Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

FAQs for Mailing List Owners (LISTSERV)

ITS has gathered a listing of frequently asked questions. If you have a question that is not found on the list, please fill out the online help form or call us at 613 533 6666.

Note: Subscribers to mailing list who need help should contact the list owner by sending email to where listname is the name of the mailing list. For example

Information Common to Class Mailing Lists and General Discussion Mailing Lists

Q. Who is allowed to create a mailing list?

Queen's continuing staff members and faculty are allowed to create a mailing list. ITS does not provide mailing list services to students, student clubs or to members of the Internet community.

Q. How do I create a mailing list?

Follow these instructions to create a list:

  1. Review the  Policy for Establishing Mailing Lists at Queen's University to determine if the service is available to you and other information.
  2. If you are eligible to create a mailing list, select the appropriate form for either a Class Mailing List or a General Discussion Mailing List.
Q. How do I set my Mailing List (LISTSERV) password?
  1. Complete the  Set/Register Your Listserv Password form.
  2. A confirmation email  will be sent to your email address.  Follow the instructions for confirming your password.
Q. My LISTSERV password works on the login page, but when I use it to request a classlist update it says that it is invalid.

For some reason we have not been able to identify, when updating class lists, your LISTSERV password needs to have the same case for all letters.  Your password may contain numbers, letters and symbols, but the letters in it must share the same case, either all upper- or all lower-case letters.

Q. Can ITS tell me which mailing lists exists and who the list owners are?

No. A mailing list is personal and confidential and belongs to the person who created it. If list owners wish the campus to be informed about their mailing lists, they will create them as non-confidential and/or advertise them on their faculty, department, office, or personal web pages. We recommend you look there first, or contact the department.

Q. My mailing list subscribers are not getting messages. Why?

The list subscribers may not be receiving messages for the following reasons:

  • Subscriber list is missing entries.
  • LISTSERV system is down.
  • Email system is down.
  • Internet provider is experiencing network problems

Check the ITS web site for notification of any problem that could be interfering with the service.

Q. How do I delete a mailing list?
Q. I've taken over a mailing list, how do I retrieve the password?
There is no such thing as a mailing list password. The previous owner must transfer the list to you by adding the email address used by your LISTSERV account to the list configuration as a list owner.

Contact the current list owner by sending an email to, where Listname-L is the name of the mailing list. For example, if the mailing list is MICR-987-L, address your email to

Once you have been added as an owner you will need to sign in with your email address. If you already own other lists you will use the same password. If this is the first mailing list you have owned you will need to create a password to use when you log in. Note, this is not your NetID password.
A link to the Set A Password form is here.

Q. How do I check my mailing list disk quota?
  1. Go to the
  2. If you are not already logged in, you will be prompted to log in.
  3. After login, a window will appear displaying disk quotas for all of your mailing lists that have a quota set. The display shows you how much disk space each list has and how much disk space each list has used so far.
Q. How Do I Get Help?

You will need to contact the IT Support Centre using one of the following methods:

  • Phone the IT Support Centre at 613-533-6666 (ext 36666) or
  • Submit an issue using the online help form
Q. I am the editor of a mailing list and the amount of SPAM being sent to my list for approval is increasing.  Is there any way to cut down on the amount of SPAM I am receiving?

Yes. Use the Non-Member parameter at the end of the Send= list header on an Edited mailing list to force a confirmation for non-subscribers only.

Example: Send= Editor,Hold,Confirm,Non-Member Editor=

Q. Can I change the name of my mailing list?

Unless there is a good reason for doing so, the non-trivial practice of changing a listname is discouraged because of the consequences. It is not possible to change the name of a mailing list as one would change the name, for example, of a file on a PC.

It is possible to change the Title, by logging into the list and changing the first line in the list headers and this will be be reflected in the Sender field of email. However, the actual email address or userid portion of the address will not change. If it is necessary to change the mailing list Listname, the standard practice is as follows with cautions:

  • Create a new mailing list with the new Listname.
  • Once the new mailing list has been created, select a date for the change over from the old list to the new list. Announce this date at least one full week ahead of time on your old list. Before you do, ensure that any subscribers set to NOMAIL, have been set back to MAIL, else they will not receive your message. Instructions for doing this are in the List Owner's manual.
  • On the selected date, add the subscribers from the old mailing list to the new mailing list and send out a notice that the change has taken place and the new email address should be used. Also include the options in effect for all subscribers (See on the the consequences below regarding lost options).
  • On the selected date, it is important not to delete your old mailing list for at least another 24 hours in th event that some of your subscribers are receiving email in DIGEST mode. They will not get your notice until the next day as Digests are typically distributed at midnight.

Below are two common consequences of changing the name of a mailing list:

  • When you add subscribers to the new mailing list, they will lose all of their subscriber settings (Subscription date and distribution settings, e.,g., DIGEST mode, MAIL/NOMAIL, etc). The options that will be in effect are those in the Default-options= list header of the new list, so you may want to edit this to accommodate the settings of the majority on the old list. You may reset the distribution settings of subscribers, but it is not possible to edit the new subscription date.
  • If your old mailing list had archives under the old name, these will be lost as they will not be accessible under the new mailing list.

