Tracker-Subscribers Mailing List Commands
1.1 Sending commands to an ezmlm/idx mailing
Messages to the list address itself are sent to all subscribers and should never be used for administrative requests. If you have forgotten everything, send a message to email@example.com for the list firstname.lastname@example.org. If the instructions returned do not help you solve the problem, send a message to email@example.com for human help, forwarding a message from the list and including any relevant information.
If you want to interact administratively with the ezmlm mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org, send an empty message (contents and subject are ignored) to email@example.com, replacing ``command'' with the desired command. For some commands, you can add arguments. Here are a few examples, which will be discussed further below:
1.2 Subscribing to an ezmlm mailing list.
The confirmation is used so that only you (and the list administrator) can add/remove your address from the list of subscribers.
Sometimes, you may want to subscribe an address other than the one you are sending from. Let's say you're sitting at firstname.lastname@example.org and that all your mail is forwarded here from email@example.com (when you are not in the office). You'd like firstname.lastname@example.org to be the subscriber (so that you get the messages at work). To do this, send mail to: email@example.com. ezmlm will send the confirmation request to firstname.lastname@example.org which will be forwarded and reach you at email@example.com. When you reply, firstname.lastname@example.org is added as a subscriber. The ezmlm verification mechanism tests the only relevant issue: That the person at the subscription address really wants to be a subscriber. After the confirmation reply is received, ezmlm will send a message to the subscription address to let the recipient know that s/he is a subscriber.
Some ezmlm mailing lists may use subscription moderation(*). Subscription to these lists is identical to the process described above, except that after confirmation the request is passed on to the list moderator(s). You become a subscriber only after one of the moderators has approved your request. If you want to send any additional information to the moderator, do so in your confirmation message. ezmlm will notify you once you are a subscriber.
1.3 Unsubscribing from an ezmlm mailing list.
If you message contains a ``List-Unsubscribe:'' header, just click on it if your mail reader supports it and send of that message. If you mail reader doesn't support this, copy the entire address from after ``mailto:'' until just before ``>'', paste it into the ``To:'' field of a new message and press ``SEND''. Reply to the confirmation request.
Otherwise, you have to know your subscription address. To find it, look at the very first header of any message from the list. This should contain something like email@example.com which tells you that the message number is ``2345'' and the subscriber address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Now you remember that you subscribed a address, and construct the appropriate command address to remove that address from the subscriber database: email@example.com. (You can see that this is a normal unsubscribe request, with a ``-'' followed by your subscription address with the ``@'' replaced by a ``=''. If you like, you can just use the address in the ``Return-Path'' header, and replace the ``return-2345'' with ``unsubscribe''.) Replying to the confirmation request will return the desired acknowledgement that the address has been removed from the subscriber database.
You can also send -unsubscribe requests for each potential subscription address and reply to the confirmation requests. The message sent by ezmlm in response to you -unsubscribe confirmations will tell you if you -unsubscribe attempt was successful.
With ezmlm-idx(*) you can also send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and so on. For each message, the address will receive a reply telling you whether or not the address is subscribed or not. Construct a ``-unsubscribe'' message from the one that gave you a positive reply and you're off the list!
If you for some reason are not successful with these attempts you can as a last resort contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please describe your problem and include a FORWARDED message from the list and a list of the possible addresses you might be subscribed under. The list owner will be able to help you get off the list, and can usually figure out your subscription address from the information sent (see Helping users to unsubscribe).
Unsubscribe from subscription moderated lists works the same way as for normal lists. You never need approval to remove your address from a moderated list.
Posting from an alternative address when post are
allowed only to subscribers.
1.4 Sending messages to an ezmlm mailing list.
Due to the efficiency of ezmlm, you usually get back the message you sent to the list within a few minutes. Of course, this is true only if you are a subscriber.
Most ezmlm lists require that you specify a ``Subject'', a few words that give everyone an idea what your message is about. This is a good thing, since many subscribers automatically delete mailing list messages without subject. Conversely, a good subject causes those interested/able to help with your comment/problem to read the message. If you send a message without a subject, ezmlm will send it back to you with an error message.
ezmlm also rejects messages to the list if the subject is a single command word only, such as ``subscribe'' or ``help''. These are almost always misdirected commands from novice users. Instead of ``flames'' from many subscribers, the sender gets an informative error message. As you know, your should send mail to email@example.com to unsubscribe from the list firstname.lastname@example.org and a message to email@example.com to get help and command information.
The list owner may place additional restrictions on messages to the list. ezmlm allows rejection of messages that are not from subscribers(*), that are too long/short(*), or that contain certain MIME parts(*). If your message is not acceptable by these criteria, ezmlm will send your message back to you and tell you why it failed. You can then correct the problem and try again. You can also mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reach the list owner and ask for assistance. Replace ``mailinglist'' and ``example.org'' with the real list ``local'' and ``host'' name, respectively. In all messages to the owner, please include a FORWARDED copy of the error/problem message (see below). Note: ezmlm lists handle almost everything themselves. Therefore, the list-owner may check the mail only infrequently. Use ezmlm if at all possible, and be patient when you wait for a reply from the owner.
