Using email aliases

Email addresses can be difficult to remember, resulting in mistakes when people send you an email. An alias can be used to make a straightforward replacement for a long or hard-to-remember address. An alias can also be used to forward messages sent to the alias on to another specified email address or group of addresses.

Email aliases

In simplelists, it is easy to use aliases as an effective way of grouping lists together. They can be a big time saver if you want to send a message to several lists. Here’s how to do it.

Send to more than one list

In practice, you simply send the message to the alias’ email address and it is sent to all the lists. You can also include normal email addresses within an alias – the message will be sent to them too.

Step-by-step

Creating an alias is easy. Login and select a multiple list account. Navigate to the aliases page and select ‘Click here to add a new alias’.

aliases_blog_1

Choose an email address for the alias. Note that, by default, the email address ends in your simplelists domain. Enter the email address(es) of the lists you want the alias to be forwarded to. In the screenshot below, we have added three lists: customers, employees and managers. A normal email address is also included. Click ‘Update’ to complete the process.

aliases_blog_2

Editing an alias

You can edit the alias details by selecting the one you wish to edit on the ‘aliases’ page under ‘Your current aliases’.

Some things to be aware of

It is important to know that, when using an email alias, it can sometimes be the case that it is harder for email recipients to know where the email has come from, especially if they have not received an email from the alias address previously. You should therefore make sure that it is still clear who the sender is and how they can ‘opt-out’ of receiving similar messages in the future, if they wish (read our earlier posts on good email etiquette and what information you can include in the email footer).

If the recipient has not received an email from the alias address before, it is also important to be aware that spam filters may be more sensitive to these emails than those sent to your familiar member list address(es). Another one of our posts on making sure your emails don’t get sent to the spam folder will help to avoid this happening.

These minor issues aside, it is also interesting to know that you can use an alias to reduce the chances of your data being compromised. By using a hard-to-guess alias as a password recovery address for your many online accounts, it can be more difficult for hackers to compromise your data.

HTML Emails – Complete Series

We have just completed the final video in our HTML emails series which takes you through everything from designing your email, to writing the code for responsive emails and finally to testing and sending the email. Here are all six parts of the series:

Part 1: Overview

Part 2: Design

Part3: Doctype, Structure & Metadata

Part 4: Adding & Styling Text

Part 5: Adding Images

Part 6: Sending & Testing

HTML Emails: Adding Images

In Part 5 in our video series on creating HTML emails we show you how to add images to the email.

We’ve included a copy of the full code here so that you can use it:

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<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional //EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
 
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en" xml:lang="en">
 
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"/>
 
</head>
 
<body>
    <table width="100%" style="max-width: 600px;">
        <tr>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;">Hi Anne,</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;">Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris vitae feugiat ex. Donec eleifend viverra justo. Nam velit arcu, imperdiet sed ante sed, bibendum finibus erat. Maecenas ut elementum odio.</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;">Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Mauris est lectus, fermentum nec turpis at, dictum eleifend dolor.</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 20px; color: #f26012; padding-top: 10px; float: left; width: 45%;">Heading 1</td>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 20px; color: #f26012; padding-top: 10px; float: right; width: 45%;">Heading 2</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 6px; padding-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 45%;">Pellentesque dui magna, maximus ut diam eu, aliquam vehicula sapien. Suspendisse sed auctor libero. Integer id velit consectetur.</td>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 6px; padding-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 45%;">Sed in euismod odio. Mauris pulvinar sem erat, vitae suscipit nisl tincidunt a. Vivamus sed tempus metus, at dignissim ligula.</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td><img src="http://demowebsite1.co.uk/email-images/call_to_action.png"></td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td width="100%" style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px;">Best regards,</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td width="100%" style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 6px; padding-bottom: 10px;">John Doe</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td style="float: left; padding-right: 10px;"><img src="http://demowebsite1.co.uk/email-images/company_logo.png"></td>
            <td style="float: left; padding-right: 10px;"><img src="http://demowebsite1.co.uk/email-images/facebook.png"></td>
            <td style="float: left; padding-right: 10px;"><img src="http://demowebsite1.co.uk/email-images/google_plus.png"></td>
            <td style="float: left; padding-right: 10px;"><img src="http://demowebsite1.co.uk/email-images/twitter.png"></td>
        </tr>
    </table>
</body>
 
