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Listserv Reference

Listserv is software designed to facilitate email communication among a group of people who share a common interest. Such groups (known as "mailing lists," "discussion lists," or simply "lists") can be virtually any size and can include members from around the world.

There are thousands of Listserv lists at Regent University, and thousands more worldwide. Some are public and open for anyone to join. Others are private; for example, a list for a specific course at Regent would only be open to students taking the course. Each list has its own unique email address. A message sent to the list's address will be distributed by the Listserv software to all the list's members.

How do I find out what lists are available?

There is a directory of all public LISTSERV lists called CataList that you can use to search for lists throughout the world. You can view just the public Regent lists there also.

How do I send commands to LISTSERV?

You make LISTSERV work for you by sending commands in an email message to the listserv address. At Regent, the LISTSERV address is When sending commands to LISTSERV, type the command in the subject area of the message. Make sure your email is in plain-text format, and that you have turned off any signatures or other features. Your LISTSERV command should be the only thing in the email subject.

How do I subscribe to a Regent list?

Send email to with the command:

subscribe listname your name

Example: subscribe grapevine John Smith

where listname is the name of the list you wish to join, and your name is your full name. (LISTSERV will get your email address from the "From:" address of your email message.)

Note: At Regent, you are subscribed to many lists automatically, such as Allstudents, Allstaff (if you're a staff member), lists for your school, and class lists.

How do I send mail to a list?

To send mail, or "post" to a list, address your email message to the list address:


where listname is the name of the list you are sending the message to. Be sure not to confuse the list address (where you send mail to the people on the list) with the LISTSERV address (where you send commands like subscribe, signoff, etc.).

How do I remove myself from a Regent List?

To remove yourself from a Regent list, send email to with the command:

signoff listname

Example: signoff grapevine

This will only work for public lists. Lists such as allstudents, school lists, and course lists that are automatically updated will have to be changed through the Help Desk or through your school for class lists (once you have dropped a class).

Help! I'm trying to signoff from a list, but LISTSERV is telling me I'm not subscribed. What's wrong?

This can happen if you are using a different email address from the one you used when you originally subscribed to the list. The reason is that LISTSERV only knows you by the "From:" address of the email you send to it when you subscribe. So, when your email address changes, LISTSERV no longer "recognizes" you.

Use your original email address, if possible. If you cannot, contact the list owner. Send email to owner-listname@LISTS.REGENT.EDU (where listname is the name of the list you want to be removed from), and ask for help getting off the list. Or, you can also contact the Help Desk.

How do I temporarily stop receiving list mail if I'm going to be gone for a while?

Send email to with the command:

set listname nomail

To restart your mail, send the following command:

set listname mail

I subscribed to a list but I can't keep up with all the mail. I' m interested in the list and don't want to unsubscribe. Is there anything else I can do?

Yes, you can ask LISTSERV to consolidate the mail into one large daily message. Send email to with the command:

set listname mail digest

Can I see who else is subscribed to a list?

It depends on how the list is set up. Some lists allow it, others don't. Send email to with the command:

review listname

This document provides basic information about owning and managing a Listserv mailing list at Regent University. If you need further assistance, here are some other ways to get it:

  • Check L-Soft's LISTSERV list owner's FAQ.
  • Look it up in the documentation:
    • L-Soft's LISTSERV Manuals - the official LISTSERV documentation direct from the vendor. The QuickStart Guide for New List Owners is a brief tutorial designed for novice list owners, while the List Owner's Manual is a comprehensive reference. Both manuals may be viewed online or downloaded in a variety of word processing formats.
    • Unofficial Listowner Manual - a wealth of information on list ownership; includes step-by-step tutorials, "How-To" guides, tools, tips, and dozens of links to other web resources.
  • Subscribe to LSTOWN-L: LISTSERV list owners' forum - participate in discussions with others whose mailing lists run on L-Soft's LISTSERV software.

