Kavi Mailing List Manager Help

Chapter 26. List Types


This document explains what List Types are and how to work with them. Learn how a List Type determines mailing list behavior, how to analyze List Type configuration, and how to manage and add new List Types. This document is aimed primarily at Super Admins because List Type tools are available only in the Super Admin Area, but it also covers issues that administrators and troubleshooters need to know in order to create, manage and troubleshoot mailing lists. It builds on technical information introduced in other Concepts documents including How Mailing Lists Work, Access Control and Mailing Lists and Ezmlm.

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List Types Are Templates

As described in Mailing Lists and Ezmlm, Kavi Mailing List Manager relies on ezmlm software for most basic mailing list management functionality, so ezmlm configuration options set in the ezmlm-make argument string determine the lion's share of mailing list features and behavior. A List Type is a preconfigured ezmlm template on which any number of mailing lists can be based, and all mailing lists based on a List Type implement the same features and rules about posting, email subscriptions and email archive retrieval commands. Additional options available at the list level are used to set details such as listname, define Web access and populate Subscriber Lists.

Mailing Lists Inherit List Type Settings

An organization can have any number of mailing lists based on a single List Type. For example, there is a default List Type named 'Newsletter'. A technical standards organization that wants to publish multiple newsletters aimed at different target audiences could base all its newsletters on the same 'Newsletter' List Type. Each of these newsletters would have a unique name and could have different sets of subscribers, but all would have traits in common because they have the same underlying List Type. All these lists would accepts posts from moderators only and reject posts from everyone else. On the other hand, mailing lists based on a discussion group List Type such as 'Closed Private Discussion' would accept posts from subscribers.

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Designed for Common Uses

Each List Type is configured to support certain kinds of use. Kavi Mailing List Manager default List Types include two designed for one-way distribution of information from the organization to subscribers, such as the Newsletter List Type, which (amazingly enough) is designed to support newsletters, and the Announce Only List Type, which also only accepts posts from moderators. These two List Types are very similar, but the 'Newsletter' is designed to distribute informal announcements and is configured to support an organization's marketing and public outreach efforts, while the 'Announce Only' List Type is designed to support the publication of formal announcements to a select set of subscribers. The key difference between these List Types is that the 'Newsletter' is open to direct public subscription via ezmlm email commands, whereas the 'Announce Only' list is closed to subscriptions via email, so subscriptions can only be added through webpages. Since the subscription process has been forced into webpages, access can be as restricted as desired.

Other List Types are designed to support discussion forums. The Public Discussion default List Type accommodates public list users by accepting public posts and email subscription commands, but lists this open are so vulnerable to spam that this List Type is seldom used. List Types that either moderate public posts or reject them outright are more common, such as Moderated Public Discussion, which accepts public posts but sends them for moderation, or the private List Types such as Closed Private Discussion, which only accepts posts from subscribed addresses.

Mailing List Usage Criteria

When mailing list s are being considered, there are several kinds of criteria that can help determine List Type configuration. Each of the criteria can be stated as a set of paired opposites. The combination of criteria that apply to a specific mailing list use case are the basic requirements that a List Type must be configured to accommodate. See Configuring Lists for Common Use Cases for more information.

The major divisions in mailing list usage are:

  • Mailing list size: Large or small?

  • Type of information: Is this information public or private?

  • Subscription access: Inclusive or exclusive?

  • Posting access: Open to many or closed except to a few?

  • Content quality: Is the small number of subscribers enough to assure the quality of content exchanged through the mailing list or should it be moderated?

Default List Types

Kavi Mailing List Manager provides a set of default List Types that you can use right out of the box to create different kinds of mailing lists. The name of each type provides clues about what uses it is designed to serve.

These default List Types can't be edited, but Super Admins can use the Clone a List Type tool to create a copy of a default List Type then edit whatever settings they want, which is a really easy way to create a new List Type. The Appendix document Default List Types contains a table that you can use to compare the different default List Types, or you can click the links below for more information on a specific List Type.

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Analyzing List Type Configuration

Certain aspects of List Type configuration are quite straightforward (e.g., the digest feature is enabled or it isn't), but other aspects, particularly those pertaining to access control, tend to be complex. Whether you are trying to determine the configuration of an existing List Type or create your own List Type, it's easiest to use the options presented through Kavi Mailing List Manager tools, rather than attempt to decipher the ezmlm-make argument string directly (although this exposed for use by ezmlm experts).

Viewing List Type Configuration

Adding or managing List Types:

If you are a Super Admin, you can use Manage List Types to view and manage all available List Types, create a new List Type by cloning an existing List Type or add a new one from scratch. There are View links scattered throughout these tools that you can click to see a synopsis of List Type configuration settings.

Super Admins can click here to visit the Manage List Types tool.

Adding or editing a mailing list:

Administrators have to select a List Type when adding a new mailing list through the Add a Mailing List tool, and can also use the Edit a Mailing List tool to view and switch List Types if necessary. Before switching to a different List Type, you may want to investigate the proposed changes as described in Changing List Type Options.

