[LISTSERV logo] [Online documentation]

L-Soft international, Inc.

Site Manager's Operations Manual


LISTSERV®, version 1.8d

5 May 2000

Revision 2

Appendix D: Sample Boilerplate Files

So-called "boilerplate" files are handy for list owners who find themselves answering the same questions over and over again. Usually these questions refer to basic LISTSERV usage. You can save yourself a lot of time by keeping files on-line such as the ones below to cut and paste into replies. Feel free to edit these to suit your own tastes (or compose your own!).

(Be sure to insert the appropriate list names and LISTSERV hosts as required.)

D.1. Subscription requests sent to the list

LISTSERV subscription requests need to be sent to the LISTSERV address rather than to the list itself. You do this by sending mail to LISTSERV@host with the command

SUB listname Your Name

as the body of the message. If you are unfamiliar with LISTSERV and its associated commands, I suggest that you add the commands


as additional lines of your message. LISTSERV will then send you a file containing a General Introduction to Revised LISTSERV that will give you some instruction on the service and a Quick Reference Card of the various commands.

Thanks for your interest. If you have trouble subscribing with this method, please let me know and I will attempt to help.

[if you have Subscription= Open,Confirm you might want to add the following:]

Because LISTSERV verifies mailing paths for new subscribers (a process not implemented when the list administrator adds people manually), it is preferred that users subscribe themselves by the method outlined above.

D.2. User is sending other commands to the list, or to the *-request address for the list

On Sun, 20 Mar 1994 22:44:25 -0800 (PST) you said:

You need to redirect LISTSERV commands like the above (minus the double quotes by the way :)), to <listserv@host>. The *-request type addresses are for reaching the person that run the list.

[another version:]

You've sent mail that appears intended for a mailing list to one of the addresses used to reach the list owner. That is, rather than sending your mail to listname@host you've sent the note to OWNER-listname@host or listname-REQUEST@host. Please re-send the appended note to the list address if you haven't done so already.

----------- original message follows:

D.3. User isn't subscribed but complains that he's getting mail anyway

[Use this one after you have done an exhaustive search of the list and determined that the person simply isn't on the list. Typically the user is subscribed to a redistribution list and doesn't realize it.]

Unfortunately I can't unsubscribe you from listname because you aren't subscribed to listname@host. I have run a check to see if you might be subscribed under a slightly different network address and have not found anything.

There are a few possibilities you should look into. Are you getting a digest? Are you perhaps getting a redistributed copy of postings, possibly from a redistribution list? If you look at the mail headers, and there is an indication that you may be getting the postings from another source, you will have to ask the people that run the other source to remove you from their list.

D.4. User unsubscribed successfully but is still getting list mail

I've done a search of listname for a possible duplicate subscription for you and have not found anything. It's possible that the mail you are receiving was actually sent from listname before your unsubscribe request was processed. Depending on the routing, it could take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for all such messages to get through the network, so please be patient.

D.5. Quoted replies from user's mail client includes message headers in the mail body, causing them to be bounced to the list owner

[If you forward such messages to the list, or back to the sender, you can add the following at the beginning. I ran across this one in the CBAY-L mailing list archives, and edited it slightly.]

This message was sent to me from LISTSERV instead of the list. The original message included the entire message being replied to, including the mail headers. These headers in the body pointed to the list itself. LISTSERV has mail-loop avoidance code and when it sees headers that it thinks it generated itself, it bounces the message to the list owner. If your mail client does this, please remember to delete such "included header lines" from the body of your list replies.

------original message------

D.6. Asking a postmaster for help on a bounced address you've set to NOMAIL, with a cc: to the bounced address


Can you shed any light on the following error message? Please let me know what you find as I have removed the e-mail address from the mailing list in question and would like to restore service as soon as is feasible.


