Managing mailing lists¶
This document contains a description of how we manage a large set of community mailing lists, and how you can perform common operations required of a list owner or moderator.
Our list server is known as
lists.okfn.org, and can be visited on the web at
A mailing list called
widgets-discuss will have an email address of the form
firstname.lastname@example.org. List owners can always be contacted by
You can link to the
widgets-discuss email address directly at
https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/widgets-discuss (please note that this
particular link will not work, as we don’t – yet – have a widget discussion
List administrators and moderators¶
List administrators and moderators are responsible for the smooth operation of the list. Their tasks may include:
- Helping users who have difficulty subscribing to or unsubscribing from their lists.
- Banning abusive users.
- Filtering spam that’s sent to the list.
- Ensuring that the list description and settings are kept up-to-date.
In particular, list administrators (also known as list owners) can do all of these things and more. List moderators have a single role: reviewing the moderation queue of the mailing list and letting through legitimate emails while rejecting spam.
Obtaining a mailing list¶
If you need a mailing list for your project, you need to make a few decisions about your list, and then you can contact the Open Knowledge Foundation sysadmin administrators for help. You should decide:
- What you want your list to be called. A list to discuss geographic data might
geodata-discuss, while a local group list for Spain might be called
okfn-es. See the list names already taken at https://lists.okfn.org for ideas.
- Do you want your list to be public or private? Should anyone be able to subscribe, or do you want to approve new sign-ups on a case-by-case basis?
- Do you want your list to be publicly advertised in the list of lists at https://lists.okfn.org?
- Who will be your list owners? Ideally you should have at least two.
- Do you want to designate additional list moderators?
When you have answers to all these questions, you should contact the system administrators with your request. Details on how to do this can be found here on the Ops Manual: Getting help.
Administering or moderating a mailing list¶
Say your list is called
widgets-discuss. You can visit the list information
page at https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/widgets-discuss. From there, you
can select either the “administrative interface” or the “moderation interface”
links at the bottom of the page.
If you are a list administrator or a list moderator, you should have been
emailed a password allowing you to administer or moderate the list. Please check
your email archive for this email (it will come from
and have a subject like “Your new widgets-discuss list password” or “Your new
widgets-discuss moderator password”).
If you still can’t find the password and think you can have it, please contact the system administrators: Getting help.
Moderating mailing list spam mail¶
If the list you are moderating recieves spam, you can forward these spam mails from
the moderation interface to our bayes based spam learning address -
This will help our mailman spam filter to ‘learn’ and classify spam mails correctly.
Mailing list actions that require sysadmin help¶
You may request help from sysadmins for these mailing list queries
- Create a new list @lists.okfn.org
- Create a list on a different @domain
- Delete a list
- Keep list of subscribers
- Keep list archive
- Rename a list (copy subscribers over to a new list and archive the old one)
- Mailing list archives in a tarball/zip
- Reset the Admin password
- Export list subscribers as csv