JISCmail 2004

Page 5

Tips for List Owners

Topics by Pam Delaney


To use topics requires a fair amount of experience as a list owner and a good understanding of the working of a mailing list by the members.  It can only be of use to members who do not have their personal settings set to either Digest or Nomail.

List topics provide a way to run a mailing list where several sub-topics are being discussed in parallel but some subscribers are only interested in a subset of the topics. For instance, a working group might have benchmarks, meetings, news and beta-tests type of postings.

The list owner could add the following line to the header configuration

Topics= Benchmarks,Meetings,News,Beta-tests

[Through the Topics= keyword, the list owner can define up to 23 topics for the list. If necessary, you may use multiple Topics= lines in your header in order to fit all of your topics in.]

You may also add a default topic line to your header configuration, which allows you to predefine some general topics as a starter for new members.

i.e.     Default-topics = Meetings

As the list owner you may change the name of a topic without having to do anything about your members subscription.  What you cannot do is re-order the topics. Nor can you delete a topic without replacing it with a  comma i.e.

Topics= Benchmarks,Meetings,,Beta-tests

Some words are reserved and cannot be defined as a topic, these are - All, None, Re, Other and Others


Members topics can be changed via ‘join/leave or change setting’ on  the list archive page or by the set command in the form

Quiet set LISTNAME topics: Meetings,Benchmark

In the same way topics can be changed by using the + or – symbols, i.e.

Quiet set LISTNAME topics: +Meetings, -Benchmarks

This would add Meetings to a members list of topics and remove Benchmarks

Subject: Bench: This is the subject 

The posting would be sent to all who have Benchmarks defined.  If the subject line reads:-

Subject: Be: This is the subject

The posting would be sent to Other as Be could be either Benchmark or Beta-test

Members can now choose from which of these topics they wish to be receive postings. They can choose a selection, All or Other.

When a posting is made either one or more topics can be added to the subject line.i.e.

Subject: Meetings,Benchmarks:  This is the subject.

This posting will be sent to all who have both Meetings and Benchmarks defined. Listserv will also accept a certain amount of abbreviation.  If the subject line reads:-

Issue 5


Feb/March 2004