E-mail Discussion Lists

A One-Stop Guide to Subscribing, Unsubscribing, and Searching

© 2000 Walt Howe
(last revised May 27, 1998)

The following table lists some of the commands you can use with various types of automated email discussion lists. Some points to remember:

  • In each case, they are sent to an address like listserv@address or majordomo@address. They are never sent to listname@address, which is used to send messages, not commands. In other words, to Unsubscribe from HELP-NET, you would send to listserv@vm.temple.edu, not to HELP-NET@vm.temple.edu.
  • Leave the Subject blank and never add a signature block to the command you send. The commands are sent to a computer, not a person. All the computer looks at is the body of the message, and it may get confused if there is anything but a command there.
  • The words in italics below should be replaced with the actual name indicated.

ListservListprocMailbaseMailservMajordomo
Subscribe SUBSCRIBE listname Your Name SUBSCRIBE listname Your Name JOIN listname YourID @address SUBSCRIBE listname Your Name SUBSCRIBE listname
UnsubscribeSIGNOFF listname UNSUB listname LEAVE listnameUNSUB listname UNSUB listname
Temporary
Stop/
Restart
SET listname NOMAIL/
SET listname MAIL
SET listname MAIL POSTPONE/
SET listname MAIL ACK
(or NOACK
or DIGEST)
Not availableNot availableNot available
List ArchivesINDEX listnameINDEX listname INDEX listnameINDEX listnameINDEX listname
Retrieve FileGET listname filenameGET listname filename SEND listname filenameSEND listname filename GET listname filename
Search ArchivesSee instructions SEARCH listname "keywords" Visit the web siteNot available Not available
Search SubscribersREVIEW listname REVIEW listnameSEND/LIST listname WHO
listname
Get HelpHELP
listname
HELP
listname
HELP listname HELP
listname
Get List InfoINFO
listname
INFO
listname
INFO
listname
INFO
listname

Not all lists respond to computer commands. Lists that tell you to send a subscription to an address that ends with "-request" or "-owner" generally do not respond by computer. All subscribes, unsubscribes, and other functions in that case are handled by sending well-written, clearly defined e-mail requests to the list moderator, not to the list.


Related E-mail Discussion List Questions:


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