List Server Administration - Discussion Group

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When sending email to a list it is important to be aware of the laws and policies regarding them.

The Federal Government passed the CAN-SPAM Act in 2003 to regulate commercial email. To read the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act click here

To view the ISOCNET Acceptable Use Policy, click here

The ISOCNET Terms and Conditions can be viewed here

A Discussion Group List is one in which it is essentially an open forum for users to pass information back and forth between the group.

To get to the admin URL go to

Click on the name of your list, type in the password and then click on Let me in…

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You can select different settings and options for your list. We’ll look at the default settings. First, the General Options.

 The first field contains the name of the list. This cannot be changed. It is also the first part of the email address of the list server, [email protected].

The list administrator is the email address of the person controlling the list. The list moderator can tend to pending administration requests, but usually the same person controls these functions so only the administrator is needed.

A terse phrase identifying this list is basically the display name on the email someone receives from the list. It can be a person or organization’s name or anything else.

Prefix for subject line of list postings is what is placed in the subject of all emails to the list. A subject can still be placed on the individual email sent to the list but whatever is in this field will show up first and on all emails from the list.

 Reply-To settings can be set to reply to the list itself, to the person who posted to the list, or a specific address. For a discussion group, this will be set to This list

Various notifications can be turned on or off. These are generally set to No by default. Should administrator get notices of subscribes and unsubscribes should be set to No, particularly when first adding a large list of people to the list. Otherwise it can result in the admin receiving thousands of subscription notifications in their email. Once the initial list is added, it is okay to turn this on.

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 The Membership List will show everyone currently subscribed to a list. Members will be sorted alphabetically. In a discussion group, if you want all member postings to the list to be moderated before they are passed through, each subscriber should have the mod column checked. This sets the user to be moderated and prevents them from sending anything to the list without being approved first. If you don't wish to have the members moderated, the mod should be unchecked. You can also select which members should be moderated and those which shouldn't. Unlike a distribution list, the administrator/moderator of the list should be on the member list.

The nomail column will be checked if a member’s account has been disabled. This will happen automatically if the list receives bounces from the email address.

A member can also be unsubscribed from here by checking the unsub column and then selecting Submit Your Changes.

 People can be subscribed to a list under Mass Subscriptions. Welcome messages are turned off by default. Turning off the subscribe and unsubscribe options under General Options will also set the Send notifications of new subscriptions to the list owner to No on this screen.

Email addresses can be added by typing them in the box, copying and pasting a list into the box or by uploading a text file of email addresses. The email addresses need to be listed one per line.

Names can be added with email addresses. The following formats can be used either by typing/copying into the box or by importing from a text file.

[email protected]
<[email protected]>
John Doe <[email protected]>
"John Doe" <[email protected]>
[email protected] (John Doe)

Mass Removals work in a similar way to subscribing members to a list. They can be typed or copied into the box, one per line, or uploading a text file of email addresses. Send notifications to the list owner is also set to No when the option under General Options is set to No.

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 With a discussion group, you can decide whether to make new members moderated by default using the By default, should new list member postings be moderated? option. A YES will automatically check the mod box on the Membership List, whereas a NO will leave it unchecked.

Action to take when a moderated member posts to the list should be set to Hold.

Action to take for postings from non-members for which no explicit action is defined is set to Discard. This prevents non-members from being able to post to the discussion.

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 Email addresses that bounce email from the list are given a bounce score. A bounce score of 1 is given for a hard bounce and 0.5 for a soft bounce.

A hard bounce is generally defined as something rejected outright by a mail server. This could be because the email address doesn’t exist, or is spelled incorrectly.

Soft bounces on the other hand are generally accepted by the mail server but unable to be delivered to the mailbox. Usually this is caused by a mailbox being over quota or something along those lines.

 By default, the list is set to disable a member’s address when the bounce score reaches a value of 2.0. This could be 2 hard bounces, or 1 hard bounce and 2 soft bounces etc. An email address that is disabled will show the nomail box checked in the Members List with a [B] with it for Bounce. The email address is not removed from the list at this point but rather notifications will be sent to the address stating that the email address has been disabled. By default it will send out 3 such notifications, one every 7 days. If the email address has not been enabled again in that time, it will then be removed from the list.

Example, someone is on an extended vacation and not checking their email. Their mailbox fills up, and emails start bouncing from the list. After 4 such bounces (0.5 each for a soft bounce), the account is disabled. The person then checks their email and clears it out. They then receive a notification showing that their account has been disabled and will give them the option to re-enable it again. If they choose to do so, their address will be enabled again and they will start to receive emails from the list again. However, if they don’t, then it will be removed from the list.

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When an email is sent to the list by the list administrator, it then needs to be moderated before it is then distributed to the list. This is done under Tend to pending moderator requests. If there is nothing to be moderated, it will show there are no pending requests.

 When there is an email to be moderated, it will give the option to Defer, Accept, Reject or Discard.

Defer will leave it there to be looked at later.
Accept will start distributing the email to the list.
Reject will not allow the message to be sent and will send a rejection notice to the sender.
Discard will also not allow a message to be sent but will not send a rejection notice to the sender.

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Emails sent to the list and accepted, are then archived. The archives can be viewed under Go to the list archives. They can be viewed by Thread, Subject, Author or Date.

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Headers and Footers can be added or removed from a list. The option is under Non-digest options. An example might be an unsubscribe option for the bottom of each email sent to the list. There are also similar options under Digest-Options.