Subscribing to lists & checking subscriptions

Subscribing to mailing lists

To subscribe to a mailing list using email:

Subscribe by email
Screenshot: subscribe by email.
  1. Open the email account with which you want to subscribe to the list.
  2. Compose a message to
  3. In the subject line of your email, type subscribe listname (replace 'listname' with the name of the list you want to subscribe to).
  4. Leave the message body blank (this includes removing any signature you have set up).
  5. Send the email.

You can subscribe to the same list with several email addresses, but you will need to redo the whole process with a different email address. You can send several commands in a single message. The Email commands page lists all available commands.

Please note: choose an address that you can check frequently and which offers a large storage capacity for your email - some lists distribute many messages, sometimes with large attachments.

To subscribe to a list using the web interface:

Subscribe using the web interface
Screenshot: subscribe using the web interface.
  1. Go to the Mailing List homepage and log on.
  2. Go to the information page of the list you want to subscribe to.
  3. In the left menu, click on Subscribe.
  4. In the Subscription page, enter you email address and click Submit.
Enter your email address and click Submit
Screenshot: enter your email address and click Submit.

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What happens next?

You will receive a message informing you as to whether your request has been accepted - if subscription to the list is subject to approval, the list owner may choose not to subscribe you. If your subscription is declined, do not send more subscription requests for the same list as the result will remain the same. You can send a message directly to the list owner ( to explain why you want to subscribe to the list.

Please note: you may be asked to confirm your subscription request before it can be processed. If so, please conform to the instructions contained in the message you receive.

According to the type of list and depending on the availability of the list owner you may not receive a response immediately. In this instance, please do not send more requests.

If your request is accepted, the message you receive confirms your subscription to the list. This message (the list Charter) contains several pieces of essential information:

  • Your list password, which is the same for all the lists you subscribed to with a single email address. You can change this password online after logging on.
  • Detailed information about the list, such as its purpose, the Internet address at which the message archive is available, and so on.
  • The rules applying to the list and its members, such as allowed and forbidden topics, netiquette issues, legal information, privacy policy, and so on.

Please note: you should keep your subscription notice because you may need it later to remember your password or to send a precise command to Sympa (e.g. the signoff command). More generally, you are advised to keep all of your subscription notices to mailing lists.

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Checking your subscriptions

When you log on on the Mailing lists service homepage the Your lists section on the left side of the window lists all the lists that you are subscribed to, including a short description for each of them.

To look at a list information page:

  1. Go to the Mailing List homepage and log on.
  2. Click on the required list's name in the Your lists section.
The Your Lists panel
Screenshot: the 'Your Lists' panel.

From this information page that this opens, you can:

  • Change your subscriber options
  • Read the list archive
  • Search in the message archive
  • Send new messages
  • Download documents from the shared document web space
  • Upload documents in the shared document web space
  • Review members of the list (if available)
  • Unsubscribe from the list

The number of people subscribed to the list is permanently displayed in the left menu. If access has been allowed by the list owner to review the list members, click on Review members. The subscribers list displays and shows the email address and name of each of the subscribers. By default, each page displays 25 subscribers. You can browse through the pages by using the browsing arrows or display more subscribers per page. You may also wish to sort subscribers according to their email address, domain or name by clicking on the corresponding column header.

Please note: although the names of the list owners and moderators are displayed in the left menu, you should never write directly to a list owner or moderator. If you want to ask a question or make a comment, you should use (replace 'listname' by the name of the list in question).

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