In special cases, the list owner may set up the list to be message moderated(*). When you subscribe, you should be told if the list is moderated. Also, ezmlm adds a special ``Delivered-To: moderator for ...'' header to the messages. On a message moderated list, your message, instead of going directly to the list, is sent to one or more moderators. They can accept or reject, but not modify the message. If the message is accepted, it is sent to the list unmodified. If it is rejected, it is sent back to you, optionally with an explanation from the moderator. On moderated lists it may take a little longer for the message to reach all the subscribers, since it has to be read and approved by at least one moderator before being sent out to the subscribers.
Message moderation is very useful for e.g. announcement lists, or lists where for other reasons not all posts are accepted. ezmlm does not reveal the moderators' identity to you. If you feel that you are treated unfairly by a moderator, please state your case to the list-owner.
1.5 Replying to a message from an ezmlm mailing
In other cases, you may want to send the reply to all subscribers. The easiest is to type in the list address by hand or to use the ``Reply-to-all'' function of your mail reader. If you do this, delete your address as well as the original sender's address so that the message goes to the list only. Since messages reach subscribers within minutes, it is usually superfluous and sometimes annoying to also send a reply directly to the sender as well.
1.6 Accessing the ezmlm message archive.
To access the archive, again remember that commands are put into the ADDRESS. Here are examples of the commands:
If you haven't been following the list for a while, or you just want to see the discussion of a specific question, the easiest is to start with -index(*). If not found, send further -index(*) requests going backwards in the archive. Once you've found one message (e.g. ``667'') in the thread use the -thread(*) command: email@example.com to get the entire set.
If you're a digest subscriber and find an interesting discussion, use -thread or the firstname.lastname@example.org address to catch up with the latest messages in that thread or on the list. The -thread(*) command is also useful if you catch the tail end of a discussion and want to read earlier messages.
Some lists may be set up to allow archive access to subscribers only(*). If you are not a subscriber, you can simply subscribe. If you are a subscriber, but are denied archive access, you are subscribed under an address different from the one you are sending from. Easiest is to unsubscribe (see above) the current subscriber address and subscribe the address you're sending from. Alternatively, some mail programs (e.g. Mutt) allow you to change the SENDER address depending on where you are sending mail. Last, if this address difference is necessary, you may FORWARD a list message, and a note with the two addresses and a request to email@example.com. The owner will add your second address to a special address list of senders allowed to access the archive (and post) even though they are not subscribers. Remember to replace ``firstname.lastname@example.org'' with the list address. (If you are adventurous, see Adding an alias for information on how to do this without the help of the owner.)
1.7 Getting ezmlm digests a few times per week
rather than individual messages(*).
Simple ezmlm/idx lists test if the conditions for a digest are met whenever a message arrives. Thus, the digests do not arrive at a specific time, but rather approximately every two days, or more often if there is a lot of traffic.
On some mailing lists you are a subscriber, and as a subscriber, you can choose to receive the messages individually or as a digest. With ezmlm, you can subscribe to the ``list'' for individual messages, or to ``list-digest'' for digests. Some people prefer to subscribe to both: They can keep up with a discussion if they like, but if they have too little time they can just delete the individual messages and read the ``threads'' that interest them. To switch from being a ``list'' subscriber to being a ``list-digest'' subscriber, simply subscribe to the digest and unsubscribe from the main list. You will still be able to post to the main list.
With some mailing list managers, the digest is edited by a human. ezmlm digests contain each message as it was sent out by the list (apart from having many less informative headers removed). No editorials, no missing messages. The messages are ordered by subject (or ``story'' or ``thread'') and within each subject by arrival time. First in the digest is a table of contents with subjects, message numbers, and authors. Messages are enclosed as attachments so that a MIME-capable mail reader will allow you to see them as individual messages. This way, you can easily follow-up on a post even from the digest. The owner may chose to use a non-MIME single message format instead. This is most often done on old lists where the subscribers are used to that format and unaware or due to deficient mail readers unable to appreciate the advantages of the MIME format (Pegasus Mail and Mutt are free programs that do a good job).
The digest of a list ``list'' is called ``list-digest'', and the commands are the same as for the main list. Thus, to subscribe to email@example.com (the digest of firstname.lastname@example.org) send a message to: email@example.com, or to subscribe the address firstname.lastname@example.org send to: email@example.com. Of course, ezmlm will send a confirmation request, and then a message notifying the user that s/he is a subscriber. If the list owner has chosen to restrict posts and archive access to subscribers, digest subscribers are automatically given the same privilege.1.8 Unsubscribing from an ezmlm digest list.
You unsubscribe to the digest in the same manner as you unsubscribe from the main list (see Unsubscribing from an ezmlm list), but using the digest list name. Thus, to unsubscribe your current address from firstname.lastname@example.org send mail to: email@example.com. Again, you can unsubscribe firstname.lastname@example.org by instead mailing email@example.com. ezmlm confirmation works as usual.
1.9 Temporarily halting message delivery.
Due to the fast replies from ezmlm this is easier and more efficient than having ``dormant'' subscribers.
1.10 Contacting the list-owner.