Procedure for Creating Mailing Lists at Queen's University

The creation and management of mailing lists must meet current acceptable use policies of Queen's University and of the member networks to which Queen's belongs. This document describes the eligibility, mandatory requirements and standards for Mailing List Services at Queen's University. Use the content box on the left hand side to jump to and review the specific responsibilities that all List Owners are expected to perform, and agree to perform, before creating a mailing list. 

Service Definition

IT Services licenses, maintains, and operates Lsoft's Listserv Mailing List Management Server for Queen's faculties, departments, and offices who wish to create and manage their own mailing list email accounts for the purpose of communication.

Service Eligibility and Requirements

IT Services provides Mailing List Services to Queen's faculty and Queen's continuing staff members in support of Education, Research and Teaching.

Any Queen's faculty or Queen's continuing staff member may create a mailing list provided they remain as an active List Owner of the mailing list. There is no limit to the number of additional List Owner email addresses that can be added to a mailing list and there is no requirement for additional List Owners to be members of the Queen's community.

Mailing list email accounts require an administrator who is responsible for the operation of the mailing list.This person (or persons) is called the List Owner.

At least one active List Owner must be a Queen's faculty member or a Queen's continuing staff member.

The List Owners of a mailing list are required to perform, and agree to perform, the responsibilities defined under "List Owner Responsibilities" prior to creating their mailing lists. The List Owner Responsibilities defined below ensure that mailing lists meet current acceptable use policies of the University and of the member networks to which Queen's belongs.

List Owner Responsibilities - Mailing List Administration Responsibilities

Because all of the vendor's internal help files and documentation use the term "List Owner", a Mailing List Administrator will be referred to as "The Primary List Owner" or simply as "The List Owner" for the remainder of the document.

IT Services has a responsibility to ensure that mailing lists are being used responsibly. A problem with a single unattended mailing list can affect all mailing lists on campus and has the potential to disrupt faculty and staff email at Queen's as well as create service outages for machines locally as well as on the Internet.

For this reason, the following List Owner Responsibilities must be carried out by all List Owners to ensure that mailing lists meet the acceptable use policies of Queen's University and meet the expectations of our network neighbours on the Internet.

  1. Primary List Owner email addresses must belong to a real person and cannot be generic email accounts.
    The Primary List Owner or the designated alternate List Owner will:
    • Add and Delete list members and track down address changes.
    • When appropriate, inform list members of appropriate email conduct, how to contact you as the List Owner (via a Welcome message) and enforce mailing list or posting policies.
    • Remove list members who use the mailing list to violate the Queen's University Computer User Code of Ethics or who repeatedly violate your posting policies.
    • Answer enquiries from and provide assistance to list members.
    • Answer enquiries from and provide assistance and training to casual and temporary Queen's staff members (Student TAs, Student instructors, Replacement staff) who you or your department designate and add as second List Owners to help run mailing lists.
    • Find and train new List Owners to take operational responsibility for the mailing lists you create before you change departments, job positions or leave Queen's.
    • Delete mailing lists that are no longer required. In the case of large Internet discussions lists, please consider sending a courtesy notice to your subscribers.
    • Manage list archives, if they exist. To ensure disk space for all mailing lists, we ask List Owners to keep archives restricted to a single year. Mailing list quotas were announced and applied selectively in 2000 by IT Services to help List Owners meet the expectations of finite archive storage.
    • Immediately resolve complaints from off campus sites regarding problems with the operation of your list and/or problems with list members.
    • Read mail regularly, preferably daily, to track down and remove email addresses which are no longer valid and which bounce off Queen's machines and sites on the Internet. Failing to do this will result in IT Services having to shut down your mailing list.

      Note: Many sites on the Internet now belong to individuals and small businesses. An unattended mailing list has the potential to cause significant resource problems for these machines and disrupt service to their customers as well as reflect poorly on the reputation of Queen's University.

