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  Plato Web Infrastructure FAQ -- "MAILING LISTS"    

What are mailing lists used for in Plato?

There are two uses for mailing lists: some are used purely for sending emails and others are used additionally to define access control for areas of the web. For clarity we will use the terms mailing list and weblist - in this document.

Mailing lists

Each level in a Plato site may have one mailing list - the lowest level must have a list defined. A number of the most recent archived emails may be displayed on the home page, as with other items such as documents and actions, but the list will also be described on the 'Mailing Lists' page.

The Mailing Lists page

The contents of the Mailing List page depend on whether you are at a Public or Protected level, since in the latter case you have been identified and authenticated.

Public level

The public level mailing list is often 'Open', meaning that you may self-subscribe yourself. This page allows you to self-subscribe - or if already subscribed to see the e-mail archive and the subscriber list. In addition there is a link to all Open lists and a link to a facility to unsubscribe yourself from any list.

Protected level

At a protected level the page gives the name of the list, the archive of emails and the list of subscribers. There is also a link to a page giving all lists to which you are subscribed. This latter page (Show users lists) allows a very simple way of removing yourself from lists. The list may also be a master list.

What is a master list?
If the list is a 'Master List', a number of dependent lists will be defined. The Mailing List page will show these and give a simple means self-subscribe to (or unsubscribe from) these dependent lists. This facility is often used to allow members of a project to self-manage their participation in working groups.


Weblists are used to allow access to parts of the website; in this case to various levels within a Plato site. Each level has an associated set of one or more weblists - as one moves down the levels the number of people allowed in will be reduced. Since lists can be embedded in other lists it must be checked carefully that access is defined correctly at each level.

How do maintainers get access to special facilites?
Maintainers are defined by a nominated (single) weblist.
Which list does an alert go to?
An alert is sent to the list (if any) associated with the visibility of the item being created/updated. It may therefore vary over the lifetime of the item.
Do I have to receive mail from a mailing list or weblist?
While there is little point in being on a mailing list and not receiving the mail (except perhaps when you are on vacation), subscription to a weblist for access control purposes only is quite often useful. You can at any time view the e-mail archive but you would not be alerted immediately when items are created or updated. Flipping to web-only subscription or back again can be achieved by accessing the "Show users lists" page.
How do I subscribe to a list that is neither an Open list nor dependent on a Master list?
The owner of the Plato site will action your request or pass it on to Webmaster.
Could I have an Open list (self-subcription allowed) but restrict it to people from a known set of companies?
If the company's Membership Database defines a particular membership type, this can have a set of associated domains. These then can be used to restrict self-subscription to those whose email domain is in the set of membership domains.

Chris French - 26 Feb 2004








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