What is a LISTSERV list?

LISTSERV is a copyrighted name that has been used to refer to electronic mailing list software that allows someone to send one email to a list, and then have a copy of that message transparently sent to each of the subscribers/members of the list. LISTSERV is always typed in all-caps.

What is LISTSERV list etiquette?

Network etiquette, often referred to as  netiquette, are informal rules and procedures established for users of mailing lists to provide some simple guidelines to make these electronic communication tools more enjoyable and less annoying or bothersome. Please refer to our LISTSERV Etiquette page that is dedicated to that subject.

Do I have to be a member of NACADA to join a LISTSERV list?

Most NACADA lists are open to the public, meaning anyone can join the list without being a NACADA member.

How do I join or leave a LISTSERV list?

Joining or leaving lists requires the sending of an email message to the LISTSERV command address.

Specific instructions for joining or leaving a particular NACADA list are provided on the various LISTSERV list webpages which are available via

May I promote commercial products or services via NACADA LISTSERV lists?

No. NACADA is serious about not allowing anyone to abuse the LISTSERV lists. Take a look at items 5-9 on our LISTSERV Etiquette page, for a list of things we prohibit on our lists. Violators will be immediately removed from the lists, no questions asked.

May I post research-related surveys to the NACADA LISTSERV lists?

Individuals may not post research-related surveys to the NACADA LISTSERV lists.  An individual wishing to distribute a research-related survey with or involving NACADA members, such as a data-gathering tool for a dissertation, thesis, or other project, must follow the NACADA-Research Committee Reviewed and Approved Surveys Guidelines. Individuals who violate this policy will be removed from NACADA LISTSERV lists. Subscribers are always encouraged to seek informal advice on the lists, especially the Research list, to discuss critical issues related to advising.  The Research Committee approves up to four member surveys for distribution each year; these are clearly noted as “NACADA Research Committee reviewed and approved for distribution.”

May I promote or engage in political activities via NACADA LISTSERV lists?

No. As a 501(c) non-profit organization, NACADA is specifically prohibited from engaging in political activities and we risk the loss of our tax exempt status this rule is violated. Violators will be immediately removed from the lists.

Are all NACADA LISTSERV lists public?

While most of NACADA’s lists are public, there are lists that are only available for those serving in particular roles or leadership positions within NACADA. Membership in those lists is managed from within the NACADA Executive Office.

Can I join a LISTSERV list using multiple email addresses?

Yes, multiple email addresses can be used to join a list. However, each request to join the list must be sent from the email account using that address. For instance, to use both a Gmail and a Hotmail address in the same list, separate requests would have to be sent from the Gmail and the Hotmail accounts. And, copies of each message sent to the list will be received in each of the email accounts used to join the list.

Who can send messages to a NACADA LISTSERV list?

Most NACADA lists are configured so that only list members can send messages to the list. Anyone wishing to send messages to the list would have to first join the list.

Why are my messages being rejected by the list?

The most common reason for messages to be rejected by a LISTSERV list is that the sending email address is different from the one used to join the list. LISTSERV list membership is managed exclusively by the list member’s email address, not a person’s name. Two people could share the same name, but email addresses are unique. The LISTSERV system checks the sending email address of each message against those of the list members. If the sending address is not an exact match for an address in the list, the message is rejected.

There are two frequent causes of this issue. The first, is that someone joined the list using one email address and is now trying to send a message to the list from a different email address (i.e. joined using  and now sending messages from

The second reason has to do with organizations changing their email systems. Even seemingly minor address changes such replacing “” with “” will cause the list to reject messages. The LISTSERV system simply sees each version of an address as a unique and separate subscriber and it just is not smart enough to reconcile variations. Often the person sending the message doesn’t even realize the difference. Their organization makes a change in their email system that changes the sending address and at the same time they setup automatic forwarding so that in-coming messages to the old address are routed to the correct inbox. However, viewing the new sending address reveals that the sending address has in fact been changed.  Again, it is the sending address that the list checks, not the address used in the message’s signature line.

Why can't I send replies to a LISTSERV list?

This happens when organizations make changes in their email system that changes the sending address. When such changes are made, the campus email admins usually setup email aliases so that in-coming messages to the old address are automatically routed to the new inbox. However, viewing the new sending address in a reply message reveals that the sending address has in fact been changed.  Again, it is the sending address that the LISTSERV system checks, and thus sees the new sending address as not being a member of the list, leading it to reject the message.

I’m getting too much mail from a LISTSERV list. What can I do?

Some lists are busier than others. One available option, Digest Mode, send only a single daily summary of messages instead of sending each message separately.  To enable this option, a separate request must be sent for each list from the email account used to join them.

To enable or disable Digest Mode, follow the instruction found on our LISTSERV List Mail Settings page.

I’m going to be away from my email while on vacation. What should I do about my LISTSERV lists?

Many list members experience listserv delivery problems when away from their email for an extended period. Temporarily turn-off your list mail without leaving the list by using the instructions found on our LISTSERV Mail Options page.

How can I change my message delivery options for a LISTSERV list?
How do I change my email address on a LISTSERV list?

The easiest way to change your address on a list is to leave the list and then re-join using your new address. If you have several lists that need the address changed, contact us in the NACADA Executive Office, [email protected], providing us the previous email address, the new address, and the names of the lists to be changed.

I updated my email address via the NACADA website. Why isn't my address updated in the LISTSERV lists?

The NACADA LISTSERV lists are not owned, administered, or hosted on NACADA servers. Most of our lists are hosted on the Kansas State University LISTSERV system. A few are even hosted at other campuses. None of the lists are in any way connected to the NACADA website or our NACADA membership management software. As much as we would like to change this, it just is not going to be allowed by the LISTSERV administrators at Kanas State and other campuses.

Why are my replies to LISTSERV messages sent to everyone?

Our lists are primarily for discussion purposes, not private conversations. As such, most of our LISTSERV lists are configured to send replies back to the list, not to the original sender. To avoid sharing a potentially sensitive reply with everyone, be very careful not to automatically hit that “reply” button. Instead, forward the message, changing the recipient’s address to that of the intended recipient.

Why do some of the NACADA LISTSERV lists have different addresses?

Most of our lists are hosted at Kansas State University. The list addresses will be [listname] or [listname] Some of our lists are hosted at other institutions and their list addresses will vary based on the hosting organization’s list configuration.  Keep in mind that no one within the NACADA Executive office has administrative access to any of the lists not hosted at Kansas State University. Questions about and issues with lists at other institutions will have to be addressed by the respective IT staff at those organizations.

May I advertise position announcements via NACADA LISTSERV lists?

No. Please do not inundate LISTSERV members' inboxes with unsolicited postion announcements. Instead, visit the NACADA Position Announcements pages and post your available positions there.