</html>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional //EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en" xml:lang="en">

<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"/>

</head>

<body>
	<table width="100%" style="max-width: 600px;">
		<tr>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;">Hi Anne,</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;">Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris vitae feugiat ex. Donec eleifend viverra justo. Nam velit arcu, imperdiet sed ante sed, bibendum finibus erat. Maecenas ut elementum odio.</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;">Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Mauris est lectus, fermentum nec turpis at, dictum eleifend dolor.</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 20px; color: #f26012; padding-top: 10px; float: left; width: 45%;">Heading 1</td>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 20px; color: #f26012; padding-top: 10px; float: right; width: 45%;">Heading 2</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 6px; padding-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 45%;">Pellentesque dui magna, maximus ut diam eu, aliquam vehicula sapien. Suspendisse sed auctor libero. Integer id velit consectetur.</td>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 6px; padding-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 45%;">Sed in euismod odio. Mauris pulvinar sem erat, vitae suscipit nisl tincidunt a. Vivamus sed tempus metus, at dignissim ligula.</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td><img src="http://demowebsite1.co.uk/email-images/call_to_action.png"></td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td width="100%" style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px;">Best regards,</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td width="100%" style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 6px; padding-bottom: 10px;">John Doe</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td style="float: left; padding-right: 10px;"><img src="http://demowebsite1.co.uk/email-images/company_logo.png"></td>
			<td style="float: left; padding-right: 10px;"><img src="http://demowebsite1.co.uk/email-images/facebook.png"></td>
			<td style="float: left; padding-right: 10px;"><img src="http://demowebsite1.co.uk/email-images/google_plus.png"></td>
			<td style="float: left; padding-right: 10px;"><img src="http://demowebsite1.co.uk/email-images/twitter.png"></td>
		</tr>
	</table>
</body>

</html>

Images Must Be Placed On A Server

If you want your email to contain images the first step is to place the images on your server. When you do this also record the path of the image so that you can point the image source to it in the email.

Put the image in a table data cell

In the email put the image in it’s own table cell and make sure that the path is correct and points to the images on the server.

For full details on how to add images to your HTML email watch this short video:

HTML Emails: Adding & Styling Text

In Part 4 of our video series on creating HTML emails we show you how to add text to the email using tables and also style the text using inline CSS.

We’ve included the code here so that you can copy it and use it to make your own HTML emails:

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<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional //EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
 
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en" xml:lang="en">
 
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"/>
 
</head>
 
<body>
    <table width="100%" style="max-width: 600px;">
        <tr>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;">Hi Anne,</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;">Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris vitae feugiat ex. Donec eleifend viverra justo. Nam velit arcu, imperdiet sed ante sed, bibendum finibus erat. Maecenas ut elementum odio.</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;">Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Mauris est lectus, fermentum nec turpis at, dictum eleifend dolor.</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 20px; color: #f26012; padding-top: 10px; float: left; width: 45%;">Heading 1</td>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 20px; color: #f26012; padding-top: 10px; float: right; width: 45%;">Heading 2</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 6px; padding-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 45%;">Pellentesque dui magna, maximus ut diam eu, aliquam vehicula sapien. Suspendisse sed auctor libero. Integer id velit consectetur.</td>
            <td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 6px; padding-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 45%;">Sed in euismod odio. Mauris pulvinar sem erat, vitae suscipit nisl tincidunt a. Vivamus sed tempus metus, at dignissim ligula.</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td width="100%" style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px;">Best regards,</td>
        </tr>
        <tr>
            <td width="100%" style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 6px; padding-bottom: 10px;">John Doe</td>
        </tr>
    </table>
</body>
 
