Help Mailing List Procedure

Mailing Lists: Getting Started

We use a mailing list and shared web application called Sympa to provide a simple yet sophisticated set of tools for you and your group to manage your email lists and communication strategies. A full Reference manual is available at To create a new mailing list:

Get a Password:

1. Go to You will see a selection of public mailing lists. To see private mailing lists you are subscribed to, you must login Click on the “Login” button at the top left of your screen
2. Click the “Send me a Password” button
3. Type in your email address
4. Click the “Send me my Password” button
You can also use this feature if you ever forget your password
` 1. Open your email with your regular email program. You will find new mail to you from Sympa with a temporary password (copy this to your clipboard) and links to: password changes, mailing lists service and a help page
2. Click the “Changing your password” link Paste in your temporary password
3. Enter an easier to remember new password (write it down!)
4. Re-enter your new password
5. Click the “submit” button

This password will also work for any other VCN list subscriptions you have.
Configure your account:

  • Go back to the login screen and use your full email address and password
  • You are now logged onto the Mailing list services The “Your environment” page is where you can change other details of your account like your full name, language and other email addresses you may use occasionally

Create your mailing list:

1. Click on “Create list” on the top menu bar Fill in your mailing “List name” (either put a hyphen in it or make it longer than 8 characters)
2. Often lists are identified as such to avoid their confusion with regular email addresses (eg. planning-list, or planning-l)
3. Choose the type of list that best reflects you intentions. You can make adjustments to the configuration once you are using it 4. Type in a “Subject” for your mailing list that briefly identifies what it is for
5. Select a “Topic” (you can add more later)
6. Type in a “Description” of your list to be sent to all new subscribers with the information they need to use it effectively. Here’s a rather elaborate sample(need link –

Configure your list:

1. Click on “Submit your creation request”. The list will not be active until VCN validates it, however you can modify its configuration
2. Click on the “List admin” button on the left-hand side of the screen Using the choices on the “List administration panel”,
3. You can now add and remove owners, moderators and subscribers to the list.(warning: if you add email addresses to the list without the “quiet” mode activated, they will be notified of their subscription – even though the list is not functional)
4. Add your own address as a subscriber – it will help you find the list later!
5. You can create a “Shared web” to store documents and links. And you can develop texts to be sent to subscribers and others.

For information on using your mailing list effectively you should consider studying “From Workplace to Workspace”

Add a Subject Tag Line
Go to “List Admin” for the particular mailing list

1. Click on “Edit List Config” from the “List Administration Panel”
2. Choose “Sending/reception setup” from the list of options
3. Type in your abbreviated list name under “Subject Tagging”
4. Click “Update” to save your changes

View list archives:

1. After logging in, click on the list name you want to view
2. Click in the ‘archive’ button in the left hand column B
3. Browse the archives by month, or use the ‘advanced search’ link to search by keyword (there are lots of options to narrow down a search). Some archives have been transferred from our previous list Manager, Majordomo.

View a list shared web space:

1. From the left hand column, click on ‘Shared web’ You’ll may see a number of types of documents posted, they can be text, html, links, subfolders or files created with proprietary software (remember, only those with appropriate software will be able to view them)
2. To view a document, either click on the link or use the edit link. It’s easier to view text files using the edit link, and to view html files using the file name link (a new window will open).
3. To make changes, click on the ‘edit’ link. Make the desired changes and then hit the ‘publish’ button.
4. To upload an existing file from your hard drive, use the ‘browse’ and ‘publish’ buttons at the bottom of the screen.
5. To add a new document you’re creating from scratch, enter a file name in the box to the left of the ‘create a file’ button. Then fill in the info on the next screen and hit the ‘publish’ button. These will be plain text files (unless you add html tags).
6. You can also create subdirectories within the ‘shared web’ folder and store docs there. I haven’t found an easy way to move docs around from folder to folder, other than re- uploading.

Moderating a mailing list:

1. After logging in, click ‘list admin’ link on the left hand column.
2. On the next screen, click on the ‘moderate’ link on the list administration panel to see any messages for distribution or rejection.

Email Help Procedure


To set up filters:

  1. Select Tools/Filters (Windows) or Special/Filters (Macintosh)
  2. Click New.
  3. Under Match, do this:
    • Select Incoming.
    • Select which header item you wish the filter to find. Fill it in like the example above.
    • If you wish to filter on a second header, select and, otherwise select ignore. Fill in the details of the second header item you wish to filter on.
  4. Under Action, do this:
    • Choose what you want to do. If you choose Transfer To, you must then select an appropriate box to transfer the matching messages to.