List owner duties and responsibilities

The list owner handles all day-to-day maintenance of the mailing list. This includes:

  • adding and removing subscribers for lists other than course lists
  • helping subscribers resolve problems and disputes
  • advertising the existence of the list, if necessary
  • removing bad addresses that cause "bounce notices"
  • monitoring list messages to ensure that subscribers follow the rules and stay on topic
  • making changes to the list header keywords for any desired customization

Sending commands to Listserv

You maintain your list by sending the appropriate command in an email message to the listserv address or using the web interface. At Regent, the listserv address is

It is important that you send all commands from the same email address that is specified as the list owner address when the list was created. Otherwise Listserv will fail to recognize you as the list owner and will not allow the command.

Your personal Listserv password

Listserv requires you to use a personal password for certain list maintenance operations. If you own more than one list, you can use the same personal password for each one. To obtain a personal password, send email to with the command

PW ADD yourpassword

Listserv will ask you to confirm the password by sending you a message and asking you to reply "OK"

If you forget your personal password, send the command


Then send a new PW ADD command to establish a new password.

Adding subscribers to your list

NOTE: Do not manually add subscribers to Regent lists that are controlled by Banner, such as Course Lists, School Lists, or All-Student/All-Staff. Contact the Help Desk if you have questions about Banner-controlled lists.

Don't forget to add yourself to your own list if you wish to receive messages sent to it!

To manually add a subscriber to your list send email to with the command

ADD listname netaddress fullname PW=yourpassword

where listname is the actual name of your list, netaddress is the person's email address, fullname is the person's first and last names, and yourpassword is your personal LISTSERV password (see above). You can send multiple ADD commands in the same message provided that each command begins on a new line.

If your list does not have a subscription setting of "Closed," users may add themselves to the list with the subscribe command.

Removing subscribers from your list

NOTE: Do not manually remove subscribers from Regent lists that are controlled by Banner, such as Course Lists, School Lists, or All-Student/All-Staff. Contact the Help Desk if you have questions about Banner-controlled lists.

To manually delete subscribers from a list, send email to with the command

DELETE listname netaddress PW=yourpassword

where listname is the actual name of your list, netaddress is the email address of the person you are removing, and yourpassword is your personal LISTSERV password.

You can remove everyone from your list using the wildcard character (*) with the command

DELETE listname *@* PW=yourpassword

This will empty your list of all current subscribers. Remember to add yourself to the list again along with all the new subscribers.

Subscribers can remove themselves from your list with the signoff command. This must be sent from the same email account that was used for the original subscription.

Reviewing the list header and subscribers

Send email to with the command

REVIEW listname

Listserv will send you a return email containing a copy of the list header followed by a listing of all the subscribers. If you just want to see the header, use the command

REVIEW listname (SHORT)

Changing your list's header settings

It is possible to alter certain aspects of your list's behavior by changing the keyword settings in the list header. Changing the list header is a two-step process involving two separate LISTSERV commands: GET, to obtain a copy of the header; and PUT, to replace the old header with the revised one.

Step 1: Getting the list header

Send email to with the command

GET listname (HEADER)

Listserv will send you a return email containing the list header preceded by the line:


Step 2: Putting the list header back

After you get the list header in your email, compose a new message addressed to The text of this message should be the list header you just received, beginning with the PUT line. You can either use your email program's Forward command, or cut-and-paste the header into the new message. Then do the following:

  1. Remove any lines that are above the PUT line.
  2. Replace the XXXXXXXX in the PUT command with your personal Listserv password.
  3. Remove any '>' characters your email program inserted in front of any lines
  4. Make the desired changes to the list header.
  5. Send the message containing the modified header to Listserv.

If there were no errors, you will receive a message back from Listserv saying that the header has been successfully replaced.

Creating custom Welcome/Farewell messages

Welcome and Farewell files can be set up to send a personalized message when someone subscribes to or unsubscribes from a list.

  1. Address a new email message to
  2. As the first line of the message, enter the command:
    PUT listname WELCOME PW= yourpassword
    Replace WELCOME with FAREWELL in the command as appropriate. Follow the command with the text of your Welcome or Farewell message.
  3. Send the file to LISTSERV. If everything was done correctly, you will receive a confirmation message from Listserv that your file has been successfully stored.

Below is an example of a very simple WELCOME file. The SUBJECT line is optional; if it is omitted, Listserv places a generic subject line in the mail message.

