Mailing lists are used and operated by sending commands, or messages, to special
Whether you want to subscribe or unsubscribe, or send
mail to all members of the list all messages must go through a list server.
A list server is the mail server that is operating or maintaining the list you have subscribed to.
There are two types of messages you send to a list server.
Admin or command messages which communicate only with the list server. An example would be a subscribe or unsubscribe message. These messages are sent to a separate email address for the list server only.
The other type of message is the content message. This is the message you want to send for the list to read. It can be sent to the moderator of the list - or if it is an unmoderated list goes directly to the list.
Some lists may have a third email address that is to contact the list owner or moderator.
When you subscribe to a list you are sent a confirmation email to confirm you have subscribed to the list. This helps prevent other people subscribing your email address to hundreds of lists. You must 'ok' the subscription before you actually are part of the list.
Once your confirmation is received by the list server (or moderator) you will be sent a welcome letter with the rules and commands for the list. Keep this email. You will need it if you decide later to unsubscribe from the list. It will also contain the email addresses you need to send email to both the list server and the list members.
Once you find a list you want to join you will see a 'subscribe' address you will need to email to join the list. Follow the instructions on the page you find the list you want to join. Most require simply emailing a 'subscribe command' to the email address given.
Some list directories, like OneList, will required you to register with their service.
The next article in the series is on Email List Safety and Netiquette.