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KB01040902 Using Archives with Mailing Lists

Mailtraq Mailing Lists are powerful tools for just about any kind of e-mail distribution one might think of. Discussion Forums are a good example of what one can do with a Mailing List, and a much more effective solution than Internet based web-boards (where the messages are too far removed from the subscriber's everyday e-mail activity).

So imagine you have heard about a great mailing list which you wish to join. After sending off your application to subscribe, you will most likely find yourself in the middle of a number of discussion threads. You will have missed a lot and asking everyone what they are talking about won't get you much further. What you want is to be able to access the historical messages -- and that is what archives are used for.

If you are running a mailing list with Mailtraq, just create an archive to store the list messages in. The convention is to add -archive to the name of the list. So, if the list is tech-support then the archive would be tech-support-archive.

If it is a public mailing list set the Local Directory Visibility to Public. That way, if someone writes to they will be able to see the archive in the directory.

In the Admins tab, be sure to limit administration to the address from which mailing list messages are sent. It will probably be tech-support. This way only messages from the list can be added to the archive.

Next, in the Format tab, select the Return message exactly as archived option. This will ensure that the message is sent to the subscriber just as though it was sent from the mailing list.

Next, subscribe the archive to the mailing list by adding a subscriber. Make sure the e-mail address of the subscriber is the archive (i.e.

Now add instructions (on your web site or on the tag in the mailing list) telling people about the archive. If a new user joins, they should send a message to with the subject line reading

     index tech-support-archive

They will receive a list of all the archived messages. They should select the range they are interested in (say 50-100) and then request them by writing to with the subject line reading

     send tech-support-archive 50-100

They will receive all the messages just as though they were subscribed. Whatever rules they have set in their mail client will be applied to these messages and they will quickly be up to date.

Of course you could suggest they use archives too -- refer to the on-line documentation for more information on archives and digest formats.

Keywords: kb mailinglists archives
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