Mailing lists - General introduction

What is a mailing list?

A mailing list is a distribution list allowing a group of subscribers to receive email messages sent to the list.

Announcements lists allow subscribers to receive messages such as newsletters or announcements. With this type of mailing list, the list postings are made only by designated senders.

Discussion lists allow all subscribers to take part in exchanges. In most discussion lists, messages are transmitted to subscribers directly. In a moderated discussion list, messages are transmitted to the members only after approval by a moderator. This ensures that subscribers will not receive off-topic messages.


A mailing list service allows you to:

Roles and responsibilities

A mailing list service involves several types of roles:

  • owner;
  • moderator;
  • subscriber.


A list may have more than one owner. The owner or owners are responsible for the list. The owner role:


For moderated lists, moderators (sometimes called editors) are appointed by the list owner. Moderators control the relevancy of the messages sent to the list. After reading a message for the list, they choose to distribute the message to the list members or not.


Subscribers are list members who receive mail from lists. They are expected to use the list for purpose intended.