Kavi Mailing List Manager Help

Chapter 42. Kavi® Mailing List Manager FAQ for Administrators

Table of Contents

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Mailing Lists

1. Add a list


How do I create a new mailing list?


To create a new list, use the Add a Mailing List tool, being sure to study the page help. Before you add this new list, you need to know the purpose of the list, who it serves and how private or open it should be. Use this information in order to select the List Type on which the configuration of your list will be based. The selection of the appropriate List Type is important, since switching List Types tends to be problematical.

Enter a short, lowercase list name without special characters and enter a description of your list that distinguishes it from other available lists. Set the List Type and configure the list availability and Web archive visibility. If this is a moderated List Type, you will should add at least one moderator before the list becomes active. Provide a Policy and Usage statement for this list. To add subscriptions, use the Add Subscribers tool.

2. Delete a list


How do I delete a list?


To delete a list, simply use the Delete a Mailing List tool. Be sure you have selected the right list, because deleting a list is permanent. Once the list is deleted, all email sent to it will bounce.

3. Edit List Properties


What properties of a list can I change?


You can edit the description, subscribers and moderators. You may also switch to a different list type, but this will change the list configuration, so it should not be undertaken without an understanding of the consequences of making the switch. For more information on analyzing the effects of switching List Types, see Changing List Type Options.

A list name cannot be changed. If you wish to do this, it will be necessary to delete the original list, then create a new list with the proper name and subscriber lists. You will want to inform all of the old list recipients of the proposed change (or at least those you want to know about the change), because once the list is deleted, all email sent to it will bounce.

4. Available Lists


Where can I find all available mailing lists?


To view all of your organization's lists, use the Manage Mailing Lists tool. All lists are not available to all users, so to see which lists are available to a particular user, use the Manage a Subscriber's Lists tool. Links to both of these tools are available on the Admin home page.

5. Alias


What is the difference between an alias and a mailing list?


In many ways, a mailing list is just a fancy version of an alias. Conceptually, an alias is an email address that represents one or more other email addresses, which are stored in a list called an alias list. The addresses on the alias list can change while the alias remains the same. When an email is sent to the alias, it is forwarded to all the addresses on the alias list.

A mailing list works the same way, with a single email address forwarding messages sent to it to a list of subscriber email addresses. But mailing lists have additional capabilities: they can apply rules to incoming messages and route them to different addresses based on these rules, and they may offer features such as digests or archives. Most of the rules applied to mailing lists are used to control access to the list and its archives. For more information, see Introduction to Mailing Lists and Aliases.

Administrating mailing lists

1. Moderators


How do I add or remove a moderator?


Mailing List administrators have several different tools available to them. When creating a new list, use the Add a Mailing List tool and add moderators by pasting email addresses into the 'Add Moderators' field. To edit an individual moderator's subscriptions, use the Manage a Subscriber's Lists tool, and click the 'Moderator' checkbox in the 'Subscription Type' field to change the subscription status. To add multiple moderators, use the Add Subscribers tool, set the Subscription Type to Moderator, then add moderator email addresses in bulk. This tool can also be used when you want to search for the individual by name or email address before adding them as a moderator.

A moderator cannot subscribe or unsubscribe via email.

2. Grant administrative rights


How do I give someone mailing list administrative rights?


These rights can be granted by assigning a User Type associated with the 'mlm_admin' role. User Types are specific to each organization, but users logged in as 'Organization Admin' can see which User Types confer the 'mlm_admin' role using the Members Manage User Types tool to see which confer the 'mlm_admin' role, then assign the user the most appropriate type through the Members Edit a User tool.

3. Spam


How do I keep my list from getting spammed?


Spam filters notwithstanding, the only way to completely eliminate spam is to require all email messages submitted to the list to be approved by a moderator before posting. To enforce moderation for all posts, base your list on a List Type that sends all posts for moderation, such as the default List Types Moderated Public Discussion Group or Newsletter that accept posts from anyone but send them to moderation, or the Announce Only default List Type that only accepts posts from moderators.

