Roles and Glossary of Terms

A mailing list service involves four types of roles:

Listmaster: The FAU administrators who manage and maintain the Sympa system. The listmaster also validates and activates mailing list requests.

List Owner: The list owner is the individual who creates and controls the list. They handle all subscription and unsubscription requests (adding or removing members), along with managing the list's settings and permissions. (See “Responsibilities of the List Owner” below for additional information).

Moderator:Moderators are appointed by the list owner and are in charge of ensuring the relevancy of messages sent to the list. After reading all messages, moderators can decide to accept or to reject them. Rejection of a message may be followed by a notice to the sender to explain the reason for rejection. A list can have one or more moderators and, generally, the list owner is also a moderator. NOTE: In a non-moderated list, there is not moderator.

Subscriber: A member of the FAU community who has joined a particular mailing list. 


Glossary of Terms

Moderated List: Often a list will be set to only allow specific people to post and require everyone else to be moderated, or it will simply require everyone's posts to be moderated. This means when a user sends a message to the list it doesn't go out to the list's subscribers straight away. Instead, it enters a holding queue and a moderator is notified. They then view the message, determine if its content is appropriate to the list, and either approve it or deny it based on that decision. On high-volume lists, several moderators may be in place to help lighten each one's individual load.

Archive: All messages sent to members of a mailing list are also saved to a list archive. The archive allows members of a mailing list to revisit postings and discussions. All list messages are saved into the archive as soon as they are posted. The archive can be accessed by logging into the web interface, going to the information page of the list you wish to view and then clicking on the “Archive” link in the left menu. This will allow you to browse the archives by month and year or search for a specific word or phrase.

Digest: Normally a mailing list will send all messages to its subscribers as it receives them, and users will then receive the individual messages at various times throughout the day. For some users, or in some cases, this is less than desirable — it can interrupt your workflow, can cause you to get far more email than you'd like, and can just generally be annoying. Some people prefer to get their messages in what's called a digest, where the mailing list gathers up all the messages over a span of time (usually one day) and then sends them out as a single bundle to subscribers who've elected to only receive digests. This allows them to read through the mail (or ignore it entirely) at a more leisurely pace.  Instructions for configuring your preference to receive a digest can be found under the “Help” tab in the web interface ( by clicking on the “User Guide” link.

Shared Document WebspaceSome lists may choose to have a shared document web space where subscribers can download and upload documents rather than sending them as attachments or links. Not all lists use this feature. Information on setting it up can be found by clicking on the “Help” tab at the top of the page in the web interface and selecting “Administrator Guide.”

Responsibilites of the List OwnerThe list owner is responsible for the list, and each list must have an owner. Owners are typically someone from the community of users served by the list. The new list owner is expected to become familiar with Sympa and:

  • to define the way the list will be used
  • to appoint one or more moderators (if it is a moderated list)
  • to respond to subscriber requests for information
  • to maintain the integrity and accuracy of the mailing list
  • to subscribe, unsubscribe, and change the options for users as required
  • to deal with the email errors resulting from failures in transmission, inaccurate mailing list information, or other sources of mail interruption
  • to approve postings and to ensure that posts are appropriate and on-topic

Please Note: List owners and moderators can turn to the listmaster when they face a problem not dealt with by the documentation. In the same situation, subscribers should turn to list owners, not the listmaster.


Article ID: 62345
Fri 9/14/18 4:13 PM
Fri 9/14/18 4:13 PM