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Section 8 Where to Go From Here

Section 8 Where to Go From Here
Now that you have reviewed your list and manipulated it, you probably have questions, concerns, and ideas on how to use the many different features of LISTSERV. List owners can be very involved with their lists, or can take a “back seat” and let their subscribers and/or editors and moderators do most of the posting. List owners are responsible for setting the rules and enforcing the policies of the list, so although you may not actively participate in posting messages, you do have a very important role.
8.1 List Owners’ Responsibilities
A list owner is entrusted with its members’ personal information (email address and name), and this carries certain responsibilities with regards to ensuring privacy and security.
You must determine what level of security is most appropriate for your list. For example, a closed family list, where all members know each other personally may be set to Review=Private (any list member may get the list of all subscribed addresses), but any list with subscriptions open to the public should be set to Review=Owners. A hobby discussion list may operate with relaxed security and deal with transgressions as they occur, but a commercial newsletter must have very tight security, as any breach will reflect poorly on the company’s reputation. On an open discussion list, subscribers are aware that the discussion may sometimes stray off-topic, whereas on a moderated list they expect that you will exercise more control over what gets posted. On a one-way list, subscribers will hold you responsible for every posting.
As the owner of the list, it is your responsibility to:
Understand your list’s configuration.
Let subscribers know what they expect from the list when they sign up.
Help subscribers subscribe and sign off.
Assist subscribers when they have difficulties with the list.
Ensure that the list abides by the site’s appropriate use policy and applicable laws (for example, disallow the propagation of copyrighted materials not belonging to the sender), and any additional restrictions imposed by the site administrators.
Prevent abuse of the list by third parties, to the extent possible. For example, always require subscription confirmations on open lists, prevent outside access to the subscriber email addresses (Review=Owner), and require confirmation of all postings to one-way lists (Send=…,Confirm).
Receive and review all mail sent to the listname-request address. This address is publicized as the way to get in touch with the list owner when a subscriber or potential subscriber requires assistance. When LISTSERV receives mail at this address, it forwards it to all “non-quiet” list owners. List owners must accept this mail, as it might represent signoff requests from subscribers who are unable to remove themselves on their own. Ignoring such requests would make you a spammer. Unfortunately, it also means that some spam can be sent to list owners through LISTSERV. It is irresponsible to send complaints to your LISTSERV provider and your LISTSERV site’s upstream provider about spam sent through the listname-request, as it will only damage your own access to the list as well as your subscribers’ and those of other lists on the same server, without affecting the original spammer in any way.
8.2 Learning More About LISTSERV
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler."
— Albert Einstein
LISTSERV is a very feature-rich application. In this Introductory guide, we have striven to keep the explanations as simple as possible while keeping them accurate. We did not want to sacrifice some of the more complex information that, in our experience, have found to be useful to new list owners.
As you become more familiar with using LISTSERV, you will naturally want to take advantage of the many other features contained within the program. LISTSERV can be linked to a database and use database fields to create messages customized to each individual subscriber. Subscriber demographics or other information stored in the database can be systematically selected for the creation of highly personalized and targeted messages.
Another useful but complex feature is LISTSERV’s system for handling errors with problematic email deliveries called “bounces”. LISTSERV automatically processes and decodes the majority of the common error bounces (undeliverable messages returned to the sender). The list owner and LISTSERV maintainer have the flexibility to define the parameters of the bounce handling. For instance, LISTSERV can be set to remove a subscriber from a list after a specified number of messages are bounced.
There are many resources for learning about and applying LISTSERV features.
L-Soft’s Web site, has links to a glossary, FAQs, technical white papers, and downloadable user’s manuals. Click on the INFO link on L-Soft’s home page to access these resources.
Most LISTSERV sites provide an email address for assistance. If you do not know the email address to use for your LISTSERV site, you can always reach the LISTSERV Site Maintainer at listserv-request@listserv-server where listserv-server is the domain name of the LISTSERV server (for example:
Another source of information and help are the many public LISTSERV mailing lists where list owners and site maintainers exchange ideas and assist each other:
LSTOWN-L is a discussion forum for list owners whose mailing lists run on L-Soft’s LISTSERV product.
LSTSRV-L is a discussion forum for site maintainers who administer LISTSERV.
The LISTSERV-LITE public list is the support channel for L Soft's LISTSERV Lite product. LISTSERV Lite offers an extremely stable but competitively priced (and in some cases, free) alternative for sites with small workloads.
LISTSERV Developers
LISTSERV application developers' forum.
For technical material on the protocols for email, see the many “Request for Comments” documents (RFCs) available on the Web. These documents explain the rules that email and other software products must follow in order to work cooperatively with each other on the Internet. Understanding the rules is often helpful for troubleshooting problems.
Table 8-1 RFC’s and RFC Web Sites
1123 Requirements for Internet Hosts Application and Support
2635 DON’T SPEW: A Set of Guidelines for Mass Unsolicited Mailings and Postings (spam*)