List User Guide

Introduction

This document is intended for users and prospective users of mailing lists at Harvard Business School. There is a separate document for list owners. Details on how to set up and maintain a mailing list are given in the owner guide.

What is Majordomo?

Majordomo is the name given to a widely used list management package. This software is used to manage the mailing lists at Harvard Business School. The name is chosen because the software can carry our various mailing list management tasks on behalf of people who own mailing lists. Majordomo was written by Brent Chapman of Great Circle Associates and is made available for use free of charge.

The software is accessible by sending email to it (majordomo@listserv.hbs.edu) containing requests or commands. Note that email should be sent to "majordomo" and not "majordom", as "majordom" is an alias for the "owner" of majordomo and email sent to it is forwarded to IT staff who are responsible for maintaining the email software.

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Commands

All commands sent to majordomo are sent in the body of email messages. Commands in the "subject" field of a mail header are ignored. The commands are sent to majordomo@listserv.hbs.edu. Some lists are "open", where subscription is open to all and some are "closed", where the list owner decides who can join the list. You will be informed of the success or failure of attempts to join lists, and if your request has been forwarded to the list owner. The examples use fictional names and addresses.

You may send more than one command in a mail message. Each command must begin on a new line. If you send email with a signature attached you should always use the end command after all other commands but before your signature.

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Subscribe

This command is used to join a list and takes the form

subscribe <listname> [<address>]

where <listname> is the name of the list, and <address> is an email address. The address is optional but can be useful if you wish to subscribe with a particular form of address (the square brackets [] are a standard notation for depicting optional parameters and should not be given when using the command). If the address differs from the one used to submit the request, the request will be referred to the list owner.

For example, to join the list called "trees" with the address from which you are sending the email you could send the command

subscribe trees

Alternatively, to join the list called "trees" with the address "ENebor@bham.ac.uk", you could send the command

subscribe trees ENebor@bham.ac.uk

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Unsubscribe

This command is used to leave a list and takes the form

unsubscribe <listname> [<address>]

where <listname> is the name of the list, and <address> is an email address. This is optional but can be useful as the address in the list may differ from the one that you are sending the request from (the square brackets [] are a standard notation for depicting optional parameters and should not be given when using the command). If the address does differ from the one used to submit the request, the request will be referred to the list owner.

For example, to leave the list called "trees" you could send the command

unsubscribe trees

If you need to specify an address, you could send the command

unsubscribe trees ENebor@bham.ac.uk

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Which

which [<search string>]

This command allows you to ask about which lists you are subscribed to. For example

which

If the search string is omitted, the search is based on the address from which you are sending the request.

Optionally, an address can be added (the square brackets [] are a standard notation for depicting optional parameters and should not be given when using the command). This is useful if you are sending the request from an address other than the one which you wish to enquire about. For example

which ENebor@bham.ac.uk

It should be noted that this command searches the lists and matches exactly the characters you have typed (ignoring case).

You can also give part of your name only as the search string, then all entries that match this will be returned including usernames based on your name. For example

which Nebo

This is particularly useful if you are subscribed to different lists using different address. However, all searches which don't use a fully qualified email address could potentially return information relating to other users with similar addresses, so care should be taken when examining the results of a search. If your address is not based on your name, then an appropriate search string matching your allocated mailname or username should be used. For example,

which hbsrecords

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Who

who <list>

This command lists the addresses subscribed to a list. For example,

who trees

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Info

info <list>

This retrieves the information file associated with a list. This file is also sent automatically to anybody who joins a list. For example,

info trees

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Lists

lists

This returns a list of all the lists served by the majordomo server.

Help

help

This command returns a brief help file of currently supported commands.

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End

end

This command indicates that the line above is the last command in the message. If you have a "signature" which is automatically appended to outgoing email messages, you should use this command. This will prevent majordomo from generating error messages when attempting to interpret your signature as commands.

Posting to the list

To post a message to the list itself, address your message to

listname@listserv.hbs.edu
where "listname" is the name of the list.

If your post is forwarded to the list-owner for further action (which happens if the list is moderated, or if the list does not recognize you as a valid subscriber) you will receive an acknowledgement message telling you that your post has not gone directly to the list. If you do not subsequently either see your post on the list or receive a message from the list-owner requesting clarification of your subscription address, you can contact the list-owner to ask for an explanation.

Please be aware when posting messages to the HBS listserver from Eudora that we have found that it is not currently possible to send *styled* (i.e., bolded, colors, specific fonts, etc) text successfully via the list server when posting to a moderated list. This is because the application that processes the messages is not designed to include the internal headers that Eudora uses to transmit this information when the message is approved and reposted by the list-owner. Posts sent in styled formats will appear to recipients containing usually hidden style tags

To avoid this problem, do not use any of the styling features in the Eudora "Edit:Text:" menus when composing a post. If you want to repost a message you received that is already styled (ex., the IntraNews), you must turn off styling on outgoing messages: Under Special:Settings:Styled Text choose "discard style information".

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Direct questions or comments to list-master@listserv.hbs.edu


Copyright (c) 1996, President and Fellows of Harvard College