USING Mailing Lists and E-Mail Addresses

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Mailing Lists

Getting started


Q: Is there anything like a "getting started with mailing lists" guide?

A: Yes, there is. Unsurprisingly it is called "mailing list etiquette". Although it will be difficult to convince you to read this document we are equally convinced it will really make things MUCH easier for you and the people you get into contact with. Despite that many people will even EXPECT that you read this general introduction into the good way to use mailing lists (there are a hundred bad ways!) before you do your first posts. People might even get angry with you if you haven't put your time into this and behave in an disturbing way without even knowing you do so. So: give it a go! It is quick to read and a one time short novel.

Contacting List Administrators

Q: I'm running into trouble with a specific mailing list, how can I get help?

A: Get in touch with the mailing list admin first. You can reach her/him by adding -owner after the name of the mailing list and be before the @ in the posting address of the mailing list. For example, to contact the admin of the imc-uganda mailing list, send email to

If the list administrator cannot help you or doesn't reply within a week, get in touch with listwork instead.



Q: Which mailing lists are there?

A: Most mailing lists related to Indymedia are listed on Some mailing lists which are hosted on are not listed there for privacy reasons. Some mailing lists which are related to Indymedia but not hosted on are also listed on this page. These are marked by "[off site]". when clicking on them, you will be forwarded to the server which runs them.


Q: How do I subscribe a mailing list?

A: This is much easier than one might expect.

  1. Direct your web browser to
  2. Click on the name of the mailing list you wish to subscribe to.
  3. Enter your email address at the bottom of that list info page.
  4. Follow the directions on the next page.


Q: How can I unsubscribe from mailing list X?

A: This is much easier than one might expect.

  1. Direct your web browser to
  2. Click on the name of the mailing list you wish to remove yourself from.
  3. Enter your email address at the bottom of that list info page.
  4. Follow the directions on the next page.


Private information disclosed publicly

Q: Why did you publish my email address and my personal information on your website?

A: This often happens because Indymedia - as many other projects and institutions on the internet - has many public email list archives. If you send email to one of our mailing lists it will often be stored in a publicly accessible mailing list archive.

For this reason we ask you NOT to send private information like secret email addresses, your place of living, photos of your last boyfriend or copies of your driver license to any of the mailing lists hosted with Indymedia without having checked it is indeed a private mailing list with no public list archive. Also, if you want to be anonymous, you will need to make sure that your email address is not publically associated with you as a person. The easiest way to do this is to set up a free email account which is not related to your name, date of birth, place of living and which you use only for communication within the Indymedia context.

Generally many of us think that having open lists is a very important part of having an open organisation. For this reason, you, by sending a message to our public lists or their list admins and moderators, implictly grant permission to use them under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, meaning they may be passed on freely (et al.). The benefit of this policy is that it will allow the archives of this list to be used to create a "ListOwner's Manual for GNU Mailman" (GNU Mailman being the software we use to run and maintain the mailing lists) and other interesting literature.

Post removal off list archives

Q: I just sent in my phone number, bank account information, address, PIN, and cousin's birthday to a publicly archived mailing list. Can you please remove my post off its archives?

A: Hmm, sending that kind of info to a mailing list (esp. one that's publically archived) is not a really a good idea. But hey, when you are here, you already know that, don't you?

Fear not, posts to public IMC lists can be removed off the list archives. Please send an email to the mailing list admin of the corresponding mailing list. Their email address is given on the lists' info page which can be reached via State that you need a post hidden and note down all the list archive URLs of the emails you want removed (please don't waste list admins' time by making them guess!).

When doing so, do not resend the sensitive information itself! Your request might end up on a publically archived mailing lists such as the "listwork" mailing list. So if you want a phone number removed, be sure that phone number does not show up in the email you send.

Sometimes list admins do not respond to your email. If this happens and you do not receive a response within a week, please just retry (emails can be incorrectly flagged as spam, missed otherwise or accidentially deleted sometimes, and list admins are normal humans who may go on holidays sometimes) and resend your request to them. Should you fail twice, or if it's a really urgent matter, please get in touch with listwork instead. Check below for more information.

Post removal off Internet caches (search engines et al.)

Q: I asked you to remove my email off the internet last week, but it's still on Google. Please remove it!