When you’ve set up the filter, close the window. You’ll be asked to save the filter.

Email Help Procedure

Outlook Express

  1. Open Outlook Express
  2. Click on Tools, then Message Rules, then Mail
  3. If “New Mail Rule” doesn’t appear, press the “New” button
  4. Under “1. Select the Conditions for your rule:” select “Where the Subject line contains specific words”
  5. Under “2. Select the Actions for your rule” select “Move it to the specified folder”
  6. Under “3. Rule Description” click on the link “contains specific words”. Type in “[SPAM]” and click on “Add”. Click on “OK”
  7. Under “3. Rule Description” click on the link “specified” folder. Select a folder or create a new folder. To create a new folder click on “Local Folders” first and then “New Folder”. In “Folder Name” type “SPAM” or a name of your choice. Click on “OK”. Press “OK” once you have the folder selected
  8. Enter “SPAM” as the name for the rule in “4) Name of the rule” then click on “OK”. You can repeat steps 3-7 to add more filters/rules

For more information on Rules, press F1 to access help, then go to “Index” and Search for “Rules”


Email Help Procedure


Using VCN Webmail or Squirrel Mail
To use the webmail program called ‘SquirrelMail’ log on to the address

SquirrelMail offers an interface to your mail inbox that has lots of features and options, including:

  1. Go to and login
  2. Click on “Folders”
  3. Under “Create Folder” type in “SPAM” for the folder name. Leave “as a subfolder of” as “[None]” and ” Let this folder contain subfolders” unchecked. Click on “Create”
  4. Click on “Options” then “Message Filters”
  5. Click on “New”
  6. In “Match:” select “Subject”
  7. In “Contains:”, type “[SPAM]”
  8. In “Move To:”, select the folder “SPAM” you just created
  9. Click on “Submit”
  10. You should now see “If Subject contains [SPAM] then move to SPAM”
  11. Click on “Done” when you are finished

Email Help Procedure

Receiving too much spam

Please see our section below on how to View and Training the SPAM filter, and also the section on Reporting SPAM

Email Help Procedure

Email Failed Permanently

The main problems that can give you the Failed Permanently error while sending emails are: the email address is misspelled or doesn’t exist, or ,after numerous attempts, the receiving email server is not accepting emails from VCN.

Often times, rechecking the spelling and resending is the quickest solution for this problem.

If you need more information or have questions about an email problem like this, please contact our Help Desk with the error message you received and the date and time the message was sent.

Email Help Procedure

Delayed VCN Emails

If you have sent an email from your VCN account, and the intended recipient did not receive the email, and you have not received an error/bounced message, it could mean that VCN’s email server is temporarily overloaded or the receiving server is experiencing temporary problems. VCN’s servers do try to resend emails for approximately one day. If the email is still not sent after a day, you will receive an error message. You can check our Announcements on our main page for any VCN server problems, or contact our Help Desk for more information.

Email Help Procedure

Not receiving messages

There could be many reasons a message was not sent or received, it could be the sending and/or receiving email applications, the sending and/or receiving internet connections, the sending and/or receiving servers, spam filters and blacklists, or someone mistyped an email address.

For problems during sending, most times whoever sent the email will get an error message. If you are having problems sending from a VCN account, please get an exact day and time the message was sent so we can check our servers for error messages. Also, you can look at our help section onManaging the SPAM filter, at the bottom of this page, to see if the email was accidentally blocked as Spam.

Email Help Procedure

SMTP error – could not connect to sending (SMTP) server

This commonly occurs when you switch your internet service provider. You can receive VCN emails from any internet connection; however, you must send email through your service provider’s servers. If you are sending mail through VCN Dial up, your SMTP server is

Email Help Procedure

Receiving duplicate/same messages every time

Most commonly, this happens when received emails have one or more attachments that are too large to download with dial up, using Outlook/Thunderbird. The emails get “stuck” and when you try to get your messages again, the server starts sending you all the messages over again.

There are a couple quick fixes you can do, you can either login through our Webmail to delete/move the email from the inbox, or temporarily use a highspeed internet connection to quickly deal with the issue. If you do not have access to highspeed internet, we do have two public computers that are available at our office on 280 – 111 West Hastings St.