MSU IT Techbase

MSU Listserv FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - TB2123

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Please Note: As another step in enhancing our customer experience, MSU IT Services is consolidating all technology help information into one repository. This process will begin Friday, April 15, 2016, with MSU IT moving all public facing documents to the MSU IT Service Desk application. The service will be retired in the future and replaced with a new help portal. More information will be shared as timelines are confirmed.

LISTSERV is a mailing-list management product of L-Soft International (see the L-soft web site for a detailed description). IT Services runs LISTSERV on a system ( devoted to this purpose. There is a one-time charge of $10 to set up a mailing list on this system, plus a monthly charge which is $1 per month for most lists (details below). If you are interested in setting up a list you will need to fill out the form as described below.

How do I obtain a listserv at MSU?

The MSU Mailing List interactive application form is available online
(you must log in with your MSU NetID and password).

To set up a mailing list, please fill out the form linked above, using a University Account Number for the monthly charges. Further info on listserv eligibility and associated costs is listed below.

Who is eligible for a listserv at MSU?

Any individual or group with an MSU University Account Number is eligible to obtain a listserv through MSU.

Are there costs associated with listserv services at MSU?

Yes. There is an initial, one time setup fee of $10, plus a monthly fee billed to a university account. The monthly fee is $1 if the list uses no more than 100 megabytes for storage of archives and digests. If more storage is needed it must be purchased in 100-megabyte increments, for $1 per 100 megabytes per month.

Determining your disk quota

We require a minimum disk quota of one hundred megabytes per list, but you may want a larger quota if you plan to keep extensive archives. (Archives are copies of old postings which are kept on the server.) For most lists, one hundred megabytes is sufficient to hold several months of archives, so if you are starting a new list and are unsure how much disk you will need, you will probably want to start with the minimum and increase it later. If you are moving an existing list to our system you probably already have a good idea of how much space you will need. Your disk quota must be a whole number of megabytes.

What happens after the form is submitted

You will be notified by email when your list has been set up, generally within 7-10 business days from application submission. If this is your first list, you will also be provided with a few instructions to get you started. We encourage you to view the official list-owner manual online on L-Soft's web page.

How do I subscribe to a listserv that I am interested in?

To subscribe to a list hosted on the server, email and include the following command line in the body of the message (not the Subject):

SUBSCRIBE listname

How can I remove myself from a listserv?

It is important to note that requests for removal from an MSU listserv should never be sent to the list, via the "reply-to" address; this would only result in everyone on the list seeing your message, and not the desired result of being removed from the list.

To remove yourself from an MSU listserv on the server, email and include the following command line in the text of the message:

UNSUBSCRIBE listname (The name of the list is the portion preceding

An alternative that works well for unsubscribing to several or all lists is to log in to and use the "Subscriber's Corner" as follows:

  1. Log in to http:/ (Most list subscribers will not have used this interface - if this is your first time logging in to you must set a password.)
  2. Click to select the "Subscriber's Corner".
  3. Click the checkbox(es) to select the list(s) you want to unsubscribe from.
  4. Click on the drop-down menu at the bottom of the page and select Unsubscribe.
  5. Click the Submit button.

If neither of the above methods work, then you might have to email or contact the list owner or someone in the technology section of the organization that sponsors the list in order to be removed from the list.

How do I remove a list no longer used on

If a specific list is no longer active and should be removed from, the owner of the list should contact IT Services Support at (517) 432-6200 to request the list be removed.

Avoiding spoofed listserv messages

Spammers will often attempt to spoof messages sent to mailing lists maintained by IT Services. These spoofed messages may urge people to visit a particular website; these sites will usually have forms that ask for a sender's e-mail address. In effect, those sites offer an open relay for spoofing mail from any address.

To protect against this form of spoofing, LISTSERV offers a "confirm" feature. The option sends a message back to the address of the apparent sender with a special key. If the author does not reply with the key, the message is discarded.

If you are the owner of an announcement-only mailing list, you may wish to consider enabling this option. You can also select this option for certain other mailing lists if you want to avoid spoofing; however, every posting will require author confirmation.

To set the option:

  • Log into the mailing list management interface at http:/;
  • Click the Edit Configuration button;
  • Change this line: Send= Owners

    to look like this: Send= Owners, Confirm

  • Click the Save button.

Effective August 20, 2007, lists with unrestricted posting rules are required to utilize the "Confirm" option. This option requires a confirmation e-mail to be sent to the author of the message before a posting can be delivered. Lists with restricted posting rules are not mandated to use the "Confirm" option at this time.

Why is the Confirmation option mandated?

Spammers will often attempt to forge messages sent to mailing lists maintained by IT Services. These forged messages may urge people to visit a particular website; these sites will usually have forms that ask for a sender's e-mail address. In effect, those sites offer an open relay for forging mail from any address. Spammers virtually always forge their email from an address other than their own.

The Confirm option makes this much more difficult. To protect against this form of spoofing, public LISTSERVs that are not currently using the "Confirm" feature, must now do so for their own protection against spammers.

Can subscribers send file attachments?

Small attachments to a message are allowed by However, please note that listserv messages are not designed to distribute large attachments.

We recommend that users post large or multiple attachments on the web and only include a link to the file(s) within the message.

For example, Sparty could use to upload the file "downloadthis.txt" to his web folder and then point to the file's location in his message by including the web address: in the text.

The MSU File Depot service provides another way to easily provide access to larger files.

How can I check my quota use?

To check how much of your listserv quota is in use:

  1. Log in to
  2. Click on the List Management dropdown menu and select LISTSERV Command.
  3. Type show quota and click on the Enter Command button.

How can I change my list from public to private?

Follow these steps:

  • Log into the Listserv web interface and click the "Mailing list management interface (list owners only)" link.
  • Select your list, then click the Configuration button.
  • Find the line that says "Send=Public."
  • Change "Public" to "Private" and click the Update button.

What should I do if I think my listserv messages are being delayed?

Phone IT Services Support at 517-432-6200 so we can check into the delay.

What is "Expert Mode"?

Expert mode, set as a user preference, provides additional capabilities and functionality with reduced display of tutorial text, etc. In addition, certain pages may contain advanced options that are not available with the Basic mode. The Expert mode is only recommended for those users who are very familiar with LISTSERV or who need access to more advanced options.

For most administrators, the default "Basic" mode is the best choice.

Can I access my archived messages? What can I do with my archives?

Yes, if the listserv is set to save archives (aka notebooks), you can access those files when logged in to A listserv admin can also delete unneeded archives to reduce quota use. For more information, see TB22016-Working with Listserv Archives.

Can I change the name of my list?

When a department or program name changes, or for any other reason, a listserv owner may want to change the name of the list. Technically, once a list is assigned a given name, it is permanently assigned. Instead of changing the name of an existing list, we will create a new one, move the associated records of subscribed users, archives, and such, and set the old listserv address to temporarily forward to the new address.

Accommodating a name change request is subject to the same set-up charge as any new listserv. Contact IT Services Support to file a request for a name change. The request should include the list owner's name and contact information as well as the list name change details.

Listserv help

When choosing options for your list, keep in mind that (except for the name of the list) you can change any of them later. If you need further assistance, e-mail You can also contact IT Services Support via this contact form or by phone (517-432-6200) for assistance.

Keywords for this Document

listserv, e-mail list, frequently asked questions, list server, list serv, faq listserv

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Date Last Modified: 4/22/2016 3:23:18 PM

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