Admins can click here to visit the Add a Mailing List tool or Edit a Mailing List tool.

Managing or troubleshooting a mailing list:

If you are an administrator, you can view the List Type for a specific mailing list through the Manage Mailing Lists page or Mailing List Home.

Admins can click here to visit the Manage Mailing Lists tool.

Whichever tool you use to view List Types, you'll see the same List Type configuration options (of course, the settings will vary). Read these options to get a quick grasp of List Type configuration. If you need more information on an option, you could refer to these sections of this document: Feature Options and Access Control Options. You'll probably understand most of the feature options immediately, but are likely to find that the access control options are more subtle to grasp.

Each option setting description includes the ezmlm-make arguments that pertain to that setting. This information is included for use by ezmlm experts, but the arguments are also useful for reference purposes, especially when you are dealing with a custom List Type rather than the default list types documented here. Some of these arguments are included in the documentation, particularly the -MOU arguments, which work in combination to control who can post to the list. If you want to look up an individual argument in the ezmlm-make argument string, see Ezmlm Quick Reference Guide, but if you want to understand -MOU combinations, you should see the Posting access matrix in the Posting Access Tables document.

Because access control is complex, there is a great deal of help available. So much so that you may find you have to navigate quite a bit to find the all information you need. You can follow links in the help documents, use the Search feature at the top of this page or click the Kavi Mailing List Manager link at the top of the page to see the Table of Contents. If you are new to the Kavi Mailing List Manager application and want to study the help documentation almost like a text book, the Introduction presents a recommended order in which the Concepts documents can be studied.

Feature Options

Click to learn more (or visit List Features in the Appendix):

Access Control Options

List Type access options are used to set access to posting, email subscription commands, and email commands used to retrieve messages from the raw ezmlm-idx archives.

Who can post to the list?

Posting rules are the most complex aspect of List Type configuration, and there is extensive help available. For a quick overview of posting access options (and MOU combinations in the ezmlm-make argument string), see Posting Access in the appendix. For information on document.you want to look up an individual argument in the ezmlm-make argument string, see Ezmlm Quick Reference Guide.

Settings that restrict the ability to post directly can be configured to enforce one of two actions on email received from addresses that don't have direct posting permission: the email can be rejected or sent for moderation. For larger lists, moderating all requests can be an unmanageable option. It is often easier to reject posts from the public, then add select individuals to the Poster List to grant them the same posting privileges as subscribers. For more information, see Moderation.

Public subscription requests

This is the simplest of the access control options. It should be set to 'yes' if the List Type will be used to support lists that are open to the public and 'no' for lists that are closed to the public.

Subscription Model

Most lists use the open subscription model so that users can subscribe directly. Of course, only certain levels of users may be allowed to subscribe. Lists that use the closed subscription model require subscribers to be added by administrators or moderators to assure that unauthorized users don't sign themselves up. This option is used for small, exclusive discussion groups and work groups or for lists used to distribute announcements that may contain sensitive content.

List Types that are configured to use a closed subscription model usually also have moderated posting. If this is a public moderated list, the moderator can approve email subscription requests as well as approving messages for posting, although there are no default List Types configured this way.


List Type settings determine whether raw archives exist and which users are able to access them. If raw archives don't exist, lists based on this type won't have archives of any kind, since MHonArc derives the Web archives from the raw ezmlm-idx archives. All Kavi default List Types are configured to have raw archives.

Configuration options that determine whether a list will have Web-accessible archives are set at the list level. If the underlying List Type has raw archiving enabled, some lists based on this List Type might be configured to have Web archives while others might not.

List-level configuration determines who has access to the Web archives. It is common to have different levels of access to raw ezmlm message archives versus Web archives. Generally, access to raw archives is restricted to subscribers only.

For in-depth information on archives, see Mail Archives, particularly the section on User permissions and archive access.

Archive option interactions:

  • Archiving options set at the List Type level determine whether lists based on this type have archives. If raw archiving is disabled at the List Type level, it doesn't matter how the Web archive option is set, because it will be ignored.

  • Assuming the List Type is configured to have raw archives, the list will have raw ezmlm-idx archives available even if Web archiving is disabled at the list level—although access may be restricted to certain levels of list users.

  • If the list were later reconfigured and Web archiving was enabled, the Web archives could include all the content that had been stored in the raw archives.

  • If Web archiving is enabled but is later disabled, the Web archives will be deleted. They can later be reconstructed from the raw archives, but any edits that had been performed on the Web archives would be lost.

  • If raw archiving is enabled but is then disabled, the raw archives and any Web archives will be deleted.

Web archive access control settings tend to mirror the settings that control the ability to subscribe. For most lists, anyone who is allowed to subscribe and have messages sent to them from the list should be allowed to view those same messages when stored in the Web archives.

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