</html>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional //EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en" xml:lang="en">

<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"/>

</head>

<body>
	<table width="100%" style="max-width: 600px;">
		<tr>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;">Hi Anne,</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;">Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris vitae feugiat ex. Donec eleifend viverra justo. Nam velit arcu, imperdiet sed ante sed, bibendum finibus erat. Maecenas ut elementum odio.</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;">Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Mauris est lectus, fermentum nec turpis at, dictum eleifend dolor.</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 20px; color: #f26012; padding-top: 10px; float: left; width: 45%;">Heading 1</td>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 20px; color: #f26012; padding-top: 10px; float: right; width: 45%;">Heading 2</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 6px; padding-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 45%;">Pellentesque dui magna, maximus ut diam eu, aliquam vehicula sapien. Suspendisse sed auctor libero. Integer id velit consectetur.</td>
			<td style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 6px; padding-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 45%;">Sed in euismod odio. Mauris pulvinar sem erat, vitae suscipit nisl tincidunt a. Vivamus sed tempus metus, at dignissim ligula.</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td width="100%" style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 10px;">Best regards,</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td width="100%" style="font-family: 'Trebuchet MS', sans-serif; font-size: 17px; color: #333333; padding-top: 6px; padding-bottom: 10px;">John Doe</td>
		</tr>
	</table>
</body>

</html>

Tables

All the content of the email is contained within a table with each paragraph of text being placed in its own table row:

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<tr></tr>
<tr></tr>

Where text is in two columns the table row contains two table data cells:

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<td></td>
<td></td>

Each cell contains the column’s text. The columns are given a width of 45% and floated left and right – note that a width of 50% wouldn’t give any spacing between the columns and therefore a smaller width is used.

Styling

Inline CSS is used throughout – CSS stylesheets are never used for HTML emails.

The table width is set to 100% and the max-width is also set to 600 pixels. This allows the email to be responsive – on large screens the email will be 600 pixels wide while on small screens such as smart phones the email will adjust to fill the width of the screen.

The text is styled to make it look good – the font-family, font-size, text colour and padding are all set using inline styles. These styles are applied to all table data cells.

For a full explanation please see this short video:

HTML Emails: Doctype, Metadata & Structure

We are in the process of making a short video series: ‘How To Create HTML Emails’. Part 3 of the series takes you through the HTML which can be used as a starting point when writing the code. We’ve included the code here so that you can copy and paste it if you want to get started making an HTML email quickly:

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<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional //EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
 
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en" xml:lang="en">
 
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"/>
 
</head>
 
<body>
<!-- EMAIL CONTENT GOES HERE -->
</body>
 
</html>
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional //EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" lang="en" xml:lang="en">

<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"/>

</head>

<body>
<!-- EMAIL CONTENT GOES HERE -->
</body>

</html>

Coding an HTML email is actually quite straightforward, despite the reputation that it has being difficult. There are a few things that are different from creating an HTML webpage though…

Doctype

If you are writing HTML for a webpage in 2015 it’s likely that you’ll use HTML5. For HTML emails this is not the case – you’re coding for a large variety of email clients, many of which are outdated. It has been found that HTML 1.0 Transitional is the most reliable doctype to use.

Note that different email clients treat the doctype in different ways. Some strip out the doctype completely (including the Gmail Android App and Outlook 2010). Others respect the doctype that you set (iPad and iPhone Gmail Apps, Outlook Express and Thunderbird 6). Others strip out the doctype and replace it with XHTML 1.0 Strict (Gmail and Hotmail). This has a implications for testing which will be discussed at the end of the series – for now it is enough to know that XHTML 1.0 Transitional is the most reliable doctype.

Note that when we are working with XHTML we need to include an xmlns attribute in the opening html tag. We have also specified the language type here as it can be useful for screen readers and the sight-impaired.

