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How to remove yourself from (reputable) mailing lists.

These suggestions generally also work for subscribing to a mailing list with appropriate substitutions (like "subscribe" instead of "unsubscribe").

About these pages



Updates Required

I have learned some things since I wrote this and should rewrite it to incorporate some additional points:

  • Some mailing list do monitor the actual list for subscribe and unsubscribe requests (see the note at the end of If you've forgotten, try "-request")
  • Many mailing lists now include subscribe / unsubscribe information with each email -- you may have to "view source" to find the information.
  • I should include instructions for subscribing / unsubscribing from a different email address. In majordomo you can include an address after the list name, for example: subscribe demo-list jqpublic@my-isp.com
  • I should add specific sections for different mail list handlers and how the commands differ, for example, in majordomo use "info <listname> to get help, in others use "help" (IIRC).
  • Some mail list handlers to cover:
    • majordomo
    • sympa


In an effort to minimize spam, all email addresses on twiki.org are "disguised" by inserting the word "SPAMBLOCK". In order to use an address shown in these instructions, delete "SPAMBLOCK" from the address.

Not for Spam Type Mailing Lists

These instructions are for "reputable" mailing lists. Some mailing lists may consider any attempt to remove yourself from the mailing list as confirmation that you exist. They might then leave you subscribed to the mailing list in question, add you to other mailing lists, or sell your name to other advertisers as a "confirmed" address.

Strategies for dealing with non reputable mailing lists are not discussed on this page. (Someday, see Dealing with Disreputable Mailing Lists.)

General Discussion

Save the Original Instructions

Usually, you will get an email after you subscribe which includes instructions on how to unsubscribe. Keep this email. I have a mail folder called "member" where I save emails of this type. (A better name might be "maillists".)

If you don't get an email with unsubscribe instructions, keep a record of where you found the subscription instructions. (Send yourself a carbon copy of any email you sent to subscribe, or send yourself an email with the location of the unsubscribe instructions. In either case, store the email in the "member" folder.)

Use Your Original Email Address

It is easier to unsubscribe if you use the same email address you used to subscribe. If you've changed email addresses, you must follow a special procedure which includes specifying the email address under which you originally subscribed.

Generic Instructions

Many mailing lists allow (or require) you to send email to the "list manager" (a program) to subscribe or unsubscribe from the list.

Typically, you send an email to the list manager program with the word "subscribe", "unsubscribe", or "help" (all without the quotes) in the body (or subject) of the email.

If you've forgotten, try "-request"

Many maillists which allow email have a generic name for the list manager which is formed by adding "-request" to the first part of the email address.

For example, I subscribe to the AbiWord developers maillist:

I can unsubscribe from it by sending an email with "unsubscribe" in the body to:

Note: I need to update this -- I have since found some maillists that do accept subscribe or unsubscribe requests addressed directly to the mail list (i.e., without the "-request"). So far, these seem to be in the minority, and I would suggest trying this approach only if all other approaches fail.

Specific Removal Instructions

(For lists for which the generic instructions do not work, or other alternatives are known.)

Mandrake Lists

The instructions are at: http://www.linux-mandrake.com/en/flists.php3.

Send an email to sympa@linux-mandrakePLEASENOSPAM.com with "unsubscribe <listname>" (without quotes) in the body of the message (example: "unsubscribe newbie", without quotes.

Pausing Your Subscription

from Harm Bathoorn on newbie@linux-mandrakePLEASENOSPAM.com:

  • To resume: send a message with "SET newbie MAIL" (no quotes) in the message body.

En Español

Quoted from Francisco Alcaraz, Murcia (España)

"Puedes "dessuscribirte" enviando un correo electrónico a la dirección sympa@linux-mandrakePLEASENOSPAM.com escribiendo "unsubscribe listName" en el cuerpo del mensaje; creo que eso funcionará."


TopicStatus: Scribbles
-- RandyKramer - 16 Aug 2001
-- Francisco Alcaraz
Edit | Attach | Watch | Print version | History: r10 < r9 < r8 < r7 < r6 | Backlinks | Raw View | Raw edit | More topic actions
Topic revision: r10 - 2002-07-23 - RandyKramer
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