Job Description

SIAG Electronic Mailing List Owner or Moderator

List Moderator

The job of a moderator in Mailman is to review messages which have been held by the system, and make a decision whether to forward individual messages to the list or to dispose of the message. The moderator shares this responsibility with the administrator, who may also change the configuration of the list.

Most of SIAM's lists are set up as moderated lists, which means that all messages sent to the list are held for moderation. This step has been taken to reduce the number of unwanted and repeated messages.

Other SIAG mailing lists are set to allow subscribers to send to the list, but to hold messages from non-subscribing addresses. In this case, held messages range from spam messages and other messages not appropriate for the list, to useful messages submitted by non-members of the list, to messages sent by members from their home or other non-subscribed address. The bulk of messages held for moderation will fit into one of these main categories. A message is sometimes held for moderation because there is an overabundance of names on the "To:" or "CC:" lines, or because the message is too long. This is infrequent on SIAM's lists, but does happen. It is also possible to set an individual member account or the entire list so that messages are moderated. This may be done on request to the list owner.

Since most of SIAM's lists are low volume, moderation requests arrive in email a few times per week. To moderate a request, simply click the link in the message notifying you that moderation is needed, enter your password to gain access to the moderation page, check the message, and either approve it or dispose of it.

If, when you get to the moderation page, the page says "There are no requests pending," another moderator or the list administrator has already handled the task. On the other hand, if nobody attends to the request, all moderators will continue to receive a reminder email every day until the moderation queue is empty.

All moderators of a list share a single password, which may be reset on request to the list's owner. There is no need for a moderator to act on a subscription request, since SIAG members are automatically subscribed using the address they have provided to SIAM's membership system. Email address changes in the membership system are synchronized to our mailman lists on a nightly basis. SIAM staff will contact people asking to be subscribed to the mailing list, informing them of the policy that list memberships are limited to SIAG members, and giving them details of joining SIAM or adding a SIAG to their current membership. List members who are added by the moderators will be maintained as "special subscribers' to the mailing list.

List Owner

In addition to the position of moderator, a mailing list also has an owner, who may make configuration changes as well as act on messages sent to the list. Most of Mailman's settings are configurable via a web interface, and a list owner may change such items as who may post to the list, who may see the list of subscribers, who may post without moderation, the text of notices sent to people whose messages are rejected or held for moderation. Since these sorts of changes are relatively rare, they are often handled by staff, and a staff mailing address (sysadmin@siam.org) is the owner of all mailing lists. If a SIAG wishes to appoint a co-owner for its mailing list, it may do so. For administrative reasons, it is necessary to have the sysadmin email address remain as one of the list owners.

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