New Mailman Moderator’s Guide

Last updated: September 26, 2022
Audience: StudentsInstructorsStaffIT Staff / Technical

Mailman moderator’s guide

List moderation

Every Mailman list has at least one owner. Some also have a list moderator. The moderator is appointed by the owner to administer list subscriptions and postings. See the Mailman glossary for more information about owner and moderator roles.

If the list has been set up as a moderated list, only approved messages are delivered to list members. Whenever a new message arrives for a moderated list, a notice is sent to the list owner and the list moderator (if one has been assigned).

List owners can also configure their list to require approval (by the list owner or moderator) before someone can subscribe, unsubscribe, or post a message to the list. Owners can also specify which members are moderated. For information on how to set up moderation, see the List approvals section of the Mailman Owner’s Guide.

Manage private and moderated lists

When a message is sent to a moderated list, Mailman sends list owners and moderators a request message that includes the list name, the name of the person who sent the message, message subject, and a link to the list’s administration page. Unless the list owner has selected to not notify users of held messages, the person who sent the message receives a “Your message to mailing list awaits moderator approval” message.

To access the list moderation page where you can see the list of pending moderation requests,

  1. Click the link in the message or log in to your list administration page. 

    Log in to your list administration screen.

    • In the address window of your web browser, enter where listname is replaced with the name of your list. For example, if your list is uwsports, you would enter
    • When you reach the list web page for your list, near the top of the page, click Log in, and then enter your UW NetID and password.
  2. In the menu at the top of the page, click Held messages. The number of held messages appears in the navigation bar.
  3. Check the box next to the message(s) and click Accept, Reject, or Discard.
    screen shot of moderator interface

    • Select Accept to immediately send the message to the list.
    • Select Reject to decline the message and send a rejection message to the post’s author.
    • Select Discard to decline the message without sending a rejection message to the post’s author.

Emergency Moderation

List owners can enable emergency moderation if activity on a list gets out of control — for instance, if conversation becomes contentious or otherwise inappropriate for the purpose of the list. Emergency moderation requires a list moderator to approve every message before it is sent to the list. If the list owner is not available, moderators can contact help at 206-221-5000 or to turn on emergency moderation.

Handle subscription requests

If your list is set up to require that owners or moderators must approve subscription requests, you will receive an email message about pending requests.

To access the subscription requests page where you can see the list of pending requests:

  1. Either click the link in your email message or log in to your list administration page.
  2. In the menu at the top of the page, click Subscription requests. Select Pending Approval or Pending Confirmation in the drop-down menu. The number of pending requests appears in the navigation bar.