Moderate the Lasqueti e-mail list

The Lasqueti E-mail List allows people with a Lasqueti connection to exchange information important to Lasquetians. Messages sent to the list are moderated to maintain the list’s nature, purpose, and usefulness. 

This "how-to" provides technical documentation for moderators on how to use the Mailman moderation queue.  Please see the Moderation Guidelines for information about how moderators should make decisions about messages sent to the list.

Access to the Moderation Queue

The list's moderation queue is maintained on a simple website, which shows all messages that are awaiting moderation.

You will need to "Sign Up" for an account at:
Then, on lists where you have moderator role, this gives you access to the moderation queue:

Email Notification

As a moderator, you will receive an e-mail notification from the system whenever a new request to the list requires moderation.  The notification contains a copy of the message, just as it will appear on the list, so you can review it before proceeding to the moderation queue. 

Moderators also receive a daily notification if there are outstanding tasks in the moderation queue for that day.

Moderation Tasks

There are two types of request that may require a moderator's approval:

  • Subscription Requests:  when a new user subscribes to the list, this request goes into the "Subscription Requests" queue.  The moderator should verify that the request comes from someone with a "connection to Lasqueti", as defined in the Moderation Guidelines, before approving the subscription.
  • Held Messages: when a non-member or moderated member sends a message to the list, it goes into the "Held Messages" queue.  The moderator should verify that the message conforms to the Moderation Guidelines before approving the message.

Using the Moderation Queue

Each moderation task held in the queue is listed with a number of "actions", with the most commonly used actions being: "Approve", "Reject", and "Discard

To moderate a set of requests, tick checkbox beside each message to process, and press button with desired action.  If you want to review the message itself, or supply a detailed rejection message, you can click the message link to process the message individually.

For a given request, the moderator may choose to:

  • Accept /  Approve : this action accepts the message for publication on the list, or approves the user to be a list recipient.  Once completed, you can't undo this action.
  • Reject : this action sends a message back to the person who made the request, informing them that their request was rejected.  This is a serious action, and should not be taken lightly - the moderator should always provide a reason why a request was rejected.
  • Discard : this action simply discards the request, without informing anyone.  This action should be used to discard spam or duplicate messages from the list.

Protocols for Moderating

  • Generally, the job of moderating is shared by several people.  So, by the time you get to the moderation queue, you may find the task has already been handled by another moderator.
  • List moderators may (and should) simply Discard messages that are obvious spam or duplicates.
  • List moderators should never user their position to censure opinion or block legitimate access to the list, and should always choose neutral, non-confrontational language when responding the moderation issues.
  • List moderators should always provide a reason if they Reject a message sent to the list (see below).
  • If you are unsure about what action to take with a request, simply leave the message on the queue, where it can be dealt with later (i.e., perhaps after obtaining additional information or conferring with other moderators).
  • Please see the Moderation Guidelines for more complete information about moderating protocols and procedures.  There is also some sample text for common "rejection letters".

Dealing with Posts that need to be edited

Occasionally a post will need to be edited, usually because it's subject line is missing or meaningless, or because it contains a large "reply quote" or long-winded "signature", or because the contents are unacceptable in some way. Moderators are unable to make any edits - they can only accept or reject messages.

  • If a message requires some editing to be acceptable for publication, you will Reject the message with an explanation about what needs to change to make the message acceptable for publication.  The system will send out a "rejection letter" to the user, containing details about the message in question along with your reason for rejecting, and with this line appended: "Any questions or comments should be directed to the list administrator at:   lasqueti_maillist-owner [at] lists [dot] lasqueti [dot] ca."
  • Be sure that your explanation invites the user to make the requested edits and to re-submit their message - these are important instructions to always include.
  • If a user disagrees with an editing request, and wants their message published "as-is", then we have a very rare event, and the moderators will need to decide what to do as a group.

Tips for Moderators

  • Refer users to the Moderation Guidelines if they want to know what criteria you are using to make decisions.  Refer them to the list administrator if they are giving you grief.
  • Use text from the sample rejection letters to keep things consistent, and ensure your language and tone are neutral.
  • If you use the Firefox browser, you can "pin" the moderation queue page as a permanent tab on your browser - this is very handy.  Simply browse to the moderation queue page, right-click on the tab, and select "pin as app tab" - now this tab will always be there, whenever you open your browser.
Moderation Guidelines (pdf)142.68 KB

Sample "rejection letters"

It is important that users receive a clear reason why their message is being rejected.  This "rejection letter" should always be in neutral language to avoid insulting or antagonizing anyone.   If you have suggestions or other "common" rejections, please add them as a comment below...

Always Offer to Publish Edited Post

It is important that the moderator always offer to publish the message if the user edits and re-sends it.  Thus, all "rejections letters" should include a phrase like:

Please edit and re-submit your message so I can forward it to the list readers.  We are not in any way trying to censor your opinion, we are simply trying to ensure the list remains an accessible, useful source of quality information for its subscribers.

Best Practices and Guidelines can be viewed at:

Common Rejection Reasons

Missing or Irrelevant Subject Line

Your message was missing a meaningful subject line.  The e-mail subject is used by the mail list software to create the "table of contents" for the daily digest.  Many readers simply scan this topic list, so your message may go unread without a meaningful subject.  Please re-send your message with the "Subject" field on the e-mail filled with a meaningful topic for your post.

Irrelevant "Reply Quotes" or Long "signatures"

Your message was followed by a long, irrelevant "reply quote" or "signature".  We don't have the ability to edit messages sent to the list, and so need to request that you re-send this message without the block of irrelevant text.  Feedback from list subscribers strongly indicates that such blocks make the list confusing and hard to read, so your assistance here is greatly appreciated.

Long-winded Message or Text Pasted from Online Article

We are reluctant to send this message out as-is - it is very long, and so likely to swamp other shorter notices in the digest.  We hope you would consider posting the entire article on (say as a blog post) and then send a summary with a link to the article to the list?  If you don't have an account yet, you can register for free here:

Sorry for the hassle, but feedback from list subscribers indicates that long articles cause a "trash button" response. We are not attempting to censor anything here...  just trying to strike a balance.

Inappropriate Language

We have a feeling that some list subscribers may find this post overly aggressive / rude.  Our goal is not to censor your opinion, but we do need to consider that list members may unsubscribe if they find the tone on the list offensive. Since reducing the list audience diminishes its usefulness, we need to balance these two concerns. Please consider re-wording your message using more neutral language, and re-submit it so we can send it out to the list.

Potentially Defamatory Remarks

Your message was flagged because we felt it could be considered defamatory.  We define defamatory as "Any disparaging statement made by one person about another - a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual or group a negative image (see  Please understand that we are not lawyers, and cannot make any fine distinctions on these matters. We have an obligation to the list readers to block anything that could be considered defamatory, and err on the side of caution in this respect.  Please consider re-wording your message to avoid making unproven allegations or specious claims, and re-submit it so we can send it out to the list.

Request for "Lasqueti Connection"

The Lasqueti e-mail list is restricted to folks with a Lasqueti connection, as a basic safeguard for those who send messages to the list.  I'm sorry we didn't recognize your name and didn't find you in the phone book - would you be so kind as to provide us with a Lasqueti connection so we can approve your subscription request?