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MBARI Email List Server

Special Information for MBARI Users

This server uses the Sympa public domain listserver software. The MBARI I.S. staff has put together a specialized set of tech notes on the IS web site dealing with MBARI's implementation of the Sympa package. You can find those tech notes by clicking here; they will open in a new window for your convenience. You may also submit a help ticket if you need additonal help.

The rest of this document is a customized version of the documentation distributed with the Sympa product.

Mailing lists - User Guide

How the mailing list service works

The mailing-list service is managed by a mailing-list software named Sympa.

To perform actions related to mailing lists (subscribe, change your options, etc.), you have two options:

  • Log on to the web interface;
  • Send email commands to the list manager at sympa@listserver.mbari.org.
  • To send a command to Sympa:

  • To send a single command, type it into the subject line of your email and leave the message body blank.
  • To send several commands in one message, leave the subject line of your email blank and type all the commands in the email body.
  • Put every command on a new line.
  • Send your message in plain text, not in HTML (no formatting).
  • Do not include anything other than Sympa commands in your email (i.e. no signature block, etc.).
  • A description of all the commands you can send to Sympa is available at /sympa/help/mail_commands.

    Subscribing to Mailing Lists via Email Commands

    Subscribing to one of the MBARI mailing list is very simple:

  • Choose the address with which you want to subscribe to the list. For MBARI staff members, this would be your xxxx@mbari.org email address
  • Send an email message to sympa@listserver.mbari.org from the address you want to subscribe to the list.
  • In the subject line of your message, type in: subscribe nameofthelist FirstName LastName (replace 'nameofthelist' by the name of the list you want to subscribe to and indicate your own first name and name).
  • Leave the message body blank.

    To save some time, you can also send several commands in a single message. To do that, follow the instructions available in the How the mailing list service works section.

  • After this, you will receive a message telling you whether your request was accepted or not. If there are any restrictions on the list, your request may be forwarded to the list owner for approval. (If you're not approved, please don't send several other requests: it is useless as the result will remain the same.) You can possibly send a message directly to the list owner (nameofthelist-request@listserver.mbari.org) to explain why you really want to subscribe to the list. Sometimes you'll be asked to confirm your subscription request before it can be processed. If so, please read the instructions contained in the message you receive.

    According to the type of list (list with subscription subject to conditions or not) and to the availability of the list owner, you may receive the notice immediately or there may be a slight delay. Please don't send several requests since this this would be useless.

    Subscribing to Mailing Lists via the Web Interface

    You can also subscribe to a list through the mailing list web interface. To do that, do as follows:

  • Go to the list environment homepage and log on by clicking the icon in the upper-right corner.
  • Go to the home page of the list you want to subscribe to.
  • In the left menu, click on the 'Subscribe' link.
  • Checking your subscriptions

    To see all the lists you subscribed to, you need to log on first. Then a list of all your lists, including a short description for each of them, will be displayed in the 'Your lists' form on the left column.

    To look at a list information page, click on its name.

    Form this information page, you can (depending on the list):

  • change your subscriber options;
  • read the list archive;
  • search in the message archive;
  • send new messages;
  • download documents from the shared document web space;
  • upload documents in the shared document web space;
  • review members of the list (if available);
  • suspend or resume your subscription of each list;
  • unsubscribe from the list.
  • The number of people subscribed to the list is permanently displayed in the left menu. To review the list members, click on the 'Review members' link in the left menu (if the list-owner decided to deny access to the members list, this link is not available). The subscribers list displays and shows the email address and name of each of the subscribers.

    To know when you subscribed to the list and when you last updated your subscriber options, click on the 'Subscriber options' link in the left menu.