If moderating all posts is not an option for this list, the next best choice is to select a List Type that only allows subscribers to post directly to the list, then restricts the ability to subscribe, such as the Moderated Private Discussion GroupClosed Private Discussion Group. For more information on access control and List Type selection, see List Types.

4. Virus blocking


How does Kavi Mailing List Manager virus blocking work?


Kavi Mailing List Manager virus protection is built on f-prot technology, a proven leader in virus protection. Incoming files are scanned for viruses, trojans, worms and other kinds of malicious programming code before being forwarded to lists. The f-prot service includes a set of virus definitions that are kept up-to-date on a 24/7/365 basis. As a new virus or other form of malware appears on the internet, analysts at f-prot and other top virus-protection services deconstruct the malware program and find a set of unique features, called a "signature", that can be used to identify that particular virus or malware program. The virus protection software examines the contents of each incoming file for the presence of these signatures.

Email that contains malware bounces rather than being forwarded to the mailing list.

List features and policies

1. Setting list policy


How do I fill out the Policy and Usage section?


The Policy and Usage statement provides information about the way that a mailing list is intended to be used and policies that are enforced for the list, such as who can subscribe and who can post (This does not include privacy policy information, which is set at the organizational level via Kavi Members Super Admin Tools). The Policy and Usage statement will be displayed on subscription forms. Click here for more information on Writing Mailing List Policy and Usage Statements.

2. Different list policies


Why do different lists enforce different policies?


Mailing lists are extremely versatile and can serve many different purposes. A list's policies reflect the purpose of the mailing list and the goals and policies of the organization. Each list has a Policy and Usage Statement, which is displayed on the Mailing List Home page and is available to administrators through the Edit a Mailing List tool.

3. Features


Why do some lists offer features such as digests and archives while others don't?


Mailing lists come in a wide variety of flavors. A feature that makes sense for certain types of mailing lists may not make sense for others. For instance, a digest wouldn't be of much use to a mailing list that receives infrequent posts.

4. List archives


Where can I find the archives for a mailing list?


If the list has web-viewable archives available, they can be visited by clicking the All Archives link on the Mailing List Home page. From the Admin menu, go to the Manage Mailing Lists page, then click Visit List Home for the list whose archives you'd like to view. The Mailing List Home page for this list will be displayed, and you can click the link to the archives.

Permission to view archives is configurable, so administrators may be able to view archives that are not visible to the public, or even to subscribers. If you wish to help guide a user to the archives, the user should log in and click My Mailing Lists to view all available lists, then click Visit List Home for the list whose archives they would like to view. If archives are available, the All Archives link will be displayed on the Mailing List Home page.

5. Restrict posting


How do I restrict who can post to my list?


To restrict posting, you will want to base your list on a List Type with restricted posting. Each of these List Types has a slightly different approach to restricting posting privileges. If this is a discussion group, select Moderated Private Discussion Group, Moderated Public Discussion Group or Closed Private Discussion Group. Moderated groups require individuals who are willing to act as moderators and approve messages before posting them to the list. If this is not a discussion group, select Newsletter or Announce Only. For more information on List Types configuration, see the List Types documentation.

If a list has restricted posting, only users on the Posters or Moderators list can post directly. You can add users to these lists via the Manage a Subscriber's Lists or Add Subscribers tools.

List Types

1. Public newsletters


How do I set up a public newsletter?


To set up a newsletter that will be available for public subscription, use the Add a Mailing List tool to create a new list based on the Newsletter List Type.

Enter a lowercase list name without special characters and enter a description of the newsletter that will help distinguish it from other available newsletters. Set both the List Availability and Web Archive Visibility options to 'Public' so everyone will be able to view the newsletter and archives. Paste or type in the email addresses of your newsletter's writers and editors into the Add Moderators field. Provide the Policy and Usage statement for this newsletter (your organization may have already prepared a statement for you to use). To add subscriptions for the newsletter, use the Add Subscribers tool.