Meta Data

We have included meta ‘Content Type’ so that we can set the character set as UTF8 – specifying as much as possible can be a good thing when writing code for the whole range of email clients.

Meta ‘Viewport’ as seen above sets the viewable area to the width of the device screen – this is essential if you want your email to be responsive. If your email is intended solely for desktop users then don’t include this line of code.

The final bit of meta data to set is the title tag - this is worth including because it is used by Outlook when people use the ‘View in Browser’ function and it can also appear in email preview snippets in some versions of Hotmail.

So that is all you need to know to get started making an HTML email – we’ll bet that it’s not as tricky as you thought. For full details see the 3 minute video:

 

 

 

 

Make Sure Real Emails Don’t Get Sent To Spam – Gmail 2015

All modern email clients come with a spam filter, including Gmail. This is generally a good thing because it prevents your inbox filling up with spam emails – instead spam emails get sent straight to your spam folder and don’t ever make it to your inbox.

Even though spam management in Gmail is very sophisticated it is still not foolproof – some spam still gets through to your inbox and sometimes real emails get sent to your spam folder by accident. If you receive a spam email in your inbox it’s not the end of the world – it’s pretty simple to delete it, or mark it as spam and move on. However, if you miss an important email that accidentally gets sent to your spam folder it can be a real nightmare.

filter

Whitelist The Email Address

Here we’ll show you how override Gmail’s spam filter for specific email addresses so that you will be sure emails from that address don’t accidentally get sent to spam… or if you’re reading this because you’ve missed an important email recently we’ll show you how to make sure it doesn’t happen again: you simply tell Gmail to whitelist an email address…

How To Whitelist An Email Address In Gmail

First login and select ‘Settings’:gmail1

Next navigate to ‘Filters’ and select ‘Create a new filter’:gmail2

Type the email address that you want to whitelist in the from field and select ‘Create filter with this search’:gmail3

Check the ‘Never send it to Spam’ checkbox and select ‘Create Filter’:gmail4

You’ll be taken back to settings where you can view the filter that you have set up – you can easily edit or delete the filter or add another:gmail5In the next few blog posts we’ll show you how to whitelist email addresses in other popular email clients such as Yahoo and Outlook.

New Feature – Take a Break

Some of our customers have requested a feature where members can take a break from receiving list emails rather than completely unsubscribe. We could see that this feature would be useful in a lot of situations…

For example, it’s fairly common for clubs or societies have an email list for their members – but membership of clubs and societies is rarely static – members come and go it’s not uncommon for some members sometimes leave a club and then rejoin at a later date. Rather than unsubscribe the member completely – it is possible to pause the delivery of their emails. If they rejoin at a later date you can resume the delivery of their emails in one click, rather than going through the subscription process again.

Human relationship with  computer communication timeout conceptWith this in mind we’ve listened to our customers and implemented a ‘take a break’ feature for list members. We’ve made it very easy to activate for both list managers and list members…

List Managers

Login to your Simplelists account, navigate to ‘list members’, select a member from the address book and tick the ‘pause delivery’ check-box. To restart delivery simply uncheck the box.

pause_deleivery1List Members

Visit http://archives.simplelists.com/ and if you aren’t logged in already enter your email address and you’ll be sent a confirmation email to your email address. Click on the link in the email which will take you to archives of your email lists. Simply select ‘pause delivery’ for the list that you want to take a break from. When you want to receive emails again you just click ‘resume delivery’ – simple!

pause_delivery2

Subscribe Forms – Everything You Need To Know

We’ve just completed a series of short videos on subscribe forms. These videos take you through everything that you need to know to place a subscribe or unsubscribe form on your website: adding a the form to your site, customising the form to suit your needs and styling the form to match your website perfectly…

Adding A Form To Your Website

This is very simple – just login to your simplelists account, navigate to ‘general settings’, select ‘subscriptions’ and you’ll see the code which you can copy and paste to your website.