    Managing your preferences

    To allow you to use lists more easily, you can define a number of personal preferences. There are two types of preferences you can change:

  • your subscriber options, which can vary according to the list;
  • your general preferences, which apply to the entire Sympa mailing list environment.
  • Changing your subscriber options

    Your subscriber options can vary from a list to another. To change them, do as follows:

  • Go to the list environment homepage and log on.
  • Go to the information page of the list for which you want to change your subscriber options.
  • In the left menu, click on the 'Subscriber options' link.
  • Choose a message delivery mode (those options are mutually exclusive, thus you can not select several of them):
  • digest MIME format: instead of receiving the list messages in a normal manner, you will get a digest of them on a regular basis. This digest compiles a group of messages from the list, using multipart/digest MIME format. The digest frequency is set up by the list owner.
  • digest plain text format: instead of receiving the list messages in a normal manner, you will get a digest of them on a regular basis. This digest compiles a group of messages from the list, using plain text format. The digest frequency is set up by the list owner.
  • summary mode: instead of receiving the list messages in a normal manner, you will get a list of them on a regular basis. To read the messages, you will need to browse the online list archive.
  • notice mode: with this mode, you will receive all the messages with a blank body: this way you are informed of every message sent to the list real time, without risk of flooding your inbox.
  • no mail (useful for vacations): this mode makes it possible not to receive the messages of the list. It is especially useful when you have no access to your email for a long time and want to remain subscribed to the list nevertheless.
  • text only mode: this mode allows you to receive only the text version (text/plain) of messages sent in both formats (plain text and HTML).
  • HTML only mode: this mode allows you to receive only the HTML version (text/html) of messages sent in both formats.
  • urlize mode: this mode allows you not to receive attached documents. However these documents are available in the list archive and you can access them through a URL provided in the message.
  • you do not receive your own posts: this mode allows you not to receive a copy of your own messages.
  • standard (direct reception): this mode is the default delivery mode; it cancels any other delivery mode.
  • suspended: this mode allows you to suspend your subscription to one or more lists for a specified or unspecified period. Unlike unsubscription, you can keep track of your subscription and reactivate it at any time by visiting the "Manage your subscription" section.
  • Choose a visibility option:
  • listed in the list review page: your name and email address will be displayed in the members list (if the list owner allowed subscribers to review the list members).
  • concealed: your name and email address will not be displayed in the members list. However you email address will be visible in the list archive if you send messages.
  • Click on the 'Update' button.
  • Changing your general preferences

    The general preferences apply to all your subscriptions as well as to the way your Sympa mailing list web interface displays. To change your preferences, do as follows:

  • Go to the list environment homepage and log on.
  • In the form displayed on top of the left column, click on the 'Your preferences' link.
  • Change your preferences.
  • Click on 'Submit' for every option you change.
  • You can change:

  • your name; if you subscribe to a list from the mailing list server web interface, the 'Name' field will automatically be filled in in the members list;
  • the language in which the Sympa web interface is displayed (you can change language on every page of the web interface; your choice will remain even though you change the interface language on another page than the 'Preferences' page;
  • the lifetime of the cookie placed on your computer by Sympa ('Connection expiration period'). By default, the session expires when you close your browser; if you use the mailing list service a lot, we advise you to choose a longer duration;
  • the email address with which you subscribed to the lists (if you subscribed with several email addresses, the address to be replaced will be the one you logged on with);
  • your list password.
  • The 'Your other email addresses' section acts like an email address change.

    Searching for a mailing list

    You may need to search for a mailing list. To do that, you have three options:

  • Browse the different sections displayed on the web interface homepage;
  • Search for a list via the search box. The search will return all the lists whose name or description matches your search criteria.
  • Click on the 'List of lists' tab on top of page to display all the lists that are available on the list server.
  • Reading a list archive online

    Please refer to the archive documentation.

    Sending a message

    Please refer to the documentation about sending messages.

    Using the shared document web space

    Please refer to the shared document web space documentation.

    Suspending or resuming your subscription of each list

    Please refer to the subscription management documentation.

    Unsubscribing from lists

    To unsubscribe from a list:

  • From the address with which you subscribed to the list, send a message to sympa@listserver.mbari.org.
  • In the subject line of your email, type in: unsubscribe nameofthelist (replace 'nameofthelist' by the name of the list you want to unsubscribe from).
  • Leave the message body blank.

    To save some time, you can also send several commands in a single message. To do that, follow the instructions available in the How the mailing list service works section.

  • You can also unsubscribe through the mailing list web interface (you will need to repeat the operation for each list you want to unsubscribe from):

  • Go to the list environment homepage and log on.
  • Go to the information page of the list you want to unsubscribe from.
  • In the left menu, click on the 'Unsubscribe' link.


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