Ecartis Mailing List Manager Administration

This is a quick guide to list administration for list owners on the LNS ecartis server. As with the user commands, all interaction with ecartis is via mail messages, though a web interface may be added eventually.

Most of our lists are "closed", meaning subscription requires confirmation by a list admin and posting is only allowed by list subscribers. Posting is also allowed from the departmental subdomains of most of our collaborating institutions. Other posts will be referred to the list moderators for approval. Additional domains/hosts/users can be added to the "approved" list by the mailto:postmaster@mail.lns.cornell.edu?subject=ecartis%20cleo%20acl postmaster

For common actions such as approving subscriptions or posts to moderated lists, ecartis will send the list administrators or moderators a message that can be approved by simply replying, quoting the text of the message--so most requests are handled simply by replying to a message from ecartis. To initiate an action, the administrator sends a command block to ecartis, ecartis responds with an approval code, and the administrator finishes the transaction by replying to that message (the extra two steps are necessary to prevent forgeries). For example, to unsubscribe an address from the "testlist" list, a list admin would send a message like this:
// job
admin2 testlist
unsubscribe joe@example.com
// eoj
Ecartis would reply with a message like this:
// job
adminvfy testlist 37F1C6FC:58BB.1:ybxvznvfbabgnxharg
unsubscribe joe@example.com
// eoj
and the admin would reply, quoting the original message, to confirm the transaction. Note that you'll only need to do this for unsubscribe requests when the user is unable to unsubscribe himself for some reason. More than one command can be included in a block, and commands can be added to the adminvfy block returned by ecartis.

Admin status is controlled by the flags attached to a list subscriber--send the flags command to mailto:ecartis@mail.lns.cornell.edu?subject=flags ecartis@mail.lns.cornell.edu to see the whole set. Some of the more important flags are:

Flag Meaning
SUPERADMIN User is a list "super-administrator". Usually reserved for the list owner.
ADMIN User is a list administrator
CCERRORS Bounces will be sent to this admin
MODERATOR Unapproved posts will be sent to this user for approval
REPORTS Reports will be sent to this admin
The initial list owner will have all the flags listed above. Flags are set or cleared with the set and=unset= commands; flags for another user are set or cleared with the setfor and unsetfor commands. For example, to make a subscriber a list admin, the message might look like:
// job
admin2 testlist
setfor _user_@mail.lns.cornell.edu MODERATOR
setfor _user_@mail.lns.cornell.edu CCERRORS
setfor _user_@mail.lns.cornell.edu REPORTS
setfor _user_@mail.lns.cornell.edu ADMIN
// eoj
Note that one admin may not change the flags of another admin--only a superadmin can, and the SUPERADMIN flag can only be set by hand by the postmaster. A retiring admin may stop receiving errors and reports by clearing those flags:
// job
admin2 testlist
// eoj
Only a superadmin can remove the ADMIN and MODERATOR flags, but an admin can give up all privileges by unsubscribing and resubscribing.

To summarize the most common actions:
  • To create a new list, send mail to mailto:postmaster@mail.lns.cornell.edu?subject=new%20list%20request postmaster@mail.lns.cornell.edu. Include:
    • The list name; this should contain at least one dash or be longer than 8 characters; dashes are preferred to underscores as word separators.
    • A one line description of the list topic.
    • An initial list of list admins. [default: you]
    • Subscription policy: can anyone subscribe (open), or do subscriptions have to be approved by a list admin? [default: closed]
    • Reply-To: should reply-to be set to the sender (appropriate for some announcement lists), reply-to the list (discussion list), or reply-to a fixed address (other kinds of announcement lists)? [default: reply-to sender]
    • Should this list be archived to a local newsgroup and web page? [default: no]
    • An initial list of subscribers. [default: the list admins]

There are many other options--contact the postmaster if you have a requirement not covered in the list above.
  • To approve a subscription request, simply reply to the message ecartis sends you, quoting the body of the message.
  • To transfer a list, enable the admin flags for the new list owner as shown above; to bow out entirely from list administration, the old list owner should unsubscribe and resubscribe to the list (the new admin can actually do this, but that is a bug--only superadmins should be able to unsubscribe admins).
Topic revision: r3 - 29 May 2020, JamesPulver
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