ListProc - FAQ

Last Updated: 11/21/2013

Overview

Frequently asked questions about ListProc, CU-Boulder's list processing service.

Note: Throughout the FAQ and help documentation anything presented as an italicized word means you should substitute word with your particular information for the command. For example, in this command: subscribe listname first lastname you would substitute listname with the real name of the list you want to join and substitute first lastname with your first name and last name. Do not actually italicize any commands you send to ListProc.

General FAQ

How do I use this document?

All changes to lists and list subscriptions are managed by sending commands via email to ListProc at listproc@lists.colorado.edu.

See these Common List Commands for command descriptions and usage instructions.

For all error emails received from ListProc, be sure to read the description of the error in the email. That should help you determine which of the common problems described within this FAQ you are encountering.

Throughout this FAQ, anything presented as an italicized word means you should substitute the word with your particular information. For example, in this command:

subscribe listname first lastname

you would substitute listname with the real name of the list you want to join and substitute first lastname with your first name and last name. Important: Do not actually italicize any commands you sent to ListProc.

Creating a New List

Why am I getting an error with the 'initial subscribers' field on the list application?

This problem usually results from hidden carriage returns, usually on the line following the last address, but sometimes on the very first line. You can try two things to get rid of hidden characters:

1) Try completely clearing the field before entering any information.

2) Place the cursor before the first entry and backspace several times, then put the cursor at the end and hit delete several times.

Subscriber FAQ

Why can't I subscribe to a list?

Read the error message you get back from ListProc to determine which of the following common problems you are experiencing:

  • "unknown command" error
    This error probably resulted from a misspelled command, e.g., "suscribe" instead of "subscribe."
  • "unknown list-name" error
    This error probably resulted from an incorrectly typed list name. Make sure the spelling of the name is correct and that you do not include any spaces. Also, be sure to include dashes or hyphens when appropriate. Look carefully at the list name to determine exactly how it is spelled and how you typed it.
  • HTML encoding for email is on
    Always turn off HTML encoding for all messages to ListProc. In other words, send the message in plain text. To do this in:
    • CULink: In the new message window, the button second from the right toggles between HTML and plain text. If you are already using plain text, the button will say "HTML text." If you are using HTML, the button will say "Plain text." When you click on the "Plain text" button, you will be asked to confirm your decision to remove all HTML effects. Click "OK" to switch to plain text for this message only.
    • Windows Live Mail (formerly Hotmail, MSN): When composing a new mail message, there will be a link to switch between plain text and HTML below the "Subject" line. The link will display "HTML" if you are already in plain text and "Plain text" if you are in HTML. Click "Plain text" to switch for this message.
    • Yahoo! Mail: Go into the Options menu, find and navigate to General Preferences, and then finally to the category "Composing Emails" where you can select "Compose messages as plain text."
    • Yahoo! Mail Beta: When composing a new message, there will be a link to the right of the Subject field which will allow you to switch between plain text and HTML.
    • Other Mail Clients: OIT can provide assistance with any IT Service Center supported email clients. Call the IT Service Center at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from a campus phone) or email help@colorado.edu for assistance.
Why can't I unsubscribe from a list?
  • If ListProc responded with a "You are not subscribed to list" error
    This is usually caused by a discrepancy with your email rewrite. Your rewrite is the address that appears on the "From:" line on emails you send out. A list will not process a command from you unless the address from which you send the command matches the address you supplied when you subscribed to the list. For example, if you subscribed to the list four years ago when your rewrite was Ralphie.Buffalo@colorado.edu, but now your rewrite is Chip.Buffalo@colorado.edu, ListProc will not find you in its subscriber list. Call the IT Service Center at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from a campus phone) or email help@colorado.edu for assistance in such cases.
I was removed/unsubscribed from a list. What happened?

This could be one of two issues:

  • You were automatically removed for an email quota violation
    Clean up some space on your email to get under your quota, then re-subscribe to the list.
  • The list owner removed your subscription
    To contact list owners, send an email to listname-request@lists.colorado.edu. You can ask the list owner why you were removed and/or request re-subscription.
Why can't I send to a list?

This could be one of several issues:

  • The list is not configured to post messages from subscribers 
    Your message will be returned in this case. The email will indicate that you are not a list owner and that only owners can post to the list. List owners have authority over this setting. To request a change in configuration, you can send a message to:

listname-request@lists.colorado.edu

This will email the owner(s) of the list. Make sure to include the purpose of your request in the email, which in this case is to request information about the list's configuration.

