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Mailing List Services

Mailing List Management Info: How to Use Sympa

How to Log into Sympa, the UVA Mailing List Management Tool

  1. Go to the Sympa mailing list server:
  2. Log into Sympa using the appropriate box:
    • Choose the UVA affiliates box and log in through NetBadge if:
      • You already own, or are subscribed to, a mailing list with the email address Your Computing (e.g.,; or
      • You want to create a mailing list for the first time.
    • Choose the Non-UVA users box to log in instead if:
      • You already own, or are subscribed to, a mailing list with any email address other than Your Computing This includes:
        • Other forms of your UVA email address (e.g.,; or
        • A UVA email alias (e.g., or; or
        • A non-UVA email address (e.g.,; or
        • Other UVA mailing lists that function as the owner of this mailing list.
      • Note: You may need to click the Lost Password link if you don’t remember the password for your non-UVA login.
  3. After logging in, you will see the name(s) of any mailing lists that you subscribe to with this email address, and any that are owned by this email address.

Change the Configuration of an Existing Mailing List

There are many customized configurations you may want to set for your mailing list(s) in Sympa. Below are instructions on how to do 2 common types of desired configuration changes.

Change List to Moderated or Subscriber Only

To change your list to moderated, or to set it so only subscribers are allowed to post to the list (as opposed to anyone, which can be easily spammed):

  1. Log into Sympa. (If needed, see how to log into Sympa.)
  2. On the lower left, beside the name of the list you would like to change, click on admin.
  3. Click the Edit List Config link; then click the Sending/Reception link.
  4. In the first box at the top of the page, Who can send messages, make your selection from the dropdown menu:
    • Choose Moderated (editorkey) for a list that you want to keep moderated.
    • Choose Restricted to subscribers (default) to keep non-subscribers from sending to the list.
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Update button.

Review List Membership

To review your list membership:

  1. Log into Sympa. (If needed, see how to log into Sympa.)
  2. On the lower left, beside the name of the list you would like to change, click on admin.
  3. Then click on Manage Subscribers. Or, just click Review Members at the bottom.
  4. Check members’ email listing to ensure they can send mail to the list.
    • Users may be subscribed with multiple addresses (e.g., Computing, Computing, etc.) and so may appear multiple times.
    • Those listed with “nomail” in the Reception column are “From” addresses, which are allowed to post to the list, but that email address will not receive its own copy of the message.

Creating a List: Mailing List Types

At UVA, there are 4 preconfigured mailing list types, each with 2 options: archiving and non-archiving.

About Public Discussion Lists

  • Best for: open communication among subscribers and others
  • Who can subscribe/post: anyone, even if they are not a subscribed member of the list (Note: This type of list is easily spammed by outsiders)
  • Archives: can be turned on or off

About Notification Lists

  • Best for: distribution of announcements to subscribers
  • Who can subscribe/post: anyone, but administrator/moderator approves distribution of messages
  • Archives: can be turned on or off

About Contact Address Lists

  • Best for: use as a public point of contact, such as an email address listed as a contact on a webpage or brochure
  • Who can subscribe/post: The administrator/moderator approves subscriptions to the list, and anyone can send, even if not subscribed as a member
  • Archives: can be turned on or off

About Members Only Lists

  • Best for: encouraging communication among list subscribers
  • Who can subscribe/post: administrator/moderator approves subscriptions, and subscribers can send without moderation, but non-subscriber messages are moderated
  • Archives: can be turned on or off

Note: All of the features of lists are configurable after the initial list creation for administrators under the Admin menu, except for archiving. To change this feature, you must write to

Creating a List: Mailing List Name Requirements

With Sympa, mailing lists can be created instantly, without waiting for postmaster processing. Just log into Sympa and create your list. Listserv requirements:

  • At least one of list owner(s) must be affiliated with the University (with an email address ending in;
  • The list name must not currently be in use; and
  • Its name must not contain any spaces, accents, or special characters, or any of the following words:
    • -request
    • -editor
    • -owner
    • -subscribe
    • -unsubscribe

Note: A post-audit process is used for the naming of lists. This is the same process that has been in use with email aliases at UVA: if someone complains about your choice of mailing list name, the situation will be reviewed. The UVA Postmaster will then determine whether the name may remain with your list, or not.

Deleting/Closing a Mailing List

Mailing lists are closed in 2 ways: at the request of the owner, or due to inactivity.

Either way, the name of a closed mailing list goes into a 2-year quarantine, so no other list can use the same name as the deleted list. After 2 years, the name becomes again available for assignment to another list.

Closing a List at the Request of the List Owner(s)

Sympa list owners may close their own lists, and need not send a request to close a list to the Postmaster. A closed list no longer works, but the list name/alias will stay active for 4 months.

Before closing your list, you may want to download its archives—if you want to keep them—for off-list storage.

After a mailing list has been closed:

  • If someone sends to the list, s/he will get a reply from Sympa that informs them the list is closed.
  • The list can be restored up to 4 months later by writing to
  • The list name will be put in “cooldown” mode in the UVA Email Address Management System (AMS) after 4 months, and has a 2-year quarantined period before someone else can create another lists by that name.
  • The list and archives will be kept on the system for 12 months, after which all will be deleted. At that point, there is no way to recover the archives.

Closing a List Due to Inactivity

If a list is inactive for 12 months, a message will be sent to the list owner warning them that the list will be closed the following month (during month 13 of inactivity).

If the list does not become active during that month and it is closed, the list configuration and archives will be deleted, and the list name will be put into a 2-year quarantine, as described above.

A Note about Large (over 1,000 IDs) Sympa Mailing Lists

When a Sympa mailing list has more than 1,000 members, all messages to the list must be moderated (held for review before distribution to the list members) and must be distributed outside the hours 9AM to 5PM (inclusive) Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. The sending of these messages also needs to be coordinated with prior to the distribution of the message to the list members.

Need Help Using Sympa for Listserv Management?

If you need assistance beyond this page in using Sympa:

  Page Updated: Tuesday 2016-04-19 14:36:42 EDT