Kavi Mailing List Manager Help

Chapter 11. Managing Aliases


This document describes the kinds of aliases in use on your web site and provides information on tools used to create, manage and troubleshoot aliases. Aliases are quite simple, but this document does assume you're familiar with information introduced in the >Concepts documents Introduction to Mailing Lists and Aliases.

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How Aliases Are Used

An alias is an email address that automatically forwards every email message it receives to a set of subscribed addresses, also called the alias list.

An alias can provide some significant advantages over simply addressing messages to a specific target mailbox or set of mailboxes.

  • An alias provides a stable, persistent email address for use the system. Once the alias is created, the address used by senders remains constent and only the subscribed addresses change. Users continue to send messages to the same alias address, the only thing that changes is the set of addresses to which the messages are forwarded.

  • When subscribed addresses need to be updated, the changes are made in one place only: the alias list. Without an alias, each user would have to maintain their own individual list of email addresses.

  • When sending an email to an alias, users just enter the alias address in the To field. Without an alias, the user would have to enter every individual recipient's email addresses in the 'To:' field.

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Types of Aliases

The two principal types of aliases managed through Kavi Mailing List Manager tools are default aliases and custom aliases. You can view all aliases installed on the organization's web site through List/Alias Name Lookup.

Default Aliases

Several Kavi applications install default aliases and others are installed by qmail and ezmlm. Many of these aliases represent support positions, such as the administrative alias, which is used on outgoing email by applications, and on incoming email by users seeking support. Most websites use the 'admin@example.org' format for this alias. Most Kavi applications install one or more support aliases, depending on configuration. All these aliases can be viewed and managed through the

The qmail email management software installs a set of aliases so that mail received by the main .qmail directory is forwarded to the home directory and from there to other aliases identified by the naming convention '.qmail-ALIAS'.

The ezmlm mailing list management software creates a set of aliases for every mailing list installed on the site. Many of these aliases handle email commands.

For information on system aliases, see Default Email, Mailing List and System Aliases.

Custom Aliases

Besides these default aliases, organizations can define any number of custom aliases. An alias can be added any time there's a set of users who need certain kinds of information being distributed through the system via email, and anytime information needs to be routed from one place to another. Custom aliases can be created to serve a long-term or temporary need.

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What You Need to Know About Aliases

Here are the key aspects of aliases that you need to know in order to implement and manage aliases successfully.

  • Messages sent to aliases aren't screened for spam, so they are more vulnerable than mailing lists. When troubleshooting user complaints about spam, check whether an alias may have been used as the distribution mechanism. To protect your aliases from spammers, select alias names that differ from the most commonly used names, because spammers sometimes use software to "guess" or test for common alias names. The most famous spam magnet alias name is 'support@example.org'. Many organizations base their alias names on common alias names, adding a prefix to foil probes from spammers. For example, 'support@example.org' could be given a short prefix such as 'zyx-support@example.org'.

  • You can subscribe an alias to other aliases or to mailing lists. Aliases can be used any time you want to direct mail from one alias or mailing list to another alias or mailing list. There doesn't have to be a single human-owned email address on the subscriber list.

  • Aliases are used to distribute information to a relatively small number of subscribers. Mailing lists may have thousands of subscribers, whereas aliases may have only one. Aliases are often created to serve small groups of users performing tasks that don't need to be logged or recorded for posterity, such as an alias created for the committee working on the decor for an upcoming banquet. The alias can be deleted as soon as these users are done with this task. Other custom aliases may be in existence throughout the life of the organization.

  • Aliases don't support email archives, so if messages sent to an alias are stored somewhere, it's usually in some individual's mailbox, on their personal hard drive or on a subscribed mailing list. When an alias is added for a specific position in a startup organization and one person fills this position, the alias is often all that's required until it's time for the responsibilities of this position to be shared with others. At this point a mailing list of the same name can be created to replace the alias so that the archives can serve as a pool of information for all who need it.

  • Alias lists are managed by administrators, so users cannot add or remove these subscriptions for themselves.

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Alias Management

Now that you understand aliases, here are links to the tools you use to manage them.

Links to alias management tools:

  • To view all aliases installed on your organization's web site, use the List/Alias Name Lookup tool. From here you can click links to tools used to manage each alias and subscribed addresses.

  • To view and manage all Kavi Mailing List Manager aliases, use the Manage Aliases tool.

  • To add an alias, use the Add an Alias tool.

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Troubleshooting Aliases

As mentioned, aliases are sometimes used to distribute spam. While it isn't possible to completely protect the alias from spam, there are a couple of things that can be done about it. You can forward the full email header to Kavi so the sender can be identified and possibly added to the Kavi blocklist.

Another common issue with aliases arises from the fact that users can't remove or update the alias list. A user who wants to unsubscribe from all organization email can remove all or most of their own mailing list subscriptions, but can't remove their alias subscriptions. If a user reports having problems unsubscribing, check for alias subscriptions. For more information, see Troubleshooting: Help, I Can't Unsubscribe!.

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