Aside to user: Should this note reach you (meaning that the mail delivery problems have been resolved), you can re-enable your mail service by sending mail to listserv@host with the command,

SET listname MAIL

D.7. You get a delivery error that doesn't specify which user account is causing the bounce


I received the appended mail delivery report from your system and need help isolating the e-mail address that is causing the error. That is, there are multiple recipients from your system on the list but the delivery error doesn't explicitly mention any of the users on the list. I'm including a list of subscribers from your system. If any of them are no longer valid, or aren't usable address for some other reason, please let me know.

---- list of e-mail address on the indicated list follows:

D.8. You've set a user to DIGEST because of bouncing mail and the user is asking why he is now getting the digest

I received a mail delivery error for your address and issued a

SET listname DIGEST

on your behalf to minimize the number of bounce messages. I also sent a copy of the error I received to your postmaster (or the postmaster of the mail gateway that generated the error), asking for help. And since such delivery problems are often transient, I CC'd a copy of that note to your address, and included instructions for turning your mail back on. Apparently I didn't hear anything from your postmaster, or he/she said not to turn your mail back on until the problem was resolved. If they had responded and said the problem was resolved, I would have set you back to MAIL..

The other possibility is that I received a mail message indicating that there was some temporary problem with your account. In that case, for example if you had exceeded your disk quota and couldn't receive any new mail, I would not have bothered your postmaster. I have a different form letter that I send when that happens. Again it explains what has occurred and includes instructions for re-enabling your mailing list subscription. But I only send that one to the address the list member. Either way, whatever was wrong has been corrected, and you'd probably like to start receiving mail again. So, here's how you can restore your mail service. If you have any problems doing so, please let me know and I'll help. But since I don't know which of the three mail service options you had chosen before, I can't do it for you without guessing. You can re-enable your mail service by sending mail to listserv@host with one of the following commands

SET listname MAIL
SET listname DIGEST (if you want digest-format mail)
SET listname INDEX (if you want digest-index-format mail)

in the *body* of the mail message. Please note that these settings are mutually exclusive, you can't choose more than one. :)

D.9. A sample "your list has been created" boilerplate

Mailing List Setup Confirmation

I have created the XXXXX-L list on LISTSERV.MYHOST.COM per your setup sheet.

If you are new to LISTSERV, you will probably want to download L-Soft’s Quick Start manual for list owners. Simply point your web browser to


and view online or choose the version appropriate for your word processor or viewer.

Formal documentation of list owner commands and other list ownership issues can be found in the List Owner's Manual, which is available at the URL


Per your list service agreement, support for your list is handled through a mailing list, LIST-SUPPORT@LISTSERV.MYHOST.COM. You have been added to that list. Please direct all support questions to the LIST-SUPPORT list.

You may also be interested in subscribing to the LSTOWN-L mailing list for LISTSERV list owners. To do so, send a mail message to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.NET with the command


in the body (not the subject) of the message. There are a number of extremely experienced LISTSERV list owners subscribed there who are more than willing to share their expertise. Don't hesitate to ask for help.

You now need to instruct LISTSERV to add personal passwords for the list owner account(s). These passwords are used to validate privileged commands (such as the PUT command for storing your list "header" on the server after making changes to it). This is done by sending mail from each account to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.MYHOST.COM with the command

PW ADD password

(again, "password" is whatever you want it to be) in the body of the message. LISTSERV will request confirmation of this operation; simply reply to the confirmation request with the word "ok".

Adding these passwords will considerably lessen the chance that someone will "spoof" mail from you to make changes on your list. It is very unlikely that this will happen, but it never hurts to be cautious. :)

Joe Smith
LISTSERV Maintainer

Go to the top of this document

Site Manager's Operations Manual for LISTSERV®
Appendix A: System Reference Library for LISTSERV® Version 1.8d
Appendix B: List Keyword Reference for LISTSERV® Version 1.8d
Appendix C: Site Configuration Keyword Reference
Appendix E: Related Documentation and Support
Appendix F: Acknowledgements