Tuesday, March 21, 2017

EMail Mailing Lists: mailman@domain

I have had a long love affair with interactive mailing lists. I recently set up a set of lists for an organization where I volunteer: the Pinellas County chapter of SCORE.

I registered the domain and merrily went about creating the lists. But then I discovered a problem....
If you visit the list info page you will see a line that says:

"If you are having trouble using the lists,
please contact 

The problem is that email address does not exist! "Your message has been rejected, probably because you are not subscribed to the mailing list and the list's policy is to prohibit non-members from posting to it.  If you think that your messages are being rejected in error, contact the mailing list owner at {address}."

  • It is not a mailbox. 
  • It is not a forwarder.  
  • It's hard-coded at the server level.
Even if a cPanel administrator (me!) creates a working mailbox or a forwarder, messages will still bounce. The site is hosted on a shared server, so the cPanel admin (still me) cannot modify any of the server-wide python scripts.

Kudos to Mark Sapiro: He came up with a solution that works!!  Create a mailing list named Mailman for that domain (and for every other domain where you create mailing lists).

Of course this new list will have a very limited audience: just you

Basically, you have to configure an entire mailing list to behave as a forwarder.
But that's OK: it's a fix!!!

Since I have to do this every time I create mailing lists, I'm going to review and  record a checklist for the settings I have to change. First, creating a new mailing list in cPanel is easy: Enter the list name ('Mailman') and a password.

Don't forget to check the "Private" button. Click the "Add Mailng List" button. It's OK to use the password generator because you can manage the new list from this panel:

Since this will be a private 'list' you can skip a lot of the piddlin' details if you're in a hurry:
  • General Options Page: 3 changes
    • Update the list administrator address, and then copy it to the moderator block.
    • The prefix for subject lines is [Mailman] followed by a space. You can change it to make more sense when it shows up in your in-box: [Mailman Admin Request] . Remember to leave a trailing space.
    • Everything else is your personal choice, but you probably won't see it.
    • Scroll down and click the "Submit your changes" button.
  • Passwords ~ You can skip this section
  • Language Options ~ You can skip this section.
  • Membership Management: 1 change
    • Membership List ~ You can skip this section
    • Mass Subscription
      • Option: Send welcome messages to new subscribers: Select "no"
      • Enter one address per line below:
        Use this format: Name <address@doman>
        Example: "Rick Jaggers <RickJaggers@GMailer.com>"
      • Scroll down and click the "Submit your changes" button.
    • Mass Removal ~ You can skip this section
    • Address Change  ~ You can skip this section
  • Non-Digest Options ~ You can skip this section
  • Digest Options  ~ You can skip this section
  • Privacy Options: 4 changes
    • Subscription Rules
      • Advertise this list when people ask what lists are on this machine?
        Confirm that the radio button is marked "No."
      • What steps are required for subscription: Confirm & Approve
      • Who can view subscription list: List admins only
      • Scroll down and click the "Submit your changes" button.
    • Sender filters
      • Near the bottom is probably one of the most important boxes to change: Action to take for postings from non-members for which no explicit action is defined.
      • Change the action to ACCEPT
      • Scroll down and click the "Submit your changes" button.
  • You can ignore everything else after that.
    Remember: this mailing list is basically a 1-person forwarder.
Recap: The minimum effort to do this is enter the List Name, use Password Generator, mark the Private List button, and Add Mailing List. Then go to Manage List and make 8 changes on 3 different pages.

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