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Inactive Listserv lists being removed

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Problem Overview

Inactive Listserv Lists are periodically removed

In late March through mid April we collected list usage information, contacted list owners letting them know of the cleanup, and then removed inactive lists following the guidelines in the letter below sent to non-quiet Listserv List owners.


The general process was:

  • collected usage information.
  • notified list owners of the cleanup process.
  • used information received from list owners to guide the cleanup. For example, owners may have asked for a list to be kept for various reasons, and we honored those requests.
  • immediately deleted about 100 lists that owners told us were no longer used.
  • beginning on 3/30/2010, deleted lists in blocks, first those with no activity since 1/1/2009, and then deleting successively more until removing those with no activity for six months and 5 or fewer postings in the period going back to 1/1/2009.
  • we also removed owner emails that were no longer active, fixed or removed owners with mailbox addresses, and corrected other problems that surfaced.

Overall, we started with 3271 lists, and after completing the process we have 1751 lists. In 3 prior cleanups (the last in 2007), we had about 2000 lists remaining, so it appears that Listserv usage may have declined slightly, at least as measured by number of lists.

Lists Deleted Accidentally

As mentioned in the email, we can easily restore any lists that an owner wishes to get back. Please contact us.

Email we sent out to all list owners.

We need your help.

Syracuse University Information Technology and Services (ITS) is undertaking work to improve Listserv resources, including upgrading the email list manager.  You are receiving this email because you own (or co-own) one or more Listserv lists. See below for information on how to find the lists you own.

Listserv List Cleanup

We are cleaning up inactive lists, and on March 29, 2010 will begin removing lists that meet the following criteria:

  • No postings in the prior year
  • Lists with fewer than five postings in the last year, with no activity in the last six months

We will NOT be contacting owners of these lists prior to removal (but be sure to keep reading below).

We may contact owners of other lists which have minimal activity and appear to no longer be used.

How you can help

As a list owner/co-owner, we ask you to please:

  • check which lists you own.
    Lists which are currently active will not be affected by the cleanup.
  • request the removal of lists which have been active during the last year but that you no longer need at (click the link "Delete an existing list"). This is a two-step process requiring that you confirm the legitimacy of the request. Note: we can rename lists if the name is no longer appropriate but the list is still useful.
  • If you are concerned a list might be removed due to inactivity (see above criteria), reply to this email.
  • Respond promptly to requests for information.

For your peace of mind, whenever we delete a list we retain an archive copy of the list configuration file. In the event you need the list, we can restore it for you.

What lists do you own?

You can find out what lists you own in either of two ways:

    lists owned

Be sure to remove your signature or leave a blank line after the command. Listserv will reply by email.

More Information

We plan to upgrade to a newer Listserv version in the near future. If you would like to keep up with Listserv information and try the new version, please subscribe to our list, listserv_su. You can subscribe by sending an email to with "sub listserv_su" in the email body. Be sure to leave a blank line after the command.

If you have questions, concerns, or would like further information, please reply to this email.

Thank you!


Listserv Administrator, Syracuse University


List owners are responsible for all questions from list members

  • List members should contact their list owner(s) for help at <>. For example, if the listname is "clocks", send email to <>. If you need help contacting the owner, please contact the ITS Service Center by email at or by phone at 315-443-2677.
  • List owners may receive help by sending email to or contacting the ITS Service Center at 315-443-2677.

Sources and Relevant Links