This chapter describes how to be a moderator(*) (message and subscription) and remote administrator(*) for a mailing list run by ezmlm/idx
Features that require ezmlm-idx are marked ``(*)''.. An ``administrator'' is a person responsible for the management of a mailing list. A ``remote administrator'' is an address with the rights to do certain administrative tasks remotely by E-mail. Depending on how the list is configured, remote administrators may have the right/ability to list subscribers, search for subscriber addresses by name, add and remove subscriber addresses and/or edit the texts that ezmlm sends in reply to list commands. A ``moderator'' is an address to which messages are sent for approval. The message will be passed on only if a moderator has approved it. ezmlm distinguishes between ``message moderators'' and ``subscription moderators''. Posts to a message moderated list are sent to the ``message moderators''. The list acts on the first moderator reply it receives to accept or reject the post. For subscription moderated lists, the users' subscription requests are sent to the ``subscription moderators''. If at least one subscription moderator approves the request the user address becomes a subscriber. While remote administration and subscription moderation are enabled separately, the addresses are always the same. Message moderators can be a different group of addresses, but in practice most lists use the same addresses for all 3 functions.
In all transactions ezmlm keeps the moderators' addresses secret, even from other moderators. If you want to tell the user who you are, send them a separate E-mail. Of course, a list owner may choose to make the moderators' identities public.
ezmlm also keeps subscriber addresses secret. Only if configured (see below) will it allow the addresses to be listed, and then only to remote administrators.
ezmlm sends special moderator help in response to a -help request for
To receive this information for
send mail to
ezmlm lists may be set up with message moderation. When ezmlm receives a message for the list, it saves it, sends a moderation request with the message enclosed to the moderator(s). The subject of moderation request is ``MODERATE for ...''.
If you would like to approve the message, just reply to the ``Reply-To:'' address of the moderation request. Usually, this is the default for the ``reply'' function of your mail program. Alternatively, click on the ``accept'' address or copy and paste it into the ``To:'' field of a new message.
To reject the message, reply to the ''From:'' address, click on the ``reject'' address, or copy and paste the ``reject'' address into the ``To:'' field of a new message. You can also just replace the text ``accept'' in the accept address with ``reject''. Optionally, type a comment between two lines starting with ``%%%''. The sender of the message will receive a message from ezmlm explaining that the message was rejected. If you typed a comment, it will be put into the rejection notice.
The third alternative is to ignore the request. If no moderator has replied within 5 days, the message is returned to the sender with an explanation. The owner can also set up the list so that ignored posts are silently removed, which may be more suitable for some lists.
To minimize mail to busy moderators, ezmlm does not confirm moderator actions. More than one moderator may reply. The message will not be duplicated. The first valid reply that is received will decide the fate of the message. ezmlm will send an error message only if a later reply requests an action different from the one already taken. Thus, if you decide to accept the message, but another moderator has already rejected it, ezmlm will notify you. If instead the message had been previously accepted, ezmlm would log your request, but it will not send you a notification.
If a message is send by a moderator, it is sent for approval to that moderator only. The approval is necessary since anyone can claim to be a moderator, but only the moderator will be able to receive the moderation request. This feature is very useful for announcement lists where any moderator can make an announcement without bothering the others, while at the same time non-moderators cannot post without permission.
A remote administrator is an address that can add/remove addresses from the
subscriber list. To subscribe
firstname.lastname@example.org to the list
email@example.com, send mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org will be asked to confirm. However, if you are a remote
administrator, you will receive the confirmation request. Thus,
email@example.com does not need to participate. When you've successfully
added the address,
firstname.lastname@example.org will receive a message acknowledging
You can unsubscribe addresses (-unsubscribe) or determine if an address is a subscriber (-query). If the owner has chosen to enable these functions, you may also -list subscriber addresses list and/or -edit text files, such as the one sent in reply to the -help command (see Editing ezmlm administrative messages below). You can also search the subscription log with e.g. the user's name (see Listing and searching the subscription log). You can use all these functions to help users subscribe or unsubscribe to the list. See Helping users unsubscribe in the OWNER'S introduction for details.