2. Private discussion lists


How do I set up a private discussion thread?


Use the Add a Mailing List tool to create a new list. If this list will be moderated, select the Moderated Private Discussion Group List Type; if not, select the Closed Private Discussion Group.

Enter a lowercase list name without special characters and enter a description of the discussion group thread that will help distinguish this list from other available mailing lists. Set the List Availability option to 'Members Only' to make it available to logged-in users, or to 'Administrators Only'. The Web Archive Visibility option can be set as restrictively as is appropriate for the purposes of this discussion thread. If this is a moderated discussion, be sure to paste or type in the email addresses of this thread's moderators into the Add Moderators field. Provide the Policy and Usage statement for this discussion group (your organization may have already prepared a statement for you to use). To add subscriptions, use the Add Subscribers tool.

3. Adding a List Type


What if I need a List Type that isn't available?


Super administrators can add new List Types, or edit existing types, through tools available through the Manage List Types page. Care must be taken in editing an existing type, however, as the edits will affect every mailing list based on this List Type.

You should read the help for whichever tool you are using. Just click on the help icon (a lifesaver) and the help will pop up. The tool page help includes links to other concepts and support documents that can help you create your new List Type.

4. Custom ezmlmrc


What does it mean when a List Type has a custom ezmlmrc file?


The default ezmlmrc rules file installed by Kavi Mailing List Manager is perfectly suited for most mailing list use cases, so there may not be any custom ezmlmrc file in use on your website. However, your organization may have a mailing list whose requirements can only be met by creating a custom ezmlmrc file. This custom file has to be created by ezmlm experts. A List Type with a custom ezmlmrc file will behave somewhat differently from other List Types that have the same arguments set in the ezmlm-make argument string. Ideally, these differences will be explained in the List Type description.


1. Message to user bounced


Why did this user get a warning that list messages are bouncing?


When a user receives a bounce warning, it indicates there was a temporary problem with mail delivery that is now resolved. The mailing list sent an email to this user that was returned as undeliverable, so a bounce warning was generated by the mailing list's automated bounce handling system. The fact that the user received the bounce warning means the problem was temporary. The automated bounce handling system sends this warning to test whether a problem has been resolved or not. Since the test message containing the warning didn't bounce, the list will not unsubscribe the user.

2. User's post bounced


Why did the message this user sent to the list bounce?


Messages sent to the list will bounce if they violate automatically applied list rules, particularly those that control access to posting. Other common violations include file size limits, unapproved content types (MIME types) or improperly constructed messages that are classified as spam by the spam filter.

When the list bounces a message, it sends an email notification that contains information about why the email bounced. You can provide more help to the user if they will forward the message to you, including the full headers. Instructions for this are provided in Accessing the Full Header for Email Troubleshooting.

Here is a checklist to help you diagnose whether this message bounced for one of the most common reasons. If this doesn't provide your answer, find the error message in the bounce warning then look up the error message in the What does this message mean? troubleshooting flowchart. For more information on bounces in general, see Bounces and Automated Bounce Handling in the troubleshooting section.

Email Bounce Quick Checklist

Does the email address in the user's account profile match the one from which the user sent the message?

The email address in the user's account profile may be outdated or entered incorrectly, or the user may be attempting to use an address that isn't subscribed. To change an address in the Kavi Members database and Kavi Mailing List Manager subscriber lists simultaneously, use the Edit a Public Subscriber's Email Address tool. If the site tracks secondary addresses, the user's secondary address can also be updated. Members can update their email addresses themselves through the My Account page, and these changes will be propagated to the Kavi Mailing List Manager subscriber lists.

Are accepted domains enforced by this organization?

The list may be configured so that only email from a set of preapproved domains (e.g., domains of member companies) are accepted. If a user sends an email from a private account or a company domain that has not yet been added to the list, the message will bounce. If accepted domains are enforced, determine whether the user is attempting to use a company domain that should be added to the accepted domains list via the Members Edit a Company tool, or if the user is attempting to use a personal account on a site where this is disallowed and should be reminded they need to use their company-issued email address when they want to post to the list.

