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Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

Owners FAQ

This FAQ section is designed to cover some of the more specific questions we get asked that are not necessarily covered in other 'List Owners' pages.

Email Addresses and Passwords

Q.Why does LISTSERV say I'm not an owner?

A. If your email address has changed, LISTSERV will not recognise you as the list owner, and messages from you will be rejected.

See next question.

Q. My email address has changed - what shall I do?

A. You will need to get your email address in the list configuration changed. This can be done by your co-owner(s), if you have any, or by contacting the JiscMail Helpline.

You will also need to register a new password. Go to and do this from the link on the left of the page.

Q. Can I use my home email to be a list owner?

A. Yes, just add your home address as another owner, and then you can administer your list from either home or work. You will need to regsiter a password with both addresses.

To avoid duplication of admin messages, you can choose to make one of your addresses a 'Quiet' owner. Format as in the following example:

Owner= Quiet:

Please remember that at least one list owner must have an '' address.

Inappropriate Use of the Group

Q. How can I stop junk mail (spam) reaching my list?

A. If you have a Private list, only your members will be able to post to it.
However, if yours is a Public list, you can stop the majority of spam getting to your list by setting the 'Send= ' option to 'Public,Confirm,Non-Member' in the list configuration. Non-members trying to post to the list will receive a confirmation email requiring them to click on a link in order to confirm that their email is valid. Since the vast majority of spam is sent by automated processes, the confirmation message would not be acted upon and the message not get through.

Q. Are people allowed to send adverts and promotional message to my list?

Promotional messages should only be posted if they are related to the subject or purpose of that list, and are likely to benefit or interest list members. However, as list owner, it is up to you to decide what is appropriate for your list.

Q. Someone has sent an undesirable message to my list - what should I do?

A. If a message is sent to your list that you, or another subscriber, feels is offensive in some way, email the subscriber off-list to let them know that you feel their message is inappropriate. You may find it helpful to quote relevant sections of the JISCMail Guidelines on Etiquette and Service Use Policies.
If you would like further help or advice, please contact the JiscMail Helpline

Q. Can I read messages before they reach the list?

A. Yes, if you choose to have a moderated / edited list. See List Moderation.

Q. Does JISCMail monitor all the messages sent to lists?

A. We do not monitor postings sent to JISCMail lists. However, the JISCMail team is able to look at any message sent to any list, whether Public or Private, but we only do so if there is a particular problem.

Helping List Members

Q. Why people having difficulty leaving my list?

A. If someone's email address has changed, JISCMail will no longer recognise them as a list member and they will not be able to remove themselves. You will need to do it for them, or ask the JiscMail Helpline to do it.

Q. How do I encourage people to talk more?

A. You may need to initiate discussions from time to time. If the list has a small membership, perhaps you could look at promoting the list to others who may be interested in having a common forum for discussion.

Q. Can I stop people sending attachments/HTML to my list?

A. You can block attachments, other than those in plain text, by specifying 'Attachments= No' within the list configuration.

To block HTML postings, use the line 'Misc-Options= DISCARD_HTML'

Q. How do I add subscribers to my list?

A. Choose 'List Management' from the menu bar at the top of your List Management page, then choose 'Subscriber Management' from the drop down menu. Enter details of the new subscriber in the 'Add Subscriber' box. From this page you can also search for an existing subscriber to edit their details, or 'Review' all subscribers and see the result in a browser window or have it sent to you in an email. If you wish to add many new subscribers in one go, then use the' Bulk Operations' tab in 'Subscriber Management' and follow the instructions.

Q. How can I let my subscribers know how to leave the list?

A. An easy way to do this is to use the top/bottom banner template facility, as any text within this template will be added to the top or bottom of every message sent to the list.
To create one go to the 'List Management' drop down menu and choose 'Customization' then 'Mail Templates'. Choose 'All Templates' in the 'Select Template Category' drop down box and type 'Bottom Banner' then click the 'Search' button. Choose 'Bottom banner for plain text postings [BOTTOM_BANNER]' from the 'Select Template:' drop down box and click' Edit Template'. Add a message into the 'Contents:' area and click on 'Update' to save your changes. You could give the link here to the join/leave list section. Top and bottom banners are also a useful way to pass on hints and tips to list subscribers.

Being a List Owner

Can I hand my list over to someone else?

A. Yes. If you are the only list owner, you should find a new owner, possibly by emailing to your list and asking for someone with an type email address to volunteer.

Q. Can I have more than one list owner?

A. Yes, the list can have as many owners as you like and some JISCMail lists have several co-owners. Having more than one owner can be useful to cover during breaks so that there is adequate coverage for any list admin tasks that need to be performed.
You can add owners via the List Configuration or ask the helpline to do this for you.

To do this yourself, go to your List Management interface and choose the 'List Management' option from the menu bar at the top of your page. Select 'List Configuration, then 'Manual List Configuration' from the drop-down menu. Copy the entire 'Owner= ' line and paste it below the exisitng line, then edit it with the new owner's details. Click the 'Submit' button to save your changes. The new owner will need to have a password so that they can log in and manage the list. They should register this from the link on the left of the page at

Q. I am going on holiday for a month - can I suspend email from my list?

A. If you're taking a lengthy break, messages from the list and error reports will build up in your mailbox.
As a list owner you cannot suspend admin mail, but you can still set your subscription to the 'Nomail' option so that you will not receive normal postings to the list. However, if you have arranged for someone else to act as owner and look after your list, you could ask them to (temporarily) remove you as owner and then reinstate you on your return.

Q. Why am I not receiving messages posted to my list?

A. List owners will not receive postings unless they are subscribed to the list.

Q. How do I store/organise files in my list Files Area

A. Choose 'File Store' from the 'List Management' drop down menu within the list management dashboard. This will allow you to perform various functions related to the management of your list’s Files Area.

Q. How do I link direct to a document within my File Store?

A. Use the URL
where 'listname' is the name of your list and 'docname.doc' is the name of your document.

Q. How can I create a survey on my list?

A. Instructions can be found at:

Q. How can I change the wording for the moderation interface on my list?

A. 1) Enter List Management > Customization > Web Template for the list
2) In the Search Template field enter TEXT-MODERATION and click the Search button
3) From the Select Template dropdown menu, select Moderation Text [TEXT-MODERATION] and click Edit Template button
4) Find for the text you want to change, edit it and click update button to save the changes (Only change the text after the variable name. Variables name begins with a T- and are in capital letters e.g. T-MSGSENTO).

On the Web

Q. Can I remove a message from the archives?

If you need to remove a message from the list, you may do so by going to the relevant page within your archives and clicking on the 'dustbin' icon to the right hand side of the posting.

Q. Can I create my own web pages?

A. You can create web pages and place them in your list's file area. They will be listed in the same manner as other files.

Q. How do I link to another web page from my list homepage?

A. This is done via 'Customization/Web Templates' using the 'OBJECT-A0-HOMEPAGE-LINK' template.

Error Messages

Q. I am receiving several messages a day - what should I do?

A. When you receive your daily error report, you should remove all addresses that have 'Permanent Errors'. This way your report shouldn't get too unmanageable.

See the Error Messages section.