  • The list is set to 'send-by-subscribers' mode and either you aren't subscribed or there is a rewrite discrepancy
    Make sure you are subscribed to the list and that your outgoing address matches the one you subscribed to the list with. Refer to the "You are not subscribed to list" error section under the "Why can't I unsubscribe from a list?" FAQ.
  • Your message contained illegal commands, words, or phrases
    Do not use these terms on the subject line of the message:

test, vacation, out of office, ignore, please ignore, add me, remove me, delete me

ListProc rejects messages with these words in the subject line in order to prevent spamming people with list subscribers' vacation messages, commands, or test messages. This is a global ListProc setting and cannot be changed for any list.

How do I postpone messages from a list (e.g., for vacation)?

When you want to postpone messages, set your mailmode to 'postpone' by emailing this command to ListProc:

set listname mail postpone

Replace listname with the real name of the list. Messages from the list will be postponed until you change your mailmode again.  If you want to receive messages as they are sent, set your mailmode to 'ack' (acknowledge) with this command:

set listname mail ack

Refer to the FAQ "What are my options for receiving list messages?" for more mailmode options.

What are my options for receiving list messages?

Mailmodes include:

  • 'ack' - Receive messages as they are sent to the list, including messages you send to the list.
  • 'noack' - Receive messages as they are sent to the list, not including messages you send to the list.
  • 'digest' - Receive one email per day which contains all messages of the day.
  • 'digest-nomime' - Same as digest, but leaves out MIME encoding. Use this if digest mode produces garbled messages.
  • 'postpone' - Postpone messages from the list until you change your mailmode.

To change your mailmode, send this command to ListProc:

set listname mail mailmode

How do I receive messages in digest mode?

Use the following command to receive your messages in digest mode (a compilation of the list's messages for the day into one email per day):

set listname mail digest

Why do my digests appear as gibberish?

If digest mode is producing garbled messages, send the command to leave out MIME encoding:

set listname mail digest-nomime

How do I get more information about a list?

To get information about a particular list, use this command:

information listname

How can I find out what lists are available?

To get the names of all ListProc lists at CU-Boulder, use this command:

lists

To get the names of all lists with descriptions matching a specific keyword, use this command, replacing keyword with whatever you want to search for:

lists local keyword

Owner FAQ

Why can't I manage my list?

This could be one of two issues:

  • "You are not the owner of this list" error
    This problem usually results from a discrepancy with your rewrite. The rewrite is the address that appears on the "From:" line on emails you send out. A list will not process a command from you unless the address from which you send the command matches the address you supplied when you became an owner of the list. To fix this problem, contact the IT Service Center at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from a campus phone) or email help@colorado.edu and provide your correct owner address.
  • The current list owner did not properly add you as a list owner
    Refer to the instructions in the "How can I change the ownership of a list" FAQ for help with adding or replacing owners.
Why can't I add or remove a list subscriber?

This problem could result from one or more of the following:

  • Incorrectly constructed add/delete command.

Command to add a subscriber:

Command to delete a subscriber:

Example of add command (all on one line):

Notes:

  • To add a subscriber, you must include first and last name, whereas to delete a subscriber, you do not.
  • Substitute password with your list's password and all descriptions with your particular list and subscriber information.
  • You can specify the word 'quiet' before 'add' or 'delete' in the command, so the person won't be notified of the action.
  • Setting the list up to allow people to subscribe/unsubscribe themselves greatly reduces problems with the add/delete commands.
  • The use of illegal characters in the add command
    Do not use any of these characters in the command: <>'s, [ ]'s, or ( )'s.
  • Using list-address instead of simply list-name in the command
    Make sure when sending a command to a list to use the list-name, rather than the complete list address (i.e., omit "@lists.colorado.edu").
  • Sending emails encoded in HTML
    Make sure HTML encoding is turned off for all messages to ListProc. In other words, send list commands to ListProc in plain text. See the instructions for turning off HTML encoding in the "Why can't I subscribe to a list?" FAQ .
  • The command wraps to another line (or multiple lines)
    ListProc can only process commands that are on one line unless you use '&' at the end of a line. The & tells ListProc to process the next line as part of the same command. Be careful not to use & between separate commands, as this can have disastrous results. When in doubt, contact the IT Service Center at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from a campus phone) or email help@colorado.edu.
Why can't I add or delete multiple subscribers at the same time?

