List users documentation (Majordomo service)

Majordomo is an automated server which handles all routine administrative requests (including subscriptions and unsubscriptions) concerning the mailing lists it hosts.

As usual with mailing lists, it provides mail addresses for posting to each list it hosts, and for contacting each list administrator. Additionally, it provides a special address to which commands may be sent. These commands may be subscription or other requests from users, or administrative commands from list administrators

In Edinburgh University, majordomo and the lists it handles are all addressed at a special mail domain

Posting and Contact Addresses

To post to a list called mylist, you should mail the address:

All commands should be mailed in the body of a message to

If you feel you need to reach the administrator of a particular list, you can mail the administrator of list mylist at

If you feel you need to reach the majordomo administrator, you can send a message to

Composing messages to majordomo

  • Commands should be sent to
  • In messages to majordomo, commands should be put in the message body. Majordomo completely ignores any text in the Subject: header.
  • A message may contain many commands, one per line.
  • Majordomo will process commands until reaching the end of the message or until it sees the command end, which is useful for preventing majordomo from attempting to process any signature which your mail agent may append to your messages.
  • If your mail agent wraps long lines, and you attempt to send a long command to majordomo, it may see two commands, which will not acheive the effect you wish. For example:

Suppose you want to send:


subscribe a-very-long-listname a-very-very-long-mail-address

then your mail agent might wrap the text like this:


subscribe a-very-long-listname


Majordomo would interpret this as two commands, and generate an error.

To get round this, majordomo allows you to "join" lines together. If a line ends with a backslash (\) character, then majordomo will join the following line to it, and treat the place where the backslash was as being a space. So in the example above, sending:


subscribe a-very-long-listname \


would cause majordomo to see this as a single command, and perform the action you intend.

Majordomo Commands

The following commands may be used by the users of majordomo lists. List administrators also have access to another set of commands for administering majordomo lists.

In the descriptions below items contained in [square brackets] are optional. When providing the item, do not include the []'s around it. Items in this font should be replaced with an appropriate value, such as the name of a list.

Majordomo understands the following commands:

  • subscribe list [address] - subscribe yourself to the list with the optional address
  • unsubscribe list [address] - unsubscribe yourself from the list with the optional address
  • get list filename - get a file related to the list
  • index list - return an index of the files you can "get" for list
  • which [address] - find out which lists you or the optional address is subscribed to
  • who list - find out who is on the named list
  • info list - retrieve general introductory information about the named list
  • lists - show all the lists served by the mailing list service
  • help - return a message with a summary of these commands
  • end - stop processing commands (useful if your mailer adds a signature to your messages)

Subscribing to a majordomo list

To subscribe to a list called mylist, send the following in the body (not the subject) of an email to

subscribe mylist


This will subscribe the account from which you send the message to the mylist list.

If you wish to subscribe another address instead (such as a local redistribution list), you can use a command of the form:

subscribe mylist other-address@your_site.your_net


Unsubscribing from a majordomo list

To unsubscribe from a list called mylist, send the following in the body (not the subject line) of an email message to

unsubscribe mylist


This will unsubscribe the account from which you send the message. If you are subscribed with some other address, you'll have to send a command of the following form instead:

unsubscribe mylist other-address@your_site.your_net


If you don't know what address you are subscribed with, you can send the following command to see who else is on the list (assuming that information isn't designated private by the owner of the list):

who mylist


If you want to search non-private lists at this server, you can do that by sending a command like:

which string


This will return a list of all entries on all lists that haven't been designated private and that contain string.

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