Rutgers Automated Mass-mailing System

The Basics

     This guide is targeted at all users new to RAMS mailing lists. It covers the minimum basic stuff you need to know to get messages out to your list.

Step 1) Submitting a message to the list.

     Whether your list is a new list, or has been migrated over from the old system, you should have recieved notice about the mailing address for your list. The address will be in the form of @RAMS.RUTGERS.EDU (where LISTNAME is the actual name of your list). Anyone wishing to submit a message to the list simply sends an e-mail to the address. If the list is an OPEN list or a closed list, the process basically ends here. If it is an OPEN list the message goes out to the list membership. For a closed list, the poster's address is checked to see if they are on the list. If they are, the message is posted to the list membership. If not, they receive a message telling them their message was rejected. The majority of lists, however, are MODERATED lists, and their behavior is more complicated. At this point, RAMS will send back a message to the address that submitted the message stating that it has been submitted to the moderator for approval. This informational message contains the following text at the top of the body of the e-mail:

The following message has been forwarded to the moderators
for approval
==========================================================

Step 2) Moderating a message.

    At this point all of the moderators of the mailing list will be sent a confirmation request. This piece of mail will have a subject line that looks something like:

CONFIRMATION REQ:DAR_SENIORS_2002-19153
In this example, DAR_SENIORS_2002 is the list name, and 19153 is a unique confirmation number assigned to this message. All confirmation messages will appear in a similar format. The body of the email will contain the message that you have to moderate. Read it and decide if you want it sent to your list. (if you submitted it yourself, you should still make sure it is intact and reads as you intended) If you don't want the message to go out, just delete the e-mail and don't worry about it. If you want it to go out to the list, you must approve it. You can approve it via e-mail (describes in step 3a), or you can approve it using the web interface (described in 3b).

Step 3a) Approving a message via e-mail

    To approve a message via e-mail, simply respond to the confirmation request without changing the part of the subject line containing the list name and unique number. Don't worry if another moderator already approved it. The unique number is good for only one specific message, and once that specific message has been approved by any means, the number is ignored. If someone has already approved the message you may receive a informational e-mail telling you that no such message is pending. Such a message means that someone approved the message, or killed it using the web interface.

Step 3b) Approving a message via the web.

     To moderate a message via the web, you use your web browser to go to the list editor. You provide your rci username followed by @rci in the username field, and your rci password in the password field. If your username was foo, you would put foo@rci in the username field. You should then get a screent asking you to select a list from a list of RAMS lists you have permission to edit. Select the appropriate list and click "edit list". You will then get a screen asking you to select a task. You want to choose "Moderation/Primetime", and click "select task". You will then see a screen with two lists. The top list contains messages waiting for approval, and the bottom list contains messages pending primetime. The bottom list should be left alone under normal circumstances. The top list has three options for each message. Clicking "View" will let you preview messages. Clicking "Kill" will PERMANANTLY erase the message. Clicking "Approve" will approve the message and it will either go out, or move to the pending list depending on your list configuration and the time of day. Once you have clicked approve, and the list refreshes, the message has been approved. Depending on the list, this may take up to two minutes. Most lists will take considerably less time.

Basic troubleshooting.

     If you reply to the informational message telling you that your message has been submitted to the moderator for approval, you will just keep on getting more of them as the system just thinks you are submitting new messages. Do not reply to them. If you reply to the CONFIRMATION REQ: messages, and you get the informational message and a NEW CONFIRMATION REQ: message with a new number, there is a problem with your account. You must contact support and have it fixed. Likely your list has been migrated from the old system, and your e-mail address no longer matches what we had on record. If something else is going wrong, you can look at the troubleshooting guides in the documentation for advice or contact support.