A: Thanks for your kind inquisiti...umm inquiry. As much of the WWW, Indymedias mailing list archives are indexed by search engines, too. If your post to a public mailing list has already been found by their web spiders, you may want to have it removed off their archives (caches) as well.

Please note that this process is in no way under control or influence of any Indymedia working group. We do not have write access to Yahoogles web cache and it doesn't currently seem like this is going to happen anytime soon. And there may be many other people and organizations who have made a copy of your post which even we are not aware of. In other words, you're on your own, and please reconsider pushing the 'Send' button that fast next time.

For your convenienance, we will try to collect some experiences here we made ourselves, though. Note that this information may get outdated without us being aware (if you are, please drop us a line!) and are surely incomplete.

Usually, many search engines will remove cached copies of web pages which no longer exist off their cache automatically. However, they will not immediately remove the information off their caches. This means that - for a couple of days up to about four weeks - your mailing list post and the information it contains will still be searchable on the internet and reviewable on search engines' public caches.

In some cases, there are ways to reduce this lag. Read the service' FAQs to learn how:




The Internet Archive / Wayback Machine:


Note that there are more services which generate and store partial copies of WWW content, many of which will index (or cooperate with others who do), and some of which may provide partial or full cached copies, either to the general public or just to paying subscribers. In other words, you will likely not succeed in removing all copies of what you once posted to the Internet, as there will be some neither you nor us are aware of.

Access to tar.gz archives

Currently, it's not possible to access the *.tar.gz archive files of public mailing lists by following the links in the archives. You can, however, access these archives by changing the URL and logging in using your mailing list subscription credentials.

Example: If the original archive URL is
then the fixed URL which will actually work is this:

Finding old posts

Q: I am looking for an email which I received along one of the Indymedia mailing lists. How can I find it?

A: While we are experimenting with our own search engine, it is not currently usable. At this time you can try searching using one of the commercial search engines on the internet, Google, Yahoo and AlltheWeb for example. Please be advised that the search results returned by these search engines are filtered and thus may not return all results for your search terms., a non-commercial search engine, may provide a search facility for Indymedia mailing list archives in the future, so keep an eye on this.

Reading old mailing lists

Q: I know there used to be some mailing list covering a specific topic, but it seems to be no longer there, can you help?

A: Listwork 'graveyards' old mailing list which have public archives so that everyone can have a look at them even though they are no longer active. Please have a look at for an overview of these old lists.


Reducing E-Mail Load

Q: I'm swamped with email, I want to stay up on things, but I still want to receive less email, is this possible?

Yes, for practically every list you can switch to a digest version of the list for yourself. All you have to do is to go to your list preferences and change it so you get the digest option. In order to do that, direct your web browser to the Indymedia mailing lists overview and click on the name of the list you want to change to digest format.

Once you have loaded this page, go to the bottom of the page where you will see a box and a button that reads "Edit Options", just above this it will read:

To change your subscription (set options like digest and delivery modes, get a reminder of your password, or unsubscribe from imc-tech), enter your subscription email address:

Fill in your email address where you get this list sent. Then click "Edit Options" you will then be brought to a page where you can change various options for your subscription. You will need your password that you received when you signed up for the list. If you do not have this password, don't worry! One of the options is to have your password mailed to you. Once you know your password, click the button under "Set Digest Mode", enter your password on the bottom of the page and then click "Submit my changes".


Reporting bugs

Q: I received an error when accessing one of the mailing list pages. Can you fix it?

A: Generally: Yes, we can. So please tell us about it. To do so, send an email to Inform us that you hit an error page and note down what you were trying to do when you got the error. We also need the name of the mailing list this refers to, even better would be the URL out of your browsers' address line. If further detail was given on the error page in your browser then please copy and paste this, too. We will then investigate further and try to correct this.

E-Mail Addresses


Q: Can you setup a email address for me?

A: Yes. All the cool kids have email addresses. And we don't even chanrge them sweets for it. But we do not host email accounts/postboxes. We can only forward mail sent to to your current personal email account. Usually your ISP gives you one for free. If they don't, or for -possibly- improved privacy, choose a free email provider. There are thousands all over the world.

Please send an email to and note down your current email address where you want the email address to forward to. We will then set it up for you and let you know when it is ready to forward your mail.