The first short video takes you through this process step by step:

If you have a multiple list account you have a choice of different forms to use – the next video takes you through the options so that you can choose the most appropriate form for your specific needs:

Customising A Web Form

The simplelists web forms are written completely in standard HTML. This means that they are totally flexible and gives you the ability to customise the forms to suit your needs exactly. You can delete fields that aren’t needed, add new inputs and change the form from subscribe to unsubscribe – you can even write your own form entirely from scratch!

The third video shows you how to customise your form by editing the form itself:

Styling Your Form

Having a form that matches your website’s design is important when creating the image that you want. Because simplelists forms are standard HTML they can be styled using CSS which means that you have the ability to style your form any way you want. You have complete freedom to create beautiful as well as useful web forms. The final video of the series shows you how:

Moderate Your e-mail List Effectively

When your role is moderating an e-mail list, there are a few strategies you can implement to ensure that the job is done effectively. A well-moderated e-mail list will not only be free of spam and trolling but will retain and engage list members, keeping them coming back. Here are some tips for moderating an e-mail list…

Group Discussion

Customise Your List Settings

Taking the time to customise your list settings is a big time saver for moderators – if you set up your list correctly you can almost completely avoid spam and trolling. Pay particular attention to posting permissions – you can choose specific people that can post, allow anyone to post or allow only list members to post.

Open or Closed Lists?

An open list allows anyone to send messages to the list, even non-members. Open lists can be active and attract lots of messages but they also require the most moderation.

Closed lists are easier to moderate – one of the main tasks of the moderator is deciding who can post to the list. The more people you allow to post the better the conversation can be but it is also less controlled.

Each list is different and it should be clear whether an open or closed list suits your needs best.

Avoid Over Posting in Discussion Lists

A common killer of interest in moderated e-mail lists is over-posting by a moderator – even (or especially!) if the moderator is more knowledgeable about the subject matter than most of the list members. If a discussion list becomes a ‘one man show’ then it can lose the discussion factor, which is the raison d’etre after all!.

Be Quick To Remove Spam

If spam messages are left up they can give a bad impression to new members and reduce the quality of the list. Spam is not actually that common in most lists but if you see some remove it as soon as possible.

Use A Light Touch

A list with active discussion can have members with different opinions – debate can get heated but it is important not to jump in too quickly to moderate comments as it can stifle debate. Knowing the difference between a productive argument and trolling is one of the main skills of moderation. It’s important that all legitimate opinions are heard even if you have a different opinion from the person who posted.

Welcome First Time Users

It can be good to welcome first-time users when they make a post. When a new user posts for the first time a warm response can encourage them to be an active member of the email list, while a frosty or criticisive response can turn them off for good. So encourage them by thanking them for posting and welcoming them to your group.

Stoke the Fire

Use your authority as the moderator to encourage new discussions. You can post a question about a current event or a little piece of your mind regarding a specific topic to push users to participate in your moderated list.

Pay Attention To Your Regulars

You’ll notice quickly who your regular posters are. You’ll also notice that these are the people who stoke the fire when you haven’t. Be sure to encourage these users and pay attention to their posts.

Avoid Cliques

While paying attention to regulars is important, it is essential to avoid favouritism or the formation of a clique because this could make other members feel that they are not a part of the group.

Remain Objective

If you do have to step in and remove posts or members, it is important to remain impartial, objective and to put aside any personal feelings you have about those that you are moderating. If you do this well you should gain the respect of the group members.

Explain Your Actions

If you have to remove a post be sure to send the member a private message explaining why you have taken the action. This will help the member understand why their post was removed and should prevent them making a similar mistake in the future. It also makes the member feel like you are paying particular attention to them and gives them a chance to respond to you personally.

Add Other Moderators

If your list has become quite large, and you’re having a difficult time keeping up, you can appoint other moderators to help with the maintenance of your e-mail list. This can be a great time saver.