Listserv Policies at Syracuse University


Listserv® by Lsoft is administered and supported by Information Technology and Services at Syracuse University for the benefit of the University community. Members of this community may create and/or own a Listserv list, provided they comply with the following:

  1. The list must serve an academic, administrative or social function that relates to some aspect of the University and the University community of students, faculty and staff. Lists that primarily serve external constituents and show no connection to SU will not be supported here.
  2. At least one of the local owners must be a Syracuse University email address.
  3. The person requesting the list must provide adequate information about the purpose of the list, identifying clearly the group of people intended to be served by the list and the role the list will play in supporting the group.
  4. Lists that are intended for commercial purposes, such as profiting from a membership fee or for selling goods or services, are not supported at SU.
  5. If the list is being requested by a student, a contact who is a staff or faculty member at SU must be designated. The contact should be someone familiar enough with the student group to advise the Listserv Administrator in the event that the owner leaves the University, is no longer reachable, and has not named a successor. The contact should be able to identify a new owner if the list is to be continued. Otherwise the list will be deleted.


There is no charge for Listserv services provided at SU. ITS funds the costs of hardware, software, and staff support for this service. We will not host external lists for a fee. There are commercially operated FREE list hosting services such Google Groups and Yahoo Groups, which may have functional limitations or include advertising. Fee-based hosting service such as Lsoft Ease are available.

Owner responsibilities

Manage daily activities of their lists

  • Owners are expected to acquire sufficient knowledge and skills in using Listserv commands.
  • Owners should be familiar with basic list maintenance functions, such as adding and deleting subscriptions, changing subscription options, and changing the list parameters as needed to keep the list functioning properly.
  • Owners should be able to identify and solve simple subscriber problems, such as a discrepancy between a subscription address and a sending address.

Information about managing lists is sent to owners via e-mail when a new list is created, and is also available on the Web at

List management functions may be performed by e-mail or through the Web interface. In addition, ITS maintains help information on the SU Listserv Web page.

Answer list member questions

When subscribers contact ITS regarding a particular list, that inquiry is first referred to the list owner(s). If a list owner is not able to resolve the issue, then the owner, not the subscriber, should contact for assistance.

Establish and maintain list policy

The list owner is responsible for individual list policy setting, communicating, and enforcing the rules for participating on the list.

Delete unused lists

List owners are responsible for deleting lists that are no longer needed (see section on Deleting Lists below).

Maintain a valid, unblocked e-mail address

List owners shall maintain a valid, unblocked email address. If the owner's email address becomes non-functional and we can no longer contact the owner, we will remove the owner from the list. If there are no valid owners on a list, we may remove the list.

Note: If an email address requires some special activity for us to send to it, that address is deemed non-functional. For example, some anti-spam services require new senders to validate their address by going to a Web site or responding to a confirmation email. With approximately 2,000 hosted lists, we cannot efficiently interact with such addresses. If you have such a service, it is your responsibility to assure that communications from  and other support addresses are not blocked.

Additional help

An Internet-wide list named "lstown-l" covers topics primarily of interest to owners of large lists. You may subscribe by sending email to  with the command "sub lstown-l" in the email body.

ITS/Listserv Administrator Services

ITS provides the following services:

  • creates new lists for owners
  • deletes unneeded lists upon request from list owners
  • notifies list owners about changes to Listserv
  • provides introductory documentation for list owners
  • consults with list owners on Listserv functions and problems
  • decides on disposition of orphaned lists (owner address no longer valid) by contacting the owner or designated contact for the list for correction or list deletion
  • List owners may get support by emailing the ITS Service Center The Listserv Administrator will provide backup support to the Service Center.
  • Questions from subscribers will be referred to the appropriate list owner.

List Removal

Lists are targeted for removal if there is no posting activity for two years. A list owner may also request that a list be removed by visiting the Delete List Request Form.

If a list owner's email address is no longer valid, or the list's owner is consistently unreachable or unresponsive, the list is considered "orphaned" and is subject to immediate removal. We will make a reasonable effort, time permitting, to determine if the owner simply changed addresses or has left the University. If the owner cannot be contacted, the sponsor for the list will be contacted to determine whether the list should be deleted or a new owner designated. If the sponsor cannot be located, the list will be removed.

Transfer of List Ownership

The current list owner may transfer list ownership to someone else without the involvement or approval from ITS. The new owner must meet the requirements and assume the responsibilities of list ownership as outlined above. If the current list owner needs assistance with the transfer, they should contact the Service Center directly via email to make the request, specifying the name of the list, and the new owner's email address, name, and phone number.

In the event that a list owner has left the University and therefore is no longer available to make this request, and another member of the group or organization served by the list wishes to assume responsibility for managing the list, the request should come directly from a person of authority regarding the transfer, NOT from the new owner. For a student-owned list, that authority should be a faculty or staff member who serves as a sponsor or adviser to the group. For a staff-owned list, it should be the Manager or Director of the department or organization served by the list.

ITS will verify that the transfer request is legitimate and notify the new owner when the change has been made.

Listserv Owner Inquiries

ITS does not supply who the owner of a list is. You can contact a list owner without knowing their name or email. Send an e-mail to (e.g. to reach the owner of the "dabblers" list, send an e-mail to You will receive a confirmation email; click on the link in the confirmation, and your email will be sent to the list owner.

Deleting Lists

Current list owners who no longer have a need for a list should request that the list be deleted (Look for Delete link at Submitting the request causes an email message to be sent to the requester for confirmation; the requester must reply to the message before the list will be deleted. The customer will receive notification when the list has been deleted.

Requests to delete lists that come from someone other than a current list owner will be referred to the current list owner.

If a list has multiple list owners, ITS will normally act on requests from *any* owner, but *may* act with discretion to ensure that all the list owners are in agreement with the request to delete the list.

List Backup

All lists are backed up daily. This is includes the list headers (configuration profiles) and the subscriptions, as well as any associated files and archives. In the case of a catastrophic loss of list information, the List owner can request a best effort to restore information in the backup. The messages that are transacted on a non-archived list are not saved and therefore cannot be restored.

Deleted lists are archived.

Modifying a List's Archives

The messages of some lists are archived for reference purposes. Because modifying archives defeats that purpose (and is also very labor intensive), it is contrary to ITS policy.  Requests to make an exception will be considered, but granted only for legal reasons or when it can be compellingly demonstrated that harm to the University or members thereof will be avoided by doing so. Embarrassment or information thought to be incorrect do not constitute reasons under this policy.

Violations of Computer Use

In cases where lists are misused to harass or offend subscribers or otherwise violate acceptable computer use policies, and the owner fails to take effective action, ITS reserves the right to delete the list.

Getting Help

Subscribers and list members should contact their list owner(s) for assistance by emailing <>. For example, if the listserv is, send email to <>.

For support of the information above, contact the ITS Help Desk by calling at 315-443-2677, by emailing, or by stopping into 1-227 CST.


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