This problem could result from one or more of the following:

  • Incorrectly constructed add/delete command for multiple subscribers

Command to add multiple subscribers:

Command to delete multiple subscribers:

Example of add multiple subscribers command:

Note: ListProc will only process up to 1000 characters in each command and 75 characters per line, which can complicate adding/deleting many subscribers at once. Allowing people to subscribe/unsubscribe themselves greatly reduces the number of problems with managing subscriptions.

  • Trouble with &'s
    The ampersand (&) should be used when one command spans multiple lines. The & tells ListProc to process the next line as part of the same command. Without the &, ListProc may misinterpret your command. However, using & between separate commands can have disastrous results, so use this character carefully. When in doubt, contact the IT Service Center at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from a campus phone) or email help@colorado.edu
  • Incorrect use of { }'s
    When adding multiple subscribers, the add command requires French braces, { }, around each subscriber's address and first and last name, whereas the delete command does not need braces, since it only requires addresses and no names.
  • Problems with ListProc line wraps and command length limit
    See the section regarding line wraps under the "Why can't I add or remove a list subscriber?" FAQ. The maximum number of characters for any command is 1000 characters and 75 characters per line.
  • Bad spacing or illegal characters
    Make sure there is only one space before and one space after '&' if using it in the command. Also, beware of illegal characters in the command such as: <>'s, [ ]'s, or ( )'s.
How do I handle a command that spans more than one line?

The ampersand (&) should be used when one command spans multiple lines. The & tells ListProc to process the next line as part of the same command. Without the &, ListProc may misinterpret your multi-line single command.

Caution! Using & between separate commands can have disastrous results, so use this character carefully. When in doubt, contact the IT Service Center at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from a campus phone) or email help@colorado.edu.

How do I get a list of the recipients of my list?

Use this command:

recipients listname

How can I purge my list of all subscribers?

There are several ways to remove subscribers:

  • Contact OIT to remove all subscribers
    Contact the IT Service Center at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from a campus phone) or email help@colorado.edu.
  • Use the 'put' command to put a blank file in place of the subscriber list
    Be careful with this command because anything after the 'put' command in the email message will be put into the subscriber file, including your email signature, etc., and can cause errors. Thus, make sure the email is empty after this command:

put listname password file

In this case, we are focusing on the subscribers file, so the command would look like:

put listname password subscribers

  • Use the 'edit' command to get a list of current subscribers, and manually edit the list as preferred. Then put the new list in place with the 'put' command
    When using this method, be careful with the 'put' command; make sure to include all fields that ListProc expects for subscribers and nothing else at the bottom of your email.

Get a list of current subscribers:  edit listname password subscribers

Put an edited subscriber list in place:  put listname password subscribers

Be sure to include the correct information for each subscriber, as follows:

For example:

How can I change the configuration of my list?

ListProc offers many configuration options for your list. Below is a basic reference for those configuration options and their functions. All configuration options are set using a similar command construction:

config listname password option

Substitute option above with any of the following options:

Option Description
send-by-subscribers Only subscribers and owners can send to the list
send-by-all Anyone can send to the list
send-by-owners Only owners can send to the list; others can receive messages
open-subscriptions Anyone can subscribe to the list
owner-subscriptions Owners must approve subscription attempts
closed-subscriptions Subscriptions are closed
unmoderated List not moderated
moderated-no-edit List is moderated, but owner can't edit messages
moderated-edit Moderated and owner can edit messages before they go out
delivery-errors-to address Send errors to address instead of list owners
remove-errors-to address Remove address from list of error recipients
 

 

How can I see how my list is configured?

Send this command to ListProc:

review listname

How can I change the ownership of a list?

To replace an owner, you must add the new owner before removing the old one. When adding the new owner, be sure to set the email address exactly as it appears in the owner's outgoing email. If you have trouble removing someone, verify the address that ListProc has for the owner.

To add an owner to a list, use this command:

To remove an owner from the list, use this command:

Example of remove owner command:

How can I get more information about list management commands?

Send the command 'help' to ListProc, which will reply with an extensive listing of available commands. For help with a particular command, send 'help command' to ListProc.

Can I archive my list?

List archiving is not available through ListProc.