Is the email well constructed?

Check that the email has the correct list address in the 'To:' field (i.e., it should be all lowercase and use the format 'listname@example.org'). Be sure the 'Subject:' field is not empty. Email is also rejected if it has attachments containing disallowed MIME types or if it exceeds the maximum allowable file size.

Does the list user have permission to post under this address?

Follow the instructions in the next FAQ question Why can't this subscriber post to this list?.

3. Unsubscribed due to bounces


How do I find out who was unsubscribed by the automated bounce handler?


To create a report of all addresses that have been unsubscribed from a list by the automated bounce handler, use the Subscriber Logs tool. Set the 'Action Type' search criteria to 'system (delivery failure)'. If you are looking for information about a particular email address, enter that address in the 'Email Address' text box. Click the 'Search' button to create your report.

4. Unable to post


Why can't this subscriber post to this list?


There are many reasons why a subscriber may be unable to post to a list, but the most common is that the subscriber is not supposed to be able to post—at least, not under the email address they are using. The reason the subscriber is confused is that the machine perspective is so different from the human perspective. To the mailing list software, a user IS their email address, posting permissions are assigned according to subscriber level, and the subscriber level of an email address is determined by which subscriber list(s) it is on. This isn't intuitively obvious to list users who, as humans, perceive of both permissions and email addresses as belonginging to individuals. As a result, list users who have permission to post directly to the list from their primary email addresses are often surprised when they send messages from a different address and the messages are rejected or sent for moderation. If this address isn't on any of the subscriber lists, the mailing list has no way to recognize the sender, classifies the sender as a public level list user and applies whatever rules apply to public posts.

Some lists are configured to reject subscriber posts while others sent them for moderation. In either of these kinds of lists, subscribers can't post directly.

Assuming the list does allow subscribers to post directly, the subscriber may be trying to use the wrong address. Use the Manage a Subscriber's Lists tool to check whether the address is on the Digest Subscriber, Regular Subscriber or Poster List. If not, click the appropriate checkbox to add a digest or regular subscription for this individual.

If the subscriber is using the correct address and should be able to post directly but messages are still bouncing, see Why did the message this user sent to the list bounce?. If you've already been there, done that, look for the error message in the bounce warning then find the closest match in the What does this message mean? troubleshooting flowchart.

5. Problems unsubscribing


This user was unsubscribed via email, so why is the subscription still listed in the Kavi Mailing List Manager?


If it has been less than 24 hours since the unsubscribe request was sent via email, the daily synchronization operation may not have updated the Kavi Mailing List Manager database yet.

If you are in contact with the user, you may want to verify that the user has followed correct procedures: the request must be sent from the subscribed address and the user must also reply to the unsubscribe confirmation request. If this procedure has been followed, the user should receive a confirmation via email that they have been unsubscribed. If this confirmation is received, Kavi Mailing List Manager should display the correct subscription status within 24 hours. You should also suggest that the user contact support if they receive any email from this list except this confirmation.

Required subscriptions can be readded, especially subscriptions to the Members list. Its also possible that this user is required to receive email from this list because of a position they hold (e.g., the user is a primary contact or group chair, etc). If this is the case, the user will need the assistance of an administrator to unsubscribe.

6. Allowed to unsubscribe


How can I determine whether a user is allowed to unsubscribe?


Many organizations require all account holders to subscribe to the Members mailing list. When this is the case, subscribers won't see links to unsubscribe themselves from the mailing list, so if they really want to be unsubscribed, an administrator has to do it for them.

People who hold certain kinds of positions in the organization are often required to subscribe to a mailing lists or alias used to distribute important announcements. For example, a mailing list moderator is automatically subscribed to the alias that forwards moderation requests. Subscriptions to these announcement lists or aliases may be added automatically or by administrators, so users may not be aware that that they've been subscribed until they begin to receive messages. If mailing list visibility is restricted to admin-only, the user won't have access to tools needed to manage their own subscription. Users can't manage their own alias subscriptions.

If you are able to determine that the user is receiving messages required by their position in the organization, explaining the situation to the user usually resolves the issue. Look up the user in the following tools until you find whether they hold a position of responsibility in the organization or are able to eliminate this possibility. If the user doesn't hold a position of any special responsibility, you should be able to unsubscribe the user or contact the organization administrator.

If you have a copy of the email sent to the user, examine it for clues about what kind of email it is and which application probably sent it. If think you know which application it was, follow the instructions for that application first. Otherwise, begin by checking Members Manage a User tool to see if any of the Administrative Access or Contact Types check boxes are selected.

Members default types that may be required to subscribe:

  • Admin

  • Billing Admin

  • Billing Contact

  • Organization Admin

  • Organization Editor

  • Primary Contact

  • Report Admin

  • Showcase Moderator

  • Super Admin

Next, look up the user in the Mailing List Manager Manage a Subscriber's Lists tool. The user may also be on an alias, so look for the user in the Edit an Alias tool.

Mailing List Manager default types that may be required to subscribe:

  • Mailing List Moderator

  • Mailing List Administrator

Finally, look up the user in the Groups Manage Existing Groups tool. In Groups, even if the user is only a regular group member, they may not be allowed to unsubscribe. To see if users are allowed to unsubscribe themselves, use the Group Settings tool and check the setting of the 'Mailing List Subscriptions' option in the 'Mailing List Usage' section. If set to 'no', users are not allowed to unsubscribe themselves. If you explain this to the user and they still want to be unsubscribed, you should refer them to the organization administrator.

Groups default types that may be required to subscribe:

  • Group Chair

  • Group Member

7. Duplicate subscriptions


Why is another subscription using this email address?


This commonly occurs when a user with an existing subscription changes status and wants to resubscribe. Often, the user originally subscribed as a nonmember, and has since become a member. To resolve this situation, unsubscribe the nonmember user entry, then subscribe the user as a member.

8. Subscriptions missing


Where did this user's subscriptions go?


Most commonly this happens when a user's email address changes and isn't updated within the grace period allowed by the mailing lists' automated bounce handler (approximately a week to ten days). A list sends a message to the obsolete address and it bounces, at which point the automated bounce handler begins monitoring and testing the address. If the last in the series of test messages bounces, the bounce handler automatically unsubscribes the address from that list. When the user eventually updates their address, subscriptions will be missing for any lists that were automatically unsubscribed. The user or administor will have to subscribe to these lists under the new address.

9. Member has no subscriptions


Why aren't there any subscriptions for this member?


A user may also be missing from subscriber lists if they initially had no email address, then later added one via the Members application. When this happens, the list subscriptions that would ordinarily have been automatically added for the user (including Members and Group subscriptions) cannot have been added. Thus it is possible to arrive at a condition in which a person is a member or on a Group roster, has a valid email address in the Groups and Members database, but is not subscribed to the Members or Group mailing lists.

10. Too much email


A subscriber doesn't like getting so many messages! What can I do?


Perhaps this subscriber would prefer to be a Digest Subscriber and receive email messages in batches? Instead of receiving every email message posted to the list individually as a Regular Subscriber, Digest Subscribers receive posted email messages in digest format: multiple email messages roll-up into a single digest. By default, a roll-up occurs when 30 messages, 48 hours or 64 KB of message body text have accumulated since the last digest.

You can switch subscription types for the subscriber using the Manage a Subscriber's Lists tool. Just unclick Regular Subscriber and click Digest Subscriber. Alternatively, the subscriber can make this change at any time by visiting their personal account area, clicking on Manage Your Lists, and changing the subscription type by clicking to deselect Regular Subscriber then clicking Digest Subscriber.

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