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What is Mailman?

Mailman is a Web-based email distribution list manager. With an email distribution list, you can send an email message to a single address and have it automatically distributed to any number of predetermined addresses. And it is the newest edition to the suite of Purdue Calumet products.

What is a Mailman List?

Electronic mailing lists (also known as distribution lists or discussion groups) offer a highly efficient way to both disseminate information to a large number of people and hold long-distance discussions among many people. They are commonly used by PUC students, faculty, and staff to communicate.

Setting up a Mailman list gives you an email address of the form <listname> A special computer server processes email sent to this address, screening it according to rules established for the list. It then distributes a copy of the message to every list member. List owners can manage their lists, adding and deleting list members and making changes to how the list operates with an administrative Web page set up for their list. Mailman gives many options in areas like privacy, control over who can subscribe, control over who can post, and moderation of postings.

For more information see:

Mailman List Roles

With Mailman, you can be a list subscriber, list owner/administrator, or list moderator. You also may take on multiple roles for a list or different roles for different lists. In addition, the Mailman list server at Purdue University Calumet has a system administrator.

  • Subscriber: A subscriber is someone who has subscribed to a list, receives messages posted to the list, and may also post messages for distribution to the list if permitted. Who may post, and how it is done, may be controlled by the list owners/administrators. A subscriber has no administrative power over list operation but can change a few of his or her own subscription settings. For example, a subscriber can decide to receive message “digests” rather than individual postings.
  • List Owner/Administrator: Each list must have an owner who is responsible for configuration, maintenance and operation of the list. The list owner/administrator may establish other owner/administrators, and may optionally have others take roles such as moderating the discussion or managing subscription requests. List owners/administrators may execute commands for their subscribers including adding and deleting subscribers. Each list must have at least one owner/administrator who is a current faculty, staff, or student at the Purdue University Calumet. All list owners must have a Career Account.
  • List Moderator: List moderators are optional. They are assigned by the owners and can manage list subscriptions and postings.
  • Mailman System Administrator: A system administrator is responsible for the operation of the Mailman list server on which many lists reside. Administration tasks include installation and maintenance of the software and the computers where Mailman runs as well as creation and deletion of the individual lists. The system administrator is also entitled to act as the list owner of any mailing list on the server. Not available to anyone outside of implementation.

Requesting a Mailman List?

To establish a new distribution list on Mailman you will need to do the following.

  • Establish who will own the list
  • Determine if a moderator is needed, if so assign one
  • Fill out a Form 69 , all data can be typed in before printing
  • Get appropriate signatures on the form
  • Send the form to IS Operations in the Powers building

Operations will contact the Owner/Administrator when the list has been created.

How to Use Mailman

Sending email to list subscribers

When a message is to be distributed to the subscribers of a Mailman list, it must be addressed to the list’s address. For example, to post to a list called yoga, you send email to

All lists on the Mailman server at the PUC have email addresses of the form <listname>

Messages sent to these addresses first go to the Mailman server. Mailman receives the message and processes it, checking for errors and following the rules established by the list owners. If a message is valid, a copy is forwarded to each of the list’s subscribers.

Changing subscriber/owner configuration options

Mailman performs lots of functions in addition to distributing messages to subscribers. It allows you to do a task, like subscribing to a list or changing how a list works, by going to a specific Web address.

  • Subscribers can do their tasks on the list information page at

    where listname is replaced with the actual name of the list. For Example, if a subscriber wanted to change his subscription options for the PUCsports list, he would go to

    To learn more, go to the Quick Reference for Mailman List Subscribers.

  • Owners/Administrators can go to the list administration page at

    where again listname is replaced with the actual name of the list.

    The Quick Reference for List Owners provides additional information.

    List owners and moderators can go to their list’s moderation page at

    when there are subscription requests or messages to be moderated.

    The Quick Reference for List Moderators provides additional information.


Frequently Asked Questions

You can find answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions. If you have questions not answered on that page, please send email to

Additional Documentation

Mailman was developed by GNU. You can find more information about it on the vendor’s site.