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Manual Reference Pages  -  LISTADMIN (1)


listadmin - process messages held by Mailman for approval


Configuration Syntax
Interactive Use


listadmin [-?] [-V] [-f configfile] [-t minutes] [--mail] [--nomail] [{-a|-r} file] [--add-member address] [--remove-member address] [-l] [listname]


listadmin is a textual alternative to Mailman’s WWW interface for administering mailing lists.


-f configfile Fetch list of mailing lists from configfile rather than the default (~/.listadmin.ini).
-t minutes Stop processing after minutes has passed. Mostly useful for completely automated configurations of listadmin.
--mail Addresses added as subscribers will have nomail turned off.
--nomail Addresses added as subscribers will have nomail turned on.
-a file Add e-mail addresses listed in file (one address per line) to the subscriber list. The welcome message is suppressed.
--add-member address Add address to the subscriber list, works as above.
-r file Remove e-mail addresses listed in file (one address per line) from the subscriber list.
--remove-member address Remove address from the subscriber list.
-l Display the subscriber list.
listname Only process the lists matching listname. Specify a complete address, a substring or a regular expression.
-? or --help Display short usage description.
-V or --version Output version number.


The configuration file contains lines which can contain either a comment, a directive, or a mailing list address.

A line can be continued by putting a backslash character at the end of the line. Any leading whitespace on the following line is removed.

Comments begin with the character # and extend to the end of line. Backslash continuation is not applied to comments.

The argument to the directive can be put in double quotes to protect space characters. Inside double quotes, \" can be used to include a literal double quote, and \\ for a literal backslash.


A directive affects all the mailing lists addresses which follow after it in the configuration file. The directives are:
username username Specifies the username to use for authentication. (Not all Mailman servers require a username.)
password password Specifies the password to use for authentication.
adminurl url The URL for maintaining Mailman requests. Some substitutions are performed: (examples below refer to the hypothetical list
{list} The local part of the list name, e.g., "foo-devel".
{domain} The domain part of the list name, e.g., "".
{subdomain} The first component of the domain part, e.g., "example".
default action Specifies the action to take when the user presses just Return. Available actions are:
approve The message will be sent to all member of the list.
reject Notify sender that the message was rejected.
discard Throw message away, don’t notify sender.
skip Don’t decide now, leave it for later.
none Reset to no default action.
action action This action will be taken for all messages where none of the other rules apply (e.g., spamlevel, discard_if_from etc.), ie., whenever the user would have been asked what to do. The same actions as for default are available, although reject isn’t very useful.
spamlevel number This specifies the threshold for automatic discard of suspected spam messages. 12 is unlikely to have false positives. No user confirmation is needed, so it is best to play it safe. Less than 5 is not recommended.
spamheader header-name The name of the header which contains the spam score. It is assumed that the score is encoded as a sequence of characters, like "*****" for the value 5. By default it will look for all headers with names containing "spam" and "score" or "level", and pick the highest score if there is more than one. Setting the header-name to default will restore this behaviour.
not_spam_if_from pattern If the message’s From header matches the pattern, all automatic actions will be cancelled and you will be asked what action to take explicitly. The pattern can use Perl regexp syntax. If enclosed in slashes, some modifiers can be added, a typical example being /pattern/i to match case-insensitively.
not_spam_if_subject pattern As above, but matches against the Subject header.
discard_if_from pattern If the message’s From header matches the pattern, it will be discarded automatically.
discard_if_subject pattern As above, but matches against the Subject header.
discard_if_reason pattern As above, but matches against Mailman’s reason for holding the message for approval.
subscription_default action Specifies the action to take when the user presses just Return while processing subscriptions. Available actions are:
accept The new subscriber will be added.
reject Notify sender that s/he was not allowed to join the list.
skip Don’t decide now, leave it for later.
none Reset to no default action.
subscription_action action This action will be taken always for all new subscribers in the relevant lists, no user interaction will take place. The same actions as for subscription_default are available, although only skip is very useful. It is better to get automatic accept and reject behaviour by changing the Mailman configuration.
confirm yes|no Before submitting changes, ask for confirmation. Default is "yes".
unprintable questionmark|unicode If the subject or sender address contains characters the terminal can’t display, they will be replaced by either "<?>" (in questionmark mode, the default) or something like "<U+86a8>" (in unicode mode).
log filename Changes submitted to the web interface are logged. All the changes for one list are sent in batches at the end of processing. The format in the log is first a line containing the list name and a time stamp in local time. Then one line for each message, in the format
action D:[date] F:[sender] S:[subject]
This batch of lines is terminated by a line saying changes sent to server.
The same substitutions are performed on filename as on the argument to adminurl. Tilde syntax can be used to refer to home directories. The filename none turns off logging.
meta_member_support yes|no Meta members are an experimental feature at the University of Oslo. This option is enabled by default for lists in, and is needed to avoid clearing the list of meta members when manipulating the list of ordinary members. Note: Requires additional Perl module WWW::Mechanize


The user interface to listadmin is line oriented with single letter commands. By pressing Return, the default action is chosen. The default action is printed in brackets in the prompt. The available actions are:

a Approve sending the message to all members of the list.
r Reject the message and notify sender of the decision.
d Discard the message silently, don’t notify sender.
s Skip the message, leave its status as pending unchanged.
b View Body, display the first 20 lines of the message.
f View Full, display the complete message, including headers.
t View Time, display the Date header from the message.
number Jump forward or backward to message number.
u Go back to the previous message and undo the last approve, discard or reject action.
/pattern Search (case-insensitively) for the next message with matching From or Subject. If pattern is left out, the previous value will be used.
?pattern As above, but backwards.
. Redisplay information about current message.
add Add address as subscriber to the list. If address is left out, use the sender of the current message.
nomail As add, but adds address with "nomail" enabled.
list List subscriber addresses matching pattern, or the full list if no pattern is specified.
rem Remove address from the subscriber list. Note: there is no undo for this action.
q Quit processing this list and go on to the next.

Changes will not take effect until the end of the list has been reached. At that time, the user will be prompted whether the changes should be submitted to Mailman (see also "confirm" directive above).


To process only the lists of a single domain, specify the domain as the pattern:


To disable the printing of characters outside US-ASCII, set the locale appropriately:

   env LC_CTYPE=C listadmin

An example configuration file:

   # A comment, it must appear on a line by itself.
   # Settings affect all lists being listed after it.

   username    password Geheim    default discard    # This one works for Sourceforge:    adminurl http://{domain}/lists/admindb/{list}

   # This is how the default Mailman URLs look:    adminurl http://{domain}/mailman/admindb/{list}

   # If the password contains quotes or spaces, you may need    # to put it in quotes. A complex example:    password "\"lise\\ "

   # These lists will still use the username [jdoe], but the    # password is now ["lise\ ].

   default approve    discard_if_reason "Message has implicit|Too many recipients"    discard_if_from ^(postmaster|mailer(-daemon)?|listproc|no-reply)@

   # No one should ever send e-mail to the next list, so throw it    # all away, without asking any questions    action discard    confirm no


http_proxy or HTTP_PROXY Specifies a proxy to use for HTTP.
https_proxy or HTTPS_PROXY Specifies a proxy to use for HTTPS.
LC_CTYPE The character set support is deduced from this variable.



The default configuration file.


The HTML parser is quite fragile and depends on Mailman not to change the format of its generated code.

An extra blank line is sometimes added to the subject when it contains double width characters (e.g. Chinese). This is probably a bug in Text::Reform.


Kjetil T. Homme <>
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--> LISTADMIN (1) 24 Feb 2005

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