Mailing lists & mailing list terms explained

The University's mailing list software

Sympa is the mailing list software used at the University. A mailing list lets you email a large number of recipients in a controlled way. It has lots of options for listowners so we have tried to give advice on the ones normally used.



An owner (or listowner) is generally the person that creates the list. Their role is:

  • To define the way the list will be used
  • To write a list charter for subscribers
  • To appoint one or more moderators
  • To manage subscriptions
  • To decide whether it is relevant to put a shared document web space at the subscribers' disposal
  • To answer questions from subscribers and potential subscribers about the list

Please note: a list can have several owners (each list should have at least two) and all should assigned the Privileged profile.


Moderators are appointed by the list owner and are in charge of ensuring the relevancy of messages sent to the list. After reading all messages, moderators can decide to accept or to reject them. Rejection of a message may be followed by a notice to the sender to explain the reason for rejection. A list can have one or more moderators. Owners also act as moderators.


A subscriber is anybody set up to receive messages from a list. They can decide how they receive email, read list archives and unsubscribe from lists.