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An Overview of Majordomo 2

This help message is from the Majordomo list management software at

You interact with the Majordomo software by sending commands to
[email protected]
in the body of a mail message. Please do not put your commands in the subject! Majordomo only processes commands in the message body.

Majordomo is designed to manage electronic mailing lists automatically.
This document presents an overview of how Majordomo works, from the perspective of someone who wants to participate in a mailing list. If you are looking for an overview from the perspective of a list administrator, use the “help admin” command.

This document describes many of the common commands, but some features are not mentioned here. To see a complete list of subscriber commands, use the “help commands” command. To see a complete list of all Majordomo commands, use the “help topics” command.

Important E-mail Addresses

This Majordomo server is running at the domain “”.
There are two important addresses that pertain to every mailing list at this domain

[email protected]

This is the list server address, the address to which
Majordomo commands (such as “subscribe”, “help”, or “lists”)
should ALWAYS be sent. Mail sent to this address is processed
automatically; do not expect a human being ever to read it.

[email protected]

This is the address of the person or persons who administrate the
entire domain. Write to this address in case of an emergency,
such as a mail loop or system failure.

In addition, there are two unique addresses for every mailing list supported by this domain. Replace LISTNAME with the actual name of a mailing list at this domain.

[email protected]

This is the address to which you should post messages, once
you have subscribed to a mailing list. Posted messages may
be read by hundreds or thousands of people, so use discretion.
NEVER send Majordomo commands to this address.

[email protected]

This is the address of the person or persons who maintain the
mailing list. If you have private questions that are specific to a
particular mailing list, write to the owners at this address.

Which Mailing Lists are Served at

To see a list of public mailing lists at this domain, with brief
descriptions of each list, use the command


If you would like to see more details about each mailing list, such as
the number of subscribers and how often messages are posted, use this
command instead:


There are three documents associated with each mailing list,
the frequently asked questions (faq) document, the info document,
and the intro document. To obtain these documents for a specific
list, use the following commands:


Subscribing to a List

Once you’ve determined that you wish to subscribe to one or more lists on
this system, you can send commands to Majordomo to have it add you to the
list, so you can begin receiving mailings. You don’t need to involve the
list owner in this process (usually), and doing it yourself will save
them LOTS of time. Remember a list owner is normally a volunteer with
other things to do and lots of people subscribed to one or more lists.

To receive list mail at the address from which you’re sending your mail,
simply send a “subscribe” command to the server as detailed in the help
file for “subscribe”. To get that file, send this one line in the body
of a mail message to [email protected]

help subscribe

You supply at least the list’s name, and you can supply your real name
and email address if it is not in your email headers. For example,

subscribe LISTNAME

subscribe LISTNAME Your Name <[email protected]>

Based on configuration decisions made by the list owners, you may be
added to the mailing list immediately, or you may receive notification
that an authorization key (or token) is required for subscription.
This can be a bit of extra hassle, but it helps keep you from being
swamped in extra email by someone who forged requests from your address.
In this case, follow the instructions in the help file for “accept”.
(Or send a “reject” command if you don’t want to be subscribed.)

You may also get a message that your subscription is being forwarded to
the list owner for approval; some lists have waiting lists, or policies
about who may subscribe. If your request is forwarded for approval, the
list owner may contact you soon after your request, or the list owner may
simply add you to the list when they have time.

Upon subscribing, you should receive an introductory message, containing
list policies and features. Please SAVE THIS MESSAGE for future
reference; it should contain exact directions for unsubscribing. If
you lose the intro mail and would like another copy of the policies,
send this one-line message to [email protected]


…substituting, of course, the real name of your list for “LISTNAME”.

Your Personal Password

When you first subscribe to a mailing list at, you will
receive a password, and have your address registered in the Majordomo
central registry. No matter how many subscriptions you have at, you will never have more than one password
for your e-mail address.

Once you have obtained a password, you can use it to avoid the extra
step of confirmation when you change your settings with the set
command, or subscribe to a new list with the subscribe command.

Please see “help approve” and “help default” to learn how to use
your password when you issue commands.

In addition, if this site is configured to use Majordomo’s built-in
WWW interfaces, you can use your password at the following WWW page
to change your settings, unsubscribe, or join other mailing lists:

Unsubscribing from Mailing Lists

Your original intro message should contains the exact command for
removing your address from the list. However, in most cases, you
can simply send the command “unsubscribe” followed by the list name:
unsubscribe LISTNAME
This command may fail if your email address has changed since
you first subscribed to the mailing list.

To remove an address other than the one from which you’re sending the
request, refer to the help file for “unsubscribe” to get details on
how to remove yourself. If you have your old password, you can quickly
remove your old address even if you no longer have access to the
account. If your old account is forwarding mail to your new account,
you can also use “accept” from the new account once the server asks
you for confirmation.

If you want to unsubscribe from all lists on this server at once,
send an “unregister” command instead of “unsubscribe”. This will
remove you from all email lists reachable from [email protected]

Posting Messages

When you post a message to a mailing list, your message may not be
delivered to the subscribers immediately. There are many possible
reasons that this might happen: the list may be moderated; you
may have accidentally included a word or phrase that Majordomo recognizes
as a command; or the list may be configured to require the moderators’
approval for posted messages from new subscribers, for example. If
your message is moderated or denied, you will usually receive a
notice from Majordomo why that happened. If not, use the command

help set

to learn about your personal settings, then use the


command or the


command to see the current settings. If the settings that start with
“ack” are turned off, you will not receive notices about the progress of
your posted messages.

Receiving Messages in a Digest

A mailing list can be configured to bundle sets of posted messages
together into a collection called a “digest.” Each mailing list
can have several digests configured. The most basic way to change
your delivery class to receive a digest is to use the following
command (substitute the name of a mailing list for LISTNAME):

set LISTNAME digest

Three digest formats are available for every digest: MIME, text, and
index. MIME digests contain every part of every message, including any
attachments; this is the most common format. Text digests include only
plain text message parts. Index digests display the subject line
and other information about each message, but the message contents
are omitted.

To choose a new digest format, add its name after the word “digest”
in the set command, for example:

set LISTNAME digest-mime

Each mailing list can have several digests. To see a description
of the digests that are available for a particular mailing list,
use the following command:

lists-full LISTNAME

As an example, if a list has three digests (daily, weekly, biweekly),
you can include their names in the set command, for example:

set LISTNAME digest-daily-index
set LISTNAME digest-weekly
set LISTNAME digest-biweekly-mime

Going on Vacation

To stop receiving mail from a mailing list temporarily, use the
“nomail” setting. The simplest example is

set LISTNAME nomail

Then, when you wish to resume receiving mail from the list, use
the command

set LISTNAME nomail-return

However, you can also tell Majordomo to automatically start sending
you mail again after a period of time. For example, if you are
planning to travel for 15 days, use the command

set LISTNAME nomail-15d

If you return early, you can still use the “nomail-return” setting to
resume receiving mail anytime.

See Also:
help alias
help commands
help faq
help info
help intro
help lists
help password
help set
help show
help subscribe
help unregister
help unsubscribe

This is the “overview” help document for Majordomo 2, version 0.1200410180.

For a list of all help documents, send the following command:
help topics
in the body of a message to [email protected].

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