Incoming and Outgoing Mail Servers

Q: What do I need to enter into the incoming mail server (POP3/IMAP) and outgoing mail server (SMTP) in my email application?

A: We do not host email accounts/postboxes. We can only forward mail sent to to your current personal email account. For information on the servers used to receive your email off this account, please contact your provider.

Sending email from

Q: I'm puzzled. You say I cannot have a real email account with you but I still see that people send email using email addresses. But this only works if you have an account!

A: There are some email service providers who allow you to use specify any or a sender address, even though you're sending from a different mail domain. Please ask your email provider whether or not they allow it and how to set it up.


Q: I need to change the email address my email address points to. How can this be done?

A: We can do this for you. Send an email to and tell us which email address you want to point to in the future. If you can, please send this email from the email address/account you used to have email forwarded to. Alternatively, use an email address which you have been using in the Indymedia context in the past. Please also state which other email address your email address currently points to. We need this information to verify that you are actually entitled to request this change.


Q: I don't need my email address anymore. Can you please remove it?

A: Sure. Please send an email to and tell us which email address you want removed. If you can, please send this email from the email address/account your email address is currently forwarding email to. Alternatively, use an email address which you have been using in the Indymedia context in the past to send your email. We need this information to verify that you are actually entitled to request the removal.

Spam, viruses and abuse

Complete headers

Q: Someone told me to send him the "complete header lines" of the email I received. What is this and how do I do that?

A: Each email which has been sent via the internet contains not only the message text (called "email body") but also some sort of meta information, called the "email header". Some of this info will be common to you: "From", "To", "CC", "Subject". Each of these entries is passed to your computer on a single line.

But this is only a small amount of the data passed beside the email body. In fact, there is often a lot more which is commonly not displayed by your email application or webmail provider. As you may know, email is not send directly from the sender to the recipient but passes several mail servers on its way through the internet. Everytime it is received by another mail server in the path it takes, this mail server makes a note in the emails header lines.

Here is an example of what this looks like:
Received: from (HELO (
  by (mx017) with SMTP; 20 Oct 2003 05:29:30 +0200

These lines are extremely important to understand what went wrong when an email was sent and who really sent it. It is very easy to fake the "From"-line of an email as it shows up in your email application or webmail account but faking these header lines is more difficult. For both reasons we may ask you to copy and paste the complete header lines of the email you received.

Please have a look at this website which explains very well how to get to see all the header lines.

File attachments, viruses

Q: What is this file you sent me for?

A: We did not send you this file. Yes, it may say it comes from us, but if it does, this is a fake. It is quite easy to fake the sender address of an email, many virii do that and try to trick you into infecting your PC that way. So if you received a file with an attachment and ran this attachment (e.g. by double-clicking it), it is possible that your PC is now infected with a virus.

To make sure you are safe, check your PC with a virus scanner regularly and make sure this virus scanner gets its virus signatures / detection patterns updated regularly, too. You can download a free anti-virus scanner for multiple operating systems called ClamAV. In case you run W*ndows, get ClamMail and/or ClamWin instead.

Please keep in mind that, at the time of writing, all of these virus scanners lack support for so-called On-Access scanning, a very useful functionality (if you are running an operating system which is prone to many viruses such as Windows) which most commercial Anti-Virus softwares provide. On the other hand, this allows it to be installed in addition to another virus scanner if you wish to do so. You cannot do this with on-access virus scanners.

Other virus scanners which are proprietary, commercial, but still free for personal use in non-commercial environments at the time of writing, and which provide on-access scanning functionality, are AntiVir Personal Edition Classic, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition and avast! Home Edition. A comparison of established anti-virus software is available at Choose wisely.

Indymedia tech support (if there is such) will never ever send you files via email. If you do receive emails which say they come from Indymedia tech support and have files attached, then, even if the email adress seems to be correct, these emails are fakes and the attached files are viruses.

Contact & other

Q: I have a different question concerning the USE of a mailing list which is not answered here. Is there another place?

A: Yes. Have a look at the list member manual of GNU Mailman, our mailing list server software. If this still does not answer your question, please send your question to
Topic revision: r15 - 08 Mar 2010, AlsteR
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