  2. When absent, the Primary List Owner will ensure that an alternate faculty or staff List Owner performs the above tasks.
  3. The Primary List Owner who creates the mailing list ensures that the list furthers one of the purposes of Queen's University: educationresearch, or teaching.
  4. Class Mailing Lists used for teaching purposes must comply with the Policy for Class Lists at Queen's University.
  5. In the case of departments who have created a large number of Class Mailing Lists (with rotating faculty who teach the courses), IT Services strongly suggests that one of the two class list management practices be followed:
    • The Dept. Head/Dean designate one individual in a department as the Class Mailing List Administrator and provide them with a generic Class List email account that is included as a "Quiet List Owner" email address on all Class Mailing Lists.
    • The Dept. Head/Dean request a generic email address that all faculty and staff should include as a co-owner on all Class Mailing Lists created. The email Login password and Listserv personal password should be stored in a safe place in the department office until needed.

    Following one of the above practices avoids the situation where a class list is needed and no one in the department has access to transfer the list. Without a Class Mailing List Coordinator, faculty who wish to use an existing Class List must follow the instructions to change the owner of a mailing list to have the Class List transferred to them.

  6. Use of the mailing list conforms with all applicable Queen's University policies, including the Electronic Information Security Policy Framework and in particular with  IT Services Mass Email Communication Policy.
  7. Use of the list conforms with network acceptable use policies of the University and of the networks Queen's is a member of. For example, commercial advertising, email harassment, chain letters, spamming, etc., are strictly forbidden. Because of the pervasive nature of mailing list email and the ease with which email can be distributed to thousands or more email addresses within seconds, the use of Queen's mailing list facilities to violate Queen's and network acceptable use policies will result in the immediate shut down of a mailing list.

IT Services Responsibilities

IT Services is responsible for licensing, maintaining, and operating the server hardware and upgrading the Mailing List Management server software to enable Queen's faculties, departments, and offices to create and manage their own mailing list email accounts.

In support of faculty and staff creating and managing their own mailing lists, IT Services is responsible for clearly defining the support services that faculty and staff may expect when seeking assistance from IT Services. 

IT Services has no special privileges to access mailing lists or grant others access to mailing list email accounts. However, ITS does have a responsibility to ensure that mailing lists are being used and managed responsibly, and must be in a position to take immediate corrective action to comply with Queen's University policies and to meet the expectations of Queen's and network acceptable use policies.

  1. In situations where the stored information is interfering with normal operations of the computer system or network, IT Services will notify the Primary List Owner that the mailing list has been temporarily shut down or suspended. IT Services is responsible for providing a description of the problem, and if appropriate, instructions to the List Owner, as well as how to obtain assistance to carry out those instructions.
  2. In the event that a mailing list is running without an active List Owner, IT Services will suspend/delete the mailing list in order to comply with Queen's and Internet network acceptable use policies.
    • For large Internet discussion mailing lists, IT Services may send a courtesy note informing members that the mailing list is being deleted and provide a pointer to free mailing list software (e.g., yahoogroups).
  3. IT Services is not responsible for finding temporary List Owner replacements nor is it possible for IT Services to transfer mailing list ownership or otherwise manage mailing lists created by faculties/departments/offices on campus.
  4. All non-Class Mailing Lists that have not been used for a period of 13 months will be deleted by IT Services.
    Note:Dormant mailing lists have become a major source of spam complaints from on and off campus and has resulted in the server being blacklisted by Internet Service Providers several times in the past year. This affects all mailing lists on campus and negatively reflects on the reputation of Queen's University.
  5. List Archives: Disk space is a finite resource. IT Services has a responsibility to ensure that everyone has access to shared disk space for mailing lists. IT Services will add mailing lists that consistently exceed the 12 month recommended archive storage period to the mailing list Quota System and notify the List Owners.
  6. Routine weekly server maintenance is conducted after University business hours to avoid disruption of service. Current maintenance is scheduled each Friday at 8:00 pm. for 20 minutes. During this time email is queued and Login to mailing lists and archives is not possible. All other service outages will be announced to ITAdmin Reps and to List Owners via their respective mailing lists.
  7. IT Services statement regarding Copyright Information for Mailing Lists.
  8. Consistent with faculty and staff creating and managing their own mailing list email accounts, IT Services is responsible for observing the following practices for casual access requests, disclosure, advertising, and privacy:
    • IT Services will refer all Login access requests to the current List Owners.
    • IT Services has a responsibility to not disclose mailing lists that have been created and designated as "Private". With the exception of a Class Mailing List index, under the control of List Owners, IT Services does not advertise mailing lists. IT Services may advertise mailing lists that are owned and managed by IT Services.
    • IT Services has no lookup facility for, 1) the names of List Owners or 2) the purposes for which mailing lists were created. If List Owners wish the campus to be informed about their mailing lists, they will create them as non-confidential and advertise them on their faculty, department, office, or personal web pages.

