Moderated Mailing Lists

You probably already know that messages to your mailing list from non-members require your authorization. In today’s spammy world most mailing lists receive spam on a regular basis.

You can also require that messages from members require your authorization to go out. You can do this for individual members or for all members.

The settings for creating a moderated list are spread throughout the Mailman configuration pages.

Moderate all new members

Moderation in Mailman takes place on a member-by-member basis. If you want a moderated list, you need to tell Mailman that all members should be moderated. The first step is to tell Mailman that all new members should be moderated as soon as they join the list.

In the “Privacy” category of your list management page, in the “Sender filters” subcategory, there is an option for “By default, should new list member postings be moderated?” If you set this to “Yes” then all new members will be moderated by default. They will remain moderated until a list administrator chooses to change their moderated status.

Moderate all current members

If you decide to change a mailing list from unmoderated to moderated, you’ll need to turn on moderation for all of the current members. You can do this a member at a time in the “Membership Management” category of your list management page, in the “Membership List” subcategory.

You can also make every member be moderated by going to the bottom of the “Membership List” page, choosing “On” for “Set everyone’s moderation bit, including those members not currently visible”, and clicking the “Set” button.

This will make all members be moderated. Note that it will not change the default for new members. Unless you follow the instructions for moderate all new members above, new members will be unmoderated.

Moderators vs. administrators

If you have a popular list, moderation can become a time-consuming task. You may want to delegate moderation privileges to people to whom you do not want to give administrative privileges.

In the “Passwords” category of your list management page, you can set two different passwords. The administrator password gives someone knowing that password the ability to change any setting on the list management pages. The moderator password allows only the moderation—approval or disapproval—of pending messages.

And remember that neither moderators nor administrators are authorized contacts. Only the authorized contacts on file with IT are authorized to speak for the mailing list. Make sure you keep your authorized contacts up to date, and make sure you have more than one!

Emergency moderation

If a list crisis requires that all messages be moderated, but you do not want to lose the moderation settings for individual members, you can turn “emergency moderation” on.

In the “General Options” category of your list management page, towards the bottom, is a setting for “Emergency moderation of all list traffic”. Change this to “Yes”, and then even messages from non-moderated members will require moderator or administrator approval.

Relevant configuration pages

<? $listname = strtolower($listname); $listname = urlencode($listname); ?>
New members By default, should new list member postings be moderated?
Current members Set everyone’s moderation bit, including those members not currently visible?
Moderators Set a separate moderator password.
Emergencies Emergency moderation of all list traffic.

If you want a list of the relevant moderation pages for a mailing list, type that mailing list here: