McMaster University



University Technology Services provides two mailing list applications. The Electronic Distribution List application (EDL) is a simple to use mailing list application. MailMan Mailing List Services provides more sophisticated features. Both applications are available for use by faculty and staff at McMaster University in support of research, instruction and administration. McMaster Student Union sanctioned student clubs may also use the mailing list applications. UTS at McMaster University does not provide mailing list services to students or to members of the Internet community.

UTS has a responsibility to ensure these resources are being used responsibly, and must be in a position to take immediate corrective action should a problem occur. UTS will support mailing lists that meet the following criteria:

  • A McMaster faculty, continuing staff member or MSU approved Club representative is designated as the List Owner and assumes ownership and responsibility for the operation of the list.
  • MSU club lists must be renewed annually.
  • List owner email addresses must belong to a real person and are not generic email accounts.
  • As the designated List Owner you will:
    • Moderate lists (in Mailman) or keep lists closed (in EDL) that have over one hundred subscribers to ensure that no mail bombing or virus alerts are sent to the entire group thereby affecting machine performance
    • Moderators will release non-urgent email messages before 8:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, where the number of subscribers exceeds one hundred
    • Not archive information on MailMan resources unless the list is an academic course list. Non academic archives will be billed at the current disk space fee
    • Add and Delete list members and track down address changes.
    • Where appropriate, inform list members of appropriate email conduct, how to contact you as the List Owner and enforce mailing list or posting policies.
    • Remove list members who use the mailing list to violate the McMaster University Computer User Code of Ethics or who repeatedly violate your posting policies.
    • Answer enquiries from and provide assistance to list members.
    • Answer enquiries from and provide assistance and training to casual and temporary McMaster staff members (Student TAs, Student instructors, Replacement staff) who you or your department hires as second List Owners to help run mailing lists. Example: All temporary staff should be made aware of this and related policies.
    • Find and train a new List Owner to assume responsibility for the mailing list before you change departments, job positions or leave McMaster. If your department no longer wants the list or if there is no one to assume this role, you must delete the Mailing List.
    • Manage list archives, if they exist. To ensure adequate disk space for everyone, we ask all List Owners to keep their archives to a single year. Non academic list archives will routinely be deleted without notice unless special arrangements are made through UTS.
    • Immediately resolve complaints from off campus sites regarding problems with the operation of their list and/or problems with list members.
    • Read mail regularly, preferably daily, to track down and remove e-mail addresses which are no longer valid and which bounce off McMaster machines and sites on the Internet.
    • When absent, the List Owner must ensure that an alternate List Owner performs the above tasks.
  • The list furthers one of the purposes of McMaster University: education, research, or teaching.
  • Student Mailing lists used for teaching purposes or be a MSU sanctioned club.
  • Use of the list must conform with the McMaster University Computer User Code of Conduct and is subject to all other McMaster University policies. For example, copyright violations, commercial advertising, e-mail harassment, chain letters, SPAMing, etc., are strictly forbidden. Because of the pervasive nature of e-mail lists and the ease with which e-mail can be distributed to hundreds or more addresses quickly, the use of electronic mail distribution lists facilities to violate McMaster and network acceptable use policies will result in the immediate shutdown of a mailing list.
  • In cases where a Listowner is made aware of a defamatory statement posted on a list, it is the responsibility of the Listowner to remove the statement. The University does not intend to censor information but if the content of a list is defamatory and the Listowner is notified of this, there is an obligation on the part of the Listowner to remove the cited content. In cases where this action is not taken, the Listowner or potentially the University if the Listowner is an employee, may be held liable.

Information and Guidelines

In situations where the stored information is interfering with normal operations of the computer system or network, UTS will notify the List Owner that the list has been suspended. UTS will shut down the list if the problem is not corrected promptly. Mailing lists are suspended when stored incoming mail creates disk space problems for UTS equipment mail spool area or when the volume of emails being sent cause problems on UTS managed machines.

UTS is not responsible for finding new List Owners to assume responsibility for existing lists nor is it possible for UTS to maintain existing Lists for individual faculty or departments.

In the case of departments with a large number of discussion lists and class lists (with rotating faculty who teach the courses), UTS strongly suggests that one individual in a department be designated as the List Administrator and serve as a non-contributing co-owner on all departmental lists. This avoids the situation where a departmental or class list is needed and no one in the department has access to use it. Once created, UTS will not change the ownership of mailing lists as UTS neither owns nor is authorized to alter or edit department mailing list.

Disk space is a finite resource. To ensure that everyone has access to disk space for their mailing list, we ask List Owners who have academic lists keep their archives limited to a single year. Other mailing lists should not archive on MailMan facilities.

Advice on the Reliability and Confidentiality of Email

As electronic distribution lists become more pervasive as a means of communication while performing our daily tasks, it is important to remember that email should never be viewed as a 100% reliable and confidential means of communication.

Portions of this have been taken, with permission, from Queen's University, ITServices

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