Other consequences depend upon how your mailing list is currently set up. For this reason, before moving subscribers from one mailing list to another mailing list, please review the relevant sections in the List Owner's Manual.

Q. What are moderated lists and how can I use them?

Postings to a moderated mailing list are first sent to an Editor or Moderator for approval. Once an editor or moderator approves a message, the message is then distributed to all members of the mailing list. This option was available in earlier versions of LISTSERV, but has a new Web Interface icon as of version 15.0.

The new web interface allows editors and moderators to review, approve or reject a posting to a mailing list.

There can be a single editor or multiple editors that are defined by the Editor= List Header. The Moderator= List Header simply rotates messages to be approved among many moderators to share the approval process on busy mailing lists.

To set up List Moderation
To set up List Moderation, you must Login to your mailing list and change/insert the following two List Headers, respectively: the Send= and the Editor=

Numerous settings are available and you should read about all of them to decide which settings are appropriate for your list. Please review Chapter 6, Moderating and Editing Lists, of the List Owner's Manual.

The most frequently used settings are:

Send= Editor,Hold,Confirm


where is your list owner email address.

  • Login to the mailing list you wish to set up moderation for.
  • Click on the List Management tab on the top left banner and select List Configuration ---> Manual List Configuration.
  • Edit the existing Send= List Header with the parameters you have chosen.
  • Insert Editor= or Moderator= lines containing the email addresses of the editors or moderators you wish to use.
  • Click on the Submit button to save your new settings.

To Moderate a List

As soon as you Login, a clickable Moderator Icon will inform you if you have any messages waiting to be approved. You can click on the Edit Table link on the icon to customize your list of moderated mailing lists.

Q. What is the List Wizard?

The List Wizard is a collection of Web forms that allow you to change the list headers of your mailing list using pull-down menus and other graphical interface methods.

The List Wizard offers 3 ways to configure your mailing list:

  • Task-Oriented Wizard
  • Categories of keywords
  • Alphabetical Keyword Listing

For a full description of the List Wizard select List Configuration Wizard from the List Management --> List Configuration menu tabs. Click on the question mark icon in the top right hand corner for context sensitive help.

Q. Managing Subscribers - the new Subscriber Reporting pages

The new web interface provides a method for a list owner to obtain reports on subscriptions and subscription settings. The report generated provides the means to change subscription settings or delete the subscriptions for one or more subscribers through this interface.

You can still add, delete and review you list as you did in previous versions.

For more detailed help click on the List Management tab and select List Reports--> Subscriber Reports. Click on the question mark icon in the top right hand corner for context sensitive help.

Class Mailing Lists

Q. How do I populate a Class Mailing List?

To populate a new or existing Class Mailing List, follow these instructions:

  1. Open the form Update an Existing Class Mailing List for a New Term.
  2. Complete the form.  You can populate up to 10 Class Lists at once.
  3. Click the Submit Update Request button.
Q. How long does it take to get a Class Mailing List?

On average, it can take up to 7 working days for mailing lists to be created. You will be notified as soon as your Class Mailing List is ready.

Q. How can I find out what Class Lists I have?

Complete the What Lists Do I Own? form.  If you use more than one email address (i.e., & as a List Owner, you will need to complete the form for each email address. 

Q. How can I get access to a Class List owned by someone else who is not teaching the course this term?

If you do not know who owns the Class List, send an email to: (where listname is the name of the list,
for example

Introduce yourself and explain the reason for your request (e.g. that you are teaching the course this term and need to use the class mailing list, or that you are managing class lists for this department, office or school) and ask them to add you as an owner of the class mailing list.

Q.  Why can't ITS make me a List Owner of a Class Mailing List in my department?

ITS only provides hardware and software to enable faculty and staff to create and manage their own Mailing Lists accounts.  Therefore, ITS has no legitimate means by which we can login and add new list owners to mailing lists.  Like every other department on campus, ITS can only add list owners to mailing lists that we own and manage ourselves.

For more detailed information regarding the privacy and confidentiality of mailing list accounts and recommendations for access by non-List Owners, please view the section on ITS responsibilities in the document titled Policy for Creating Mailing Lists at Queen's University .

Q.  Is there a way to stop students from signing off my Class Mailing List?

No, there is no way to prevent anyone from signing off a mailing list.

General Discussion Mailing Lists

Q. How do I populate a list?
Q. How can a department gain access to a mailing list if the only list owner has left Queen's and is not reachable?

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  These requests should not be considered routine or as a legitimate alternative to responsible mailing list management.

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 Support Centre to change an employee's email password for the purpose of gaining access to mailing lists the employee manages for the department.  This is necessary because when you attempt to change the password for a mailing list, a confirmation email is sent to the email address requesting the password change.

To avoid this eventuality, ITS 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.

For more detailed information regarding the privacy and confidentiality of mailing list accounts and recommendations for access by non-list owners, please view the section on ITS responsibilities in the document titled Policy for Creating Mailing Lists at Queen's University.