SUBJECT : Welcome to Marxbros!
Welcome! This is Marxbros, a forum for discussing the Marx Brothers and their films. The list owner is Quincy Adams Wagstaff (

How are class mailing lists created?

Class mailing lists are created through an automatic process by which Banner dumps class roster information into Listserv on a nightly basis. If a student is enrolled in a class at Regent University and their email address is correct within Banner/Genisys, they are automatically subscribed to the class mailing list.

Why am I not on my class mailing list?

Students are automatically subscribed to their respective class mailing lists. These lists are updated nightly based on changes made within Banner/Genisys. If you are taking a class at Regent University but do not appear on the class mailing list please contact your advisor to ensure that you are properly enrolled in the class.

Faculty members are also automatically subscribed to their class mailing list each night based on their faculty assignments in Banner. If a faculty member finds that they are not on the class mailing list they need to contact the registrar's office.

What are the class lists names?

Course lists are named by the course name, section, campus, and the term for individual course sections. For example, the Psychology class 600 section 01 on the main campus for the Fall 2005 semester would have the name PSY600_01_MAT_FA05.

Campus codes are as follows:

MAT: Main Campus, Traditional Classroom Courses
NVT: Northern Virginia, Traditional Classroom Courses
MAD: Distance Education Courses

How can I get a membership listing of who is on my class mailing list?

You can find out who else is subscribed to the same mailing list you are by sending the following email message to

Leave the subject line blank and in the body of the email type the following command: review listname (where listname is the name of the mailing list you are subscribed to).

The message should look like the following:

From: your email address
Subject: review listname

Listserv will reply with a listing of the email addresses of those people who are also subscribed to that mailing list.

How do I contact others on my class mailing list?

In order to send email to be distributed through the mailing list, simply send the email you want to be distributed to (where listname is the name of the mailing list you send the message to). Mail sent to that address will automatically be picked up by Listserv and redistributed to the list of subscribers for that list. Note: you MUST use the full email address of the email list (i.e. mail sent to "listname" will not work, it must be the full address of "").

Who is going to receive the messages I send?

Mail sent to the mailing list address will automatically be distributed by Listserv to everyone who is a subscriber to the list. If you only want to send mail to one or two people, then you must send it directly to their email addresses, otherwise the entire mailing list will read it as well!

When I try to send a message to a class list I get an error message.

There could be a couple of reasons why your message does not reach a class list. First, in order to send a message to a class list, you must be subscribed to that class list. The only way to be subscribed to a particular class list is to be enrolled in the appropriate class and have your proper email address entered within Banner.

Please keep in mind that list information is updated on a nightly basis, so please allow 24 hours or so after Banner is updated. If you are still receiving errors after verifying this information, you should check to make sure you are using the correct email address.

Email to a class list should be addressed to (where listname is the name of the mailing list). For example: mail sent to the list for the course biblical Interpretation in Northern Va. for Fall 2005 would be sent to

If you are still having problems, ask your professor or a classmate to request a list membership listing with the "review listname" command as noted above (How can I get a membership listing of who is on my class mailing list?). If your email address is still not on this list, ask your school enrollment manager to check into it. They can call Computer Services if necessary to help resolve the problem.

I am an instructor but I cannot get a membership listing of who is on my class mailing list nor can I send email to the list.

Faculty members are automatically subscribed to their class mailing list at the beginning of each semester (and updated nightly) by Listserv. If a faculty member finds that they are not on the class mailing list they need to contact the Registrar. You may also need to check with your secretary to make sure you are actually assigned as the instructor for that particular class.

How can I confirm that Banner is giving the correct class information to Listserv?

A course instructor can print out a course roster and email addresses from Genisys.

What happens when you "Reply-To" a list message?

The course lists are designed to be discussion lists - like a virtual classroom. When you reply to a message sent from a list, the default is to send back to the entire course list. However, anyone sending to a course list can override this default simply by explicitly providing a "reply-to" address when sending a message to the list.

Here is an example. A professor sends an email to a course list and has the "Reply-To" option filled out in Outlook. When a student replies, they will be replying to the professor directly, not the list. Conversely, if the professor did not have the "Reply-to" address filled out in the email client, ALL "reply-to" emails will be sent to everyone on the course list.