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Subscription Option Settings
Subscription Type
Mail Header Style
Web interface:
List selection
New account

Subscription Option Settings

For a more comprehensive reference on all LISTSERV option settings (including how to set options by mail), please see the section on How To Set Your Subscription Options in the General User's Guide to LISTSERV.

Subscription Type

  • Regular

    With a "regular" subscription, you receive individual postings immediately, as they are processed by LISTSERV.

  • Digest (traditional)
  • Digest (MIME format)
  • Digest (HTML format)

    With a "digest" subscription, you receive larger messages (called "digests") at regular intervals, usually once per day or once per week. These "digests" are collections of individual list postings. Some lists are so active that they produce several digests per day.

    Digests are a good compromise between reading everything as it is posted and feeling like the list is clogging your mailbox with a multitude of individual postings.

    There are three digest formats: a "traditional", text-only format; a MIME format, which (with mail clients that understand MIME digests) "bursts" the individual messages out of the digest so that you can read them separately; and an HTML format, which requires an HTML mail clients.

  • Index (traditional)
  • Index (HTML format)

    With an "index" subscription, you receive short "index" messages at regular intervals, usually once per day or once per week. These "indexes" show you what is being discussed on the list, without including the text of the individual postings. For each posting, the date, the author's name and address, the subject of the message and the number of lines is listed. You can then download messages of interest from the server (the index contains instructions on how to do that).

    An index subscription is ideal if you have a slow connection and only read a few hand-picked messages. The indexes are very short and you do not have to worry about long download times. The drawback of course is that you need to reconnect to order messages of interest from the server.

    You can choose to have the index sent to you in either a traditional format (plain text) or in HTML format with hyperlinks.

Mail Header Style

  • Normal LISTSERV-style header

    "Full" mail headers (normally the default), containing Internet routing information, MIME headers, and so forth.

  • LISTSERV-style, with list name in subject

    "Full" mail headers (like the default) except that a "subject tag" is added to the subject line of mail coming from the list. If there is no subject tag defined in the list's configuration, the name of the list will be used. This can be very useful for sorting and filtering mail.

  • LISTSERV-style, short (advanced option)

    These headers are similar to the normal LISTSERV-style header except that Internet routing information and MIME headers are removed.

  • "Dual" (second header in mail body)

    Dual headers are regular short headers followed by a second header inside the message body. This second header shows what list the message is coming from ('Sender:'), the name and address of the person who posted it ('Poster:'), the poster's organization, if present, and the message subject. Dual headers are helpful if your mail client does not preserve the original return e-mail address.

  • sendmail-style (advanced option)

    This option selects sendmail-style headers, i.e. an exact copy of the original, incoming mail header with the addition of a 'Received:' line and of a 'Sender:' field. Some technical people prefer this type of header.


  • No acknowledgements

    LISTSERV will not send any acknowledgement at all when you post to the list. This is probably not a good setting unless you really do not want any feedback from LISTSERV as to whether or not your posting was received and distributed.

  • Short message confirming receipt

    Typically this is the default setting, although it can be overridden by the list owner. If you choose this setting, LISTSERV will send you a short message whenever you post to the list, confirming the distribution of your message and telling you how many people it was sent to.

  • Receive copy of own postings

    Some people prefer this setting over the short acknowledgement message. It tells LISTSERV to send you a copy of your own postings, so that you can see exactly how it appeared on the list (useful if you are behind an unreliable gateway or firewall).


  • Mail delivery disabled temporarily

    This option toggles the receipt of mail from the list. You may want to disable mail delivery if you will be away from your mail for an extended period of time.

  • Address concealed from REVIEW listing

    This option conceals you from the list of subscribers shown by the REVIEW command. Note that the list owner and the LISTSERV administrator can always get the complete list of subscribers, regardless of this setting. Nowadays, most lists are configured so that only the list owner can use the REVIEW command, but some lists still allow subscribers to get a listing of all the other participants.


For lists with topics enabled (if the Topics: section of the form is not visible, topics are not enabled), this section allows you to subscribe or unsubscribe to all, some, or none of the available topics.

General layout of the Web interface pages

The Web interface pages are laid out in 4 or all of the following 5 sections:

  • The top banner: a colored bar spanning the top of the page.
    On the left end of the top banner is the L-Soft logo, which acts as a link to L-Soft's main Web page.
    The top banner may be modified or replaced by the hosting site to coordinate with the rest of the site.

  • The bottom banner: a colored bar spanning the bottom of the page.

    On the left end of the bottom banner is the domain name of the LISTSERV server, which is a link back to the main Web interface page.

    On the right end of the bottom banner is a set of logos that act as links to their respective sites:
    Powered by LISTSERV
    The "Powered by LISTSERV®" logo links to LISTSERV documentation and other helpful information.
    The CataList logo is always present and leads to the Catalog of public LISTSERV lists.
    Secured by F-Secure
    If the LISTSERV server has virus protection enabled, the "Secured by F-Secure" logo is present.
    Other logos linking to site-relevant information may also be added here by the site administrator.

  • The navigation panel: an area on the left side, between the top and bottom banners, containing links to other sections of the Web interface. On some pages, the navigation panel includes data entry items that control what is shown in the main area of the Web page. See below for more information on the navigation panel.