ezmlm lists may be set up to only allow subscribers to send messages to the
list. This is less secure than moderation, but still keeps most ``garbage''
off the list. Occasionally, a user may wish to send messages from an address
other than the subscription address. As a remote administrator, you can add
the user's alias to a special ``allow'' database.
as an alias to the
email@example.com, send mail to
and other commands work the same way. The messages ezmlm sends talk about
firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list, but of course you know
that this is just a figure of speech.
On lists that do not have subscription moderation, users can add themselves to the ``allow'' database in the same way. This is documented only briefly in the USER'S manual.
Archive access may also be restricted to subscribers. Like subscribers of the list or the digest list, addresses in the ``allow'' database are allowed to access the archive.
Just as you may want to allow some non-subscriber addresses to send messages
to the list, you may want to (temporarily) prevent an address from posting
to the list.
This is easily defeated, but very useful if some defective mail robot or
other mailing list sends messages to the list address.
The system works just like
the ``allow'' list, but is called ``deny''. To prevent
from posting to
email@example.com, send mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org and reply to the
confirmation request, respectively.
You can do this only if you are a remote administrator and the list is set up to support this option. You can use -unsubscribe, -query, and other commands with this address collection, just as for the normal subscriber database. Normal users cannot access the database. This database does not affect archive access.
The list may be configured to allow remote administrators to obtain a list
of subscriber addresses. If
email@example.com is set up with
this option and you are a remote administrator, mail to
firstname.lastname@example.org will get you the list. If you are sending
from another account,
you can use
to get the list to
email@example.com. Of course, this will work only
firstname.lastname@example.org is a remote administrator.
Subscriber lists for the ``digest'', ``deny''
and ``allow'' databases are obtained in a
similar manner by a message to
If the list is set up for subscription moderation, a moderator has to approve the user's subscription request. The process starts with a user -subscribe request, followed by the normal user confirmation. After this, ezmlm sends a second confirmation request to the moderator(s). If any moderator replies to this request, the user is accepted as a subscriber.
You may send the user a message to request further information. However, this will reveal your address/identity to the user.
Users may unsubscribe at any time without moderator assistance.
If configured, remote administrators may view or search the subscription log. This is a file that contains all changes in the subscriber database, one per line, in order of occurrence. Each line has the date, the direction (``+'' for additions, ``-'' for removals) and the way the change was made (blank for normal subscribe/unsubscribe, ``manual'' for manual additions from the command line, or ``probe'' for addresses removed via automated bounce handling), the addresses, and for additions usually the ``From:'' header contents from the subscription confirmation reply.
Listing this file allows the remote administrator to see recent additions
and removals. This is done by sending a message to
Remote administrators can also search through the log.
To retrieve all entries fr_d,
where ``_'' can be any character, mail
search is case insensitive. When you want to search for addresses, just
replace the ``@'' in the address with ``_''. This feature is useful when
a user wants to unsubscribe, but has changed his address and doesn't
remember the subscription address. Just search for the host name, part of
the user's name, etc. Usually it is obvious which of the few alternatives
is the correct one. Construct an unsubscribe request from it, and if you
are right, the user will receive a request to confirm the unsubscribe.
Replying to it will remove the user from the subscribers.
The command works also for other address databases. Thus, to search through
the digest subscriber log for ``Keith'' mail
If configured, remote administrators may edit (via E-mail)
ezmlm text files, such as the one sent in reply to the -help command.
A list of editable files, their use, and instructions for editing may
be obtained with the -edit command. Thus, for the list
email@example.com, send a message to
firstname.lastname@example.org and follow the instructions.
With or without
ezmlm-idx, the messages can be modified locally with a text editor.