Information Technology Support
Page tree

*Explain options for filtering list content, such as rejecting out of office messages.*

Table of Contents

Introduction to Content Filtering

Content filtering is most commonly used to restrict "Out of Office" (Vacation) messages, although other types of messages can be filtered as well. Consequently, Listserv has a default site wide filter which includes the most common "Out of Office" messages. List owners can customize this filter by adding other filters (it's not limited to "Out of Office" messages), or you may wish to allow "Out of Office" messages.

You (as list owner) can change the configuration yourself (see below), or we can do it for you. This is somewhat more technical than most list editing, so feel free to just ask us to do it.

Vacation/"Out of Office" notes

While you may wish to configure your list so it will receive intentionally sent "I will be out of the office...." messages, that list probably doesn't need your autoresponse to messages from other list members saying you are out of the office. Therefore, you may wish to configure your automated Vacation messages so they do not reply to postings from Listserv. Unfortunately, we cannot provide "one size fits all" procedures as it is specific to each email client.

Sources of Auto-response Messages

  • Is the message coming from Listserv, or directly from an individual? If the latter, then Listserv isn't involved- only the individual sender can control it. This information is in the email headers.
  • If the message is from Listserv, then the owner should check the content filters (below).

Changing Listserv's Content Filter

This can be a bit technically challenging, so don't hesitate to ask for help. The online manuals at provide LOTS more information (specific location is Listserv manuals, choose the List Owner's manual, and search for the section on "Content filtering".) The following instructions are geared toward the "Out of Office" filters, but you can adapt them to other filtering (check the manual!).

  1. If you don't have a Listserv email password, request one at
  2. Login to Listserv
  3. List Management>Customization>Mail Templates from the menu
  4. Select your list from the "Select List" dropdown.
  5. In "Select Template Category" choose "Frequently Modified Templates"
  6. On the right and slightly down, under "Search Templates" type "Content" in the box and click the Search button. This should bring up "Rules for filtering list messages based on their contents[software011:CONTENT_FILTER]"
  7. Click "Edit Template".
  8. The Filter Rules each occupy a pair of lines
    The first line defines where Listserv looks and what it looks for.
    The second defines Listserv's reply when it encounters this condition.
  9. Do not try to delete everything- it won't work. You'll just go back to Listserv's default filtering.
  10. Make any desired changes, i.e., delete all of the rules you do not want.
  11. If you make a mistake, click on the Reload button and start over.
  12. Click on the Update button when you're done.
  13. At minimum, we recommend leaving the rule defined by the following pair of lines:


Action: REJECT Please resubmit with a non-blank subject.

This rejects emails with empty subject lines.


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