  • The list selection area: an area at the top of the page, just below the top banner, which allows you to select or enter the list you want to work with. This area only appears on pages where it is necessary to select a list. See below for more information on list selection.

  • The main area: the largest area on the page, to the right of the navigation panel, below the top banner and the list selection area (if it exists), and above the bottom banner.

    The main area contains the text, reports, and/or data entries that constitute the purpose of the Web page.

Navigating the Web interface pages

The navigation panel may be divided into a few sections denoted by horizontal lines.

  • The top section is always the title of the page you are currently viewing.

  • The next section includes general navigation links, which may include any of the following (depending on the context):

    Subscriber's Corner An interface where subscribers can log in, view and manipulate all their subscriptions on the server. A subscriber may subscribe to available lists, change subscription settings, and sign off from any list.
    Server Archives The main index page for the server's archive pages. This page contains links to the main Web archive page for each of the lists on the server that is not set to Confidential=Yes.
    List Archives A link to the current list's archives page. This link is only available on pages where a specific list has been selected. The presence of the link does not guarantee that the archives exist.
    List Management The main list management page. Accessible only to list owners and site administrators.
    List Moderation The main list moderation page. Accessible only to list moderators and site administrators.
    Server Management The main site management page. Accessible only to site administrators.
    Help A general help window for the page you are viewing.
    Log off This link resets (deletes) your login cookie from your browser. It is not usually necessary to log off. If you do not log off, your login cookie will remain set in your browser and you will not need to keep logging in. There are two cases where you should log off when you are done: 1) you are logging in from a shared computer, and you do not want others using the same computer to access the LISTSERV server using your account, or 2) you wish to access the same LISTSERV server from multiple accounts.

    If you log off, then the next time you try to access restricted pages, you will be required to log in again. When you log in, it is recommended that you select the login option that allows you to create a cookie. If you do not set a cookie when logging in, you will be required to keep logging in every 15 minutes or whenever you use the "Back" button in your browser to back out of a previous login.

  • Specific Web interface pages may have one or more other sections related to the specific Web page you are viewing. Always check the navigation panel on each page for data entry forms and helpful links.

Selecting a list to work with

Some Server Management and List Management pages allow a site manager or a list owner to work with a single list. On those pages, the area below the top banner is dedicated to selecting the list to work with.

If the logged-in user is only allowed to work with one list, that list is pre-selected and the "list selection" area is merely a title area containing the name of the list.

If there are more than one list that the user is allowed to work with, the text box is replaced with a pull-down menu from which the listname may be selected. There are also some options for controlling the items in the pull-down menu(s):

Narrow Selection

The selection of lists that appear in the drop-down list box may be narrowed by typing a text string into the "Narrow Selection" box. For example, if you have a particular group of lists that you want to query that all contain the text "SALES" in the list name, type "SALES" into the box and click "Submit". This will narrow the lists displayed to lists such as

and so forth. Note that the interface automatically expands "SALES" to "*SALES*". Wildcards are not otherwise supported.

Items per Menu

Entering a numeric value in this text box limits the number of lists that are displayed at one time. If there are 18 lists on the server and you limit the number of lists to be displayed at once to 3, the first three lists will appear in the drop-down list box along with a "choice bar" underneath it that allows you to switch between groups of three lists; for instance, "[A-B][D-E] [F-J] [M-N] [N-R] [S-U] [Next]". The default is 50.

Obtaining a login account and password

Anyone can obtain an account on any LISTSERV server. Your account identification is always your e-mail address, and your password merely confirms that you are the owner of that e-mail address.

To associate a password with your e-mail address, follow the "get a new LISTSERV password" link found on the login screen. Enter your e-mail address and the password you wish to use in the fields provided. Then press the "Register Password" button.

LISTSERV then sends a message to the e-mail address you entered. You must respond to the e-mail message as directed in the message. If you do not respond, the password will not be set. This guarantees that you cannot register a password for an e-mail address that does not exist or belongs to someone else.

Privileges associated with each account are tied to the e-mail address. Site administrators can assign certain privileges, such as list ownership, to certain addresses. List owners can assign list specific privileges to certain addresses. For example, a list owner may decide that the list archives are to be accessible only by list subscribers: anyone trying to view the archives is required to login and if the e-mail address used for logging in is not subscribed to the list, access will be denied. Thus, registering an account does not grant you any special privileges on the LISTSERV server: it merely allows you to use the LISTSERV Web interface to perform the tasks that have been granted to your e-mail address by the site administrator or the list owner.

A note about browsers: the LISTSERV Web Interface looks and works best with browsers that support HTML 4.01 (for example Internet Explorer version 5.0 or later and Netscape version 6.0 or later). It functions adequately with earlier versions, but some (non-essential) features may be missing. If you plan to use this interface extensively, it is strongly recommended that you upgrade or switch to a browser that supports HTML version 4.01. The browser you use must support tables and forms as these are used throughout the interface.

For example, earlier versions do not support the "disabled" attribute on a form "type=submit" input button. If you access the list management wizard without specifying which list to manage, the "Update" buttons are disabled. With a browser that supports HTML 4.01, you cannot press the disabled Update button. With earlier versions, it might be possible to press the Update button, but you will get an error stating that there is no list to update. No harm is done, but it makes for a less satisfactory experience.

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