messages. This is useful to clear out any obsolete or unsuitable postings. Archive from the left menu and you will see a display of archived messages. To remove any message(s), check the box and click Tag messages for deletion.


Can the archives be concealed?

Yes, change the access rights to "closed". The list members will no longer see the Archives. To change the visibility settings, pick Admin and then Edit List Config and then Archive.

You can change who can see the archive messages and how often messages get archived. In the Web archive box click on the "Access Rights" down arrow and change to whatever status you want. To block all messages from list members, change to "Closed". All emails will still be placed in the archive but the archives are not accessible to list subscribers other than the list owner.

The owner still has access by picking Admin and then Manage Archive. This will show all the months of archives available. You can download any month or delete any month.


Is there a limit to size the archive can grow? Is there a time limit for how long each month is retained?

Since this is a new service and list owners are just beginning the use of new list features provided, we have not yet set size or time limits for list archives.

Manage External Members FAQs


What are external list members?

In the sections which follow, external members are members of Michigan Tech email lists who are using any email address other than an MTU ( address. Example:


Are external list members allowed on Michigan Tech email lists?

Yes, there are many lists with external members. List managers may find it helpful to store member names along with email addresses in the membership roster.


Are there any special list owner duties relating to external list members?

Yes. A list owner with external list members is obligated to monitor the list for bounces and promptly remove (or correct) any bad addresses. Diligence here protects Michigan Tech's email servers from a bad reputation. Bounce messages should not be ignored.


Can external members log into the Michigan Tech list server to see the list archives?

Yes, if this is wanted. Since the external member does not have an MTU ISO password he/she may obtain a guest password for the MTU list server. At this link, enter an email address and click "Send me my password".

List Service Guest Registration

The external list member will receive a password via an email message. Now the external member may log in to by using their full email address (example: and newly supplied password.


Should I encourage all external list members to get a password?

No, this is not necessary. Obtaining a password for the Michigan Tech list server is suggested for only those external list members who plan to use the list archive and/or shared documents pertaining to the group.

If an external list member wishes to unsubscribe from a list, requesting a password for the Michigan Tech list server is not necessary or appropriate. The external member may unsubscribe via email. The list owner should also be willing to promptly carry out any requests to unsubscribe.

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