About mailing Lists

What Mailing Lists are for

A Mailing List is a collection of Email addresses of people collaborating in a particular activity at Sussex, such as:

  • Students studying on the same course
  • Research staff collaborating on the same project
  • Members of faculty involved in teaching the same subject
  • Members of staff in a particular department
  • Members of a club or society at Sussex

Mailing Lists help their members share information and discussion using the medium of Email.

Please remember that Mailing Lists are an optional facility, not a formal requirement. Therefore, there is no guarantee that a person involved in any particular activity will belong to a Mailing List associated with that activity. Neither is there any guarantee that a Mailing List exists for any particular activity or area of research.

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The difference between a Mailing List and an Email ALIAS

A mailing list is an address where messages are distributed to any number of people. The membership of the List can be changed by whoever is the nominated administrator (owner) of that mailing list, though some mailing lists can be joined and left freely by their members.

An Email Alias is, in effect, a "pseudonym" for an existing Email Address, and normally points to the address of one person. It might be a contact-name for someone who is a designated point-of-contact for a particular department, society or research group, or it could be an alternative Email address by which a person prefers to be mailed.

Aliases can be private or central. Private aliases are those that you keep in your Address Book in email applications such as Mulberry, SilkyMail and Outlook, and as the name suggests, only you can use them. Central aliases are kept on the central server and can be used by anyone, but can only be installed or changed by IT Services.

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Types of Mailing List

IT Services provides five different basic models of mailing list as standard under the Mailman system. When applying for a mailing list you should specify what type you would like your list to be. The online request form makes this easy for you.

The basic mailing list types are known as Private, Private Broadcast, Open Broadcast, Forum and Open, and are set up as described below:

  • PRIVATE mailing lists are restricted so that only the people who belong to such a list can send email to it, and the list owner controls who can join it. The names of Private lists will not normally be shown in the Mailman List Information page.
  • PRIVATE BROADCAST mailing lists are restricted so that the list owner not only controls who can join them, but also controls who can send email to them. The names of Private Broadcast lists will not normally be shown in the Mailman List Information page. All members added to a Private Broadcast list will be moderated which will prevent them emailing it directly (the list owner or moderator will have to approve each email sent to the list). This includes the owner - even if they add themself to the list - and they will need to unmoderate themself in the membership list in order to be able to email it.
  • OPEN BROADCAST mailing lists can be joined by any Sussex person (that is, someone using a sussex.ac.uk email address), or anyone else at the discretion of the list owner, but only the list owner or designated cohorts can send email to them. All members added to an Open Broadcast list will be moderated which will prevent them emailing the list directly. This includes the owner - even if they add themself to the list - and they will need to unmoderate themself in the membership list in order to be able to email it.
  • FORUM mailing lists can be joined by any Sussex person (or anyone else at the discretion of the list owner), and only list members can send mail to the list.
  • OPEN mailing lists can be joined by anyone (at Sussex or at the discretion of the list owner), and anyone can send email to them, whether they're a list member or not. PLEASE REMEMBER that Open mailing lists are highly vulnerable to unauthorised use and spamming, and as such IT Services does not recommend their use.

Please note that these named list types are not a direct feature of Mailman itself, but are based on a particular set of configuration options that list owners can change if they so wish (and for which they are responsible). The types are provided to make it easier to choose how a list is to be used from the outset.

If you have a list configured according to one of the above models and want to change it to another model, guidance on doing this can be found in the Mailman FAQ top of page