E-mail Lists Frequently Asked Questions

There are many MAILING LISTS on campus that serve different parts of the Bates Community as a communication tool. The purpose of a mailing list is for a group of users all to see the same information on a particular topic. Here are some of the common instructions and frequently asked questions regarding participation in a mailing list. For our examples, “goodfood” is the name of the list.

NOTE: Off-campus access to now requires you to login with your Bates username and password for access to web commands.

For course e-mail lists information, please consult that frequently asked questions web page.

1) How do I subscribe to a mailing list?

  • Open a web browser to
  • Click on the list to which you wish to subscribe.
  • Enter your information and (if option is available for that particular list) whether you wish to receive the list in once-a-day digest format or individual messages.
  • An e-mail confirmation will be sent to your Bates e-email account; click on the Visit this webpage link to confirm your subscription.
  • On the web page that opens, be sure to click Subscribe to have your request sent to the owner for approval.

NOTE: Each owner will decide if the list is digestible by default. Then they can decide if the members of the list can change their default setting. If a member chooses to digest their list, they will not receive their list messages for that list until the end of the day, and may miss some timely messages.

2) How do I unsubscribe from a mailing list?

At the bottom of that page are the unsubscribe or edit options:

  • Type in your e-mail address in the box.
  • You may be asked for the *password available to you when you subscribed to the list. If you have forgotten the password, click on the remind button and your password will be sent to you in an e-mail.
  • Click to send the unsubscribe message to the moderator/owner.

*Passwords from the list system will be issued to users in order to use the web interface to see who else is part of a particular list. This does not use your network password, only a randomly generated one for this purpose. REMEMBER: To recover your password, go to and click on the remind button to have the password sent to your e-mail.

3) How do I send a message to a list?
Send an e-mail message to the

  • The message will be sent to all members of the list. However, Bates Gmail recognizes that you are both the sender and a member of the list. You WILL NOT receive a copy of your message sent to the list. You can look in your Sent Mail for a copy of the message.
  • The subject line should reflect the content of your message.

4) How do I reply to a message from a list?

  • Check the header to see who it is from:
  • From a person
    the reply will go to that person only
  • From the mailing list name
    the reply will go to the entire list
  • If the message was sent from the list, to reply only to the person who sent the message, you need to mail the reply to their name.
  • When you reply to a message, the subject line will be by default: RE: the subject of the message to which you are replying. You may change that if you wish when you send the message.

5) What are some possible reasons for a message not to be received by the members of a list?

  • Lists may be restricted so that only members of the list can send to it without approval from the owner/moderator. The length of the approval process (from a closed list) can keep a message from being sent in a timely fashion.
  • Messages should not be sent to a list and many other e-mail addresses in the same message. Too many names in the “To” or “CC” fields will cause bounced messages.
  • Bates Gmail recognizes that you are a member of the list and therefore WILL NOT send you a copy of the email. Others on the list will still receive the message.

6) How can I save messages so that my Inbox does not become too full?
You are responsible for the management of your messages, including any you wish to save (don’t leave them in your Inbox!). With the new mailman system, you will only receive one copy of a message sent to a list, regardless if you are subscribed to several lists to which the message was mailed, including sending a cc to yourself – only one copy is received to your Inbox.  Information and Library Services (ILS) recommends using email filters to sort your lists automatically into labels. Perhaps set an annual chore of deciding which folders to archive (in local folders), and which to delete.

7) Is there a limit on the size of a message or attachment I can send to a list?
Yes, messages with attachments or large images (particularly inline, where the image can be viewed in the body of the message) may exceed limits and may be returned. The maximum attachment size is 25 MB and to help prevent viruses, Bates Gmail won’t accept file attachments that are executable files (such as those with an .exe extension). Messages with an executable attachment will bounce back to the sender.

8) How do I find out who else is on a list?
If you are a member of the list you can find out on the web or by using e-mail commands:

For Web access to obtaining a list of members (“who”):
NOTE: Off-campus you will be asked to login with Bates username and password before following these instructions.

  • Open a web browser to
  • Click on the list name.
  • Scroll down the page to the subscribers section at the bottom.
  • Enter your e-mail address and *password.
  • Click the Visit Subscriber List button and a list of the members displays.

E-mail commands for obtaining a list of other members (“who”):

Members have to send the following two messages 1) for your password for the list and 2) to execute the who query:

1)First retrieve your password for this list by sending a message in the following format: (where listname is the name of the list to which you are a member)

Subject: no subject)

Body: (only the word) password

The list management program will send you a message back with the password, which refers only to this list. Write down the password, as this will be needed for this list in the future.

2)Then send a second message in the following format:

Subject: (no subject)

Body: who password
[where password is the password you just received]

The list management program will send you an alphabetical list of members by username.

9) How do I synchronize my list passwords?
If you belong to more than one list, you can choose which of the list passwords you would like to be your global password for all your lists.

  • Open a web browser to:
  • You will see a list of the Mailing lists managed by Bates
  • Click on the list which has the password you want to set to be your global password.
  • At the bottom of that page are the unsubscribe or edit options. Type your e-mail address in the box.
  • Click on the unsubscribe or edit options button. On the Edit Options page, you will see Synchronize Your Passwords.
  • Click on the Change globally box, then
  • Click on Change my password.

10) How do I change my e-mail options?

  • Open a web browser to:
    You will see a list of the Mailing lists managed by Bates program.
  • Click on the list for which you want to change options.
  • At the bottom of that page are the unsubscribe or edit options.
  • Type your e-mail address in the box.
  • Click on the Unsubscribe or edit options button.
  • On the edit options page, you will be asked for the *password sent to you when you subscribed to the list. Scroll down the page to see your options that you can change.
  • Some of the options have a box to change the values globally for all your lists if you wish.
  • When you have finished, click on the Submit My Changes button.
  • Go back to the top of the page and click on Logout.

11) Can I access from off campus to view and modify list options?

If you will be subscribing or managing lists from off-campus, your Bates username and password will be necessary to access the list management functions.

Subscribing or unsubscribing using e-mail is still available from off-campus:

  • Send a message to:
    (where listname  is the name of the list to which you are subscribing or unsubscribing)
  • In the subject line or in the body of the message type only:
    Subscribe or Unsubscribe

12) What is the difference between archiving and digesting a list?
Digesting is a method of sending all the messages sent to a list as one continuous message, e-mailed to members daily, rather than receiving each individual message at the time it was sent out.

Archiving is the storing of messages from a list for a decided-upon period of time. Server storage space needed for the messages from an active list can be significant.  Very few lists at Bates are archived, and only if there is an important academic reason why a list should be archived should the owner contact Help Desk Services to ask if this can be done. FERPA and other legal reasons may enter into the decision by network administrators as to whether a list will be archived.

13) How can I be sure to preserve the formatting of my message?
In Thunderbird, under Tools > Options > Composition > General tab > Send options> select “send message in HTML anyway” If the option for sending in both plain text and html is selected, the plain text will appear only.
Lists that are digested by default will not keep formatting regardless of how it was originally sent.

15) How to retrieve a forgotten list password using the web interface?

  • Open a web browser to
  • Click on the list name.
  • Scroll down the page to the subscribers section at the bottom.
  • Enter your email address in the last box on the page
  • Click Unsubscribe or edit options and another page will come up
  • On the left side of the page under Forgotten Your password,click on Email my password to me
  • Your password will be e-mailed to you right away.

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