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*A guide to managing messages sent to list owners.*

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Owners want to receive more or fewer list management and error messages, or where the errors are sent.


Listserv will send error and other messages about list operation, and provides several parameters and tools to manage them.

It is neither possible nor desirable to disable all messages.

Listserv has at least two categories of messages:

  • "errors" occur when Listserv can't carry out its normal duties, such as delivering mail. Note that Listserv may "batch" these up and send on a daily basis- not necessarily all at once.
  • messages one might call "normal" or housekeeping, such as when people subscribe and unsubscribe, or when list members attempt to send messages to the list owners.

Here are some of the available list configuration settings:

  • Designate some owners as "Quiet" so they do not receive normal list messages:
    Following is a sample where "sue" and "joe" are designated as Quiet:
            Owner= Quiet:,
            Owner= joe@syr.ed
    Quiet only needs to be specified once, and all owners listed after it will be "quiet". Note that there must be at least one non-quiet owner.
  • Use the Errors-to parameter to control who gets error messages
            Errors-to =,
  • Use the Auto-Delete parameter to control BOTH the automatic removal of invalid addresses, and the messages you receive about undeliverable postings (bounces). This can be very useful on a busy list with several postings per day, but useless on infrequently used lists. Here's an example:
            Auto-Delete = Full-Auto, Delay(5), Max(100)
    This says that after 5 consecutive days of bounces from an address, delete the address. Or, if 100 bounces occur in less than five days, delete the address. The owner(s) (or designated error recipient(s) ) will receive one message each day concerning bounces.
  • Owners of busy lists may want to use rules/filters in their email to route Listserv emails to designated folders so as not to clutter up their inbox. However, this can have the unintended consequence of not seeing important issues, e.g., a significant list member having problems. We also receive regular complaints that Listserv didn't do something, only to find the email in a junk or other folder due to rules/filters!

We recommend thinking through the possible consequences of changing the default settings.


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.