Nevis Mailing-List Server Help Page

If you are looking for the main Nevis web site, or information about Nevis mail, click on the appropriate links in this sentence. This web page only describes the mailing-list server.

See this page for information on the lists available on the mailing-list server.

Guides and answers to questions

The basics

What is a mailing list?

For the purposes of this page, a "mailing list" is a special e-mail address. When you send a message to this address, the mail is automatically forwarded to "members" of the mailing list.

What is a mailing-list server?

A computer that has been set up for the sole purpose of maintaining mailing lists: maintaining members of each list, managing requests for subscriptions and removals, blocking messages from non-members, etc.

What mailing lists are available on this server?

See the mailing-list information page. That page will show you the public mailing lists on our mailing-list server.

You send a message to a list using the address <mailing-list-name> Note that the domain is not just or; the mailing-list server is a different machine:

Something's not working

I received messages from a list all the time, but when I tried sending a message to it, nothing happened.

The most likely reason for this is that you were signed up to the mailing list using one account, but you tried sending a message to the list from a different account.

The Nevis mailing lists only accept messages from specific e-mail addresses. For example, when WilliamSeligman adds you to a list, if you work at Nevis he probably uses your e-mail address unless you tell him otherwise. If you send a message from (for example) an address, the mailing-list software doesn't recognize it and discards the message.

There are two solutions:

  • Send your message from the same email address you used to sign up for the list.

  • Ask to subscribe to the list using your alternate e-mail address. (You may want to unsubscribe your original email address to avoid receiving two copies of each message posted to the list.)

Why didn't I receive a warning when my message was not accepted by a mailing list?

Unfortunately, the spammers have made this impractical.

Turgid details: Spammers routinely send messages to every list on the mailing-list information page. Most of these messages have fake "From:" addresses. If the server sent a rejection message for every invalid message it received, the server would either be clogged with rejection messages that it cannot deliver (for non-existing "From:" addresses) or be spamming someone else (for spoofed "From:" addresses). The best compromise appears to be to not send rejection messages to non-members of the list.

I sent a message to one of the lists, and I may have misspelled the name of the list. Why didn't I receive a warning?

Again, the spammers have made this impractical.

Turgid details: The mailing-list server receives more messages directed to non-existent lists than it does to existing ones. Typically, the spammers' robots don't pick up on the portion of the name after the dash, so (for example) they see and send e-mail to When the mailing-list server used to send back warning messages, it was spamming people at faked "From:" addresses.

Does this mean that if my message is rejected by the mailing-list server for any reason, I will receive no warning at all?

That is correct. I wish it were otherwise.

Your only hint that your message was rejected is that it's not distributed by the mailing-list server.

I tried to send a message to a mailing list and I couldn't. What's the matter?

I tried to see a list of the subscribers to a mailing list and I couldn't. What's the matter?

I tried to look at the archives of messages posted to the list and I couldn't. What's the matter?

Only the subscribers to a given mailing list can do these things.

Also see the information section below.

I am a subscriber to one of the lists, and I tried to do one of the things in the previous question(s). I was asked for a password. What's my password?

You have to create a login on our mailing-list server:

  • Visit the mailing-list home page.
  • Click on the Login button in the top right-hand corner of the page.
  • Click on either First login? or Forgot password?


  • There is no connection between an account on the mailing-list server, an account on the Nevis particle-physics wiki (what you're reading now), and the Nevis particle-physics Linux cluster. They can have different account names, email addresses, and passwords.

  • After your email is automatically verified, any subscriptions must be manually approved by an owner of the particular mailing list.

I work for Columbia University or Nevis Labs, or I'm affiliated with the research that takes place there, and I should be on one of the lists.

Visit the mailing list for which you're interested, and click on the word Subscribe as described above. Eventually the list's owner will see the request.

I don't work for Columbia University or Nevis Labs, and I'm not affiliated with any of the research that takes place there, but I'm interested in physics. Can I be on one of the lists?

No. See the information below.

How do I unsubscribe from a mailing list?

You can do this from the mailing-list information page. Login to the mailing-list server (the button is on the upper right-corner). Click on the name of the list, and click on the Unsubscribe button on the left-hand panel.

However, note the following question:

I tried unsubscribing from one of the lists, but I'm still getting messages from it. What's going on?

Take a look at the description of the list on the mailing-list information page. Does the description begin with the word "Union"? If so, you can't unsubscribe from the list. Or rather, you can, but you'll be automatically resubscribed when the list is re-created.

Reason: The "union" lists are re-made periodically from the other mailing lists given in the description. For example, "atlas-linux" is described as the "Union of nevis-atlas, atlas-guest, and nevis-admin". If you want to stop receiving messages from "atlas-linux", you have to unsubscribe from "nevis-atlas" or "atlas-guest".

Membership and options

How do I tell which mailing list I'm on?

If you've logged into the mailing-list server, then the list information page will have the word Subscriber next to the address of each list you're subscribed to.

List organization

I'd like for a new mailing list to be created on the Nevis mailing-list server.

If you're a Nevis officer or a member of the faculty, I'd be glad to do this for you. Just send a message to the mailing-list server administrator.

If you're logged into the mailing-list server, you can also click on +Request a List on the right-hand side of the menu bar.

I'm a principal investigator or a spokesman for one of the experiments for which you've created a mailing list, yet I can't moderate the list.

Again, I'd be glad to set this up for you. Just send a message to the mailing-list server administrator.

The only reason that I haven't done this is that no one has yet shown any interest in maintaining these lists. I'd be glad to pass the task onto the appropriate responsible individuals.

(Say, as long as you're motivated to moderate the mailing list, would you mind taking a look at your experiment's description on the particle or nuclear description page and make sure it's correct? And go over the list of open accounts for your group with me so I can close off the ones that are unused? And go over the disk files your group doesn't need so we can free up some disk space? ...)

Information and disclaimers

Statement of purpose

The purpose of this mailing-list server is to distribute private notices and discussions among the members of research groups at or affiliated with Columbia University's Nevis Laboratories. It also serves to send Nevis-related messages to the students, faculty, officers, and staff. It is for the private use of these groups and individuals only, and is not for public use.

In particular, this server will not be used to distribute unsolicited commercial e-mail ("spam").


These mailing lists and their contents do not represent official Nevis policy, nor are they intended to represent the official status of anyone employed or working at Nevis Laboratories or at Columbia University. They are simply a good-faith effort on the part of a systems administrator to distribute information. No official or formal connection to Nevis Laboratories, Columbia University, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, nor any other agency should be inferred or implied by the contents or members of these lists.

If you want to know who is employed by or at Nevis Laboratories, or otherwise has a connection with the institution, contact Nevis Laboratories .

-- WilliamSeligman - 06 Feb 2009

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