Confidentiality and Privacy

IT Services respects the ownership of the List Owner [account holder] and privacy of email communications, including personal communications in the archives, local or external links to private teaching or research materials, and email address of subscribers, editors, and alternate List Owners that you may wish to keep private.

The following confidentiality and privacy statement is in effect for IT Services staff who, on the rare occasion, may be authorized by a Dean or Department Head to use the LstMgr-L mailing list to provide support:


Membership on LSTMGR-L provides you with access to list headers, private archives, and private links to personal documents of mailing lists at Queen's for the sole purpose of supporting List Owners. During the course of performing your job, you may be exposed at times to confidential, sensitive, and private material that you would otherwise not have access to view. If you feel uncomfortable with this kind of access, do NOT use this mailing list. Refer diagnostic problems to another member of the team.

Using membership on LSTMGR-L to read archives of mailing lists without the expressed permission and request of "the List Owner" for a support problem is an abuse of this privilege.

Conduct: All individuals are expected to be professional and maintain confidentiality at all times. Situations in violation of this policy include, but are not limited to:

  1. "Loose" talk about the purpose of mailing lists, archive material, or membership composition.
  2. Allowing unauthorized access or sharing acquired information during the course of your job with other co-workers who do not have a need to have this information.
  3. Accessing information that you do not have the authority or permission to access in the course of your job, or do not have a need to know to carry out or perform your job.
  4. Printing and discarding mailing list information, including in particular names and email address, in public non-secure trash.



In the rare event when the List Owner is not reachable, an ITAdmin Rep may be authorized by Human Resources/Dean/Department Head to contact the IT Services main office to change an employee's email password for the purpose of gaining access to mailing lists the employee manages. To avoid this eventuality, IT Services strongly advises that business critical mailing lists contain a generic email address as List Owner and that the password for this email address be stored in a secure area in the department until access is needed in the future.

In the rare event when the List Owner is no longer a Queen's University employee and no longer reachable, the appropriate Department Head may submit a request in writing to transfer a mailing list. These requests would be submitted to the Mailing List Management Team at LstMgr@QueensU.Ca. These requests should not be considered routine or as a legitimate alternative to responsible mailing list management.

IT Services reserves the right to amend any of the Support Options above from time to time in its sole discretion by posting the change on this web page. Support changes and unexpected service interruptions will be sent to List Owners via the OWNERS-L list, ITAdmin Reps via the ITADMIN-L list.

Advice on the Reliability and Confidentiality of Email

As mailing lists become more pervasive as a means of communication while performing our daily tasks, it is important to remember that email should never be viewed as a 100% reliable and confidential means of immediate communication.

  • Reliability Issues of reliability refer both to the sender as well as the recipient of email and are influenced by the sender's machine and software, the network used to deliver the mail and the recipient's machine and software, none of which should be assumed to be 100% functional 365 days a year. Non-technical issues of reliability refer to the recipient's knowledge that important or critical information is forthcoming and that they read their email frequently, both of which, should not be assumed on the part of the sender of email.
  • Confidentiality Issues of confidentiality refer both to the sender as well as the recipient of email and are influenced by the sender's habits (printing confidential mail and leaving it around), the integrity of the networks used to deliver mail and the recipient's habits (leaving confidential mail up on their screen for others to view), none of which should be assumed to be perfect and without flaw.

Caution: Forwarding email to an off-campus address has resulted in the loss of important messages. Please note that you may be held responsible for information that is lost as a result of forwarding your email to an email address outside the campus network.