Mailing Lists

Owner administration

Useful settings

Our mailing lists come with some sensible default values, but you will want to check and tweak them accordingly. Here is a list of some noteworthy settings for privacy and user management:

Furthermore, please don't edit the public HTML pages directly as this might be overwritten at any time. Instead, please make the edits in the mailman-templates repo.


Best practices

All lists must have at least one human being responsible and approachable for requests – even overarching lists like for press inquiries and the core team.

This can also happen by forwards, so e.g. setting as owner for the press-release@ list. However, this should be an exception for special cases.

Because of the critical nature of some lists, these can also be additionally moderated by FSFE staff. In these cases, can be added as moderator of the list.

Managing the moderation queue

For lists also moderated centrally by FSFE staff, the moderation messages (to will be sent to the moderators@ list. People taking care of the central moderation (mostly interns) can subscribe there to get an overview of the current moderation queue.

Server-side administration

In order to execute the following actions, you must have access to the mailing lists server, so at least be a member of the System Hackers. Please contact them if you need administrative help with mailing lists.

Creating a list

  1. The mailing lists are run on list1, so login as

  2. Create the list by typing the command newlist <listname>, for instance newlist gazonk to create

  3. You'll be asked for the email of the person running the list, and an initial password. Enter both.
  4. When you've entered the details, the list will be created and the person running the list will get a notification with the initial password.
  5. Add the list under the appropriate section in Howto/MailingLists in internal Git.

Removing a list

Here it depends whether you would like the archive to remain available via the web interface and the list restorable with most of its settings. If not, you can delete the mailing list completely (option A). If yes, you have to make the list as inactive as possible (option B). Option A is preferred as it avoids having a myriad of inactive lists.

  1. Announce your intention to the list via an email so all subscribers are informed.
  2. Announce the decision and the date when the mailing list will be shut down.
  3. Remove all subscribers by logging in on and running: remove_members --all <listname>.

  4. Option A: Run the command rmlist <listname>. Add the flag -a to also remove any remaining archives from the disk. Without -a, the archives are still browsable.

  5. Option B: Enable emergency moderation and set the strictest privacy/secrecy options (see above).

Mail queue management

  1. On list1, the directory /var/lib/mailman/bin contains useful scripts, e.g. find_member

  2. Run mailq to get a list of mails in the queue, it's often around 1-300 at any one time.

  3. If you see a lot of mails from * to a single email address, or similar, this can be caused by someone trying to subscribe the same person thousands of times to our mailing lists. Mailman then generates a mail for each attempt.

TechDocs/MailingLists (last edited 2020-11-11 16:35:45 by max.mehl)