Sympa: Mailing Lists Approval Guidelines

Are you affiliated with Duke?

Only Duke students, faculty, staff members, or affiliates can request, moderate, or own mailing lists. (e.g., your email address ends in or @*

Does the list meet a legitimate need?

Legitimate needs fall within the following scopes:

  • Academic
  • Business
  • Professional
  • or Social Event

The mailing list should serve the goals of Duke organizations, departments, schools, events, or other entities of some sort. The mailing list can also be used for a nationally recognized organization whose membership includes Duke associates.


  • Students can request a list for a particular Duke sponsored social event on or off campus.
  • Students requesting a list for a particular Duke student group needs to be listed as the primary contact on the group roster per
  • Students cannot request a list to be used to email all their friends every Friday to find out where everyone is going that night. Students can use their email client address book group feature for that.

Are you in any position of authority at the organization?

The mailing list request must be proportional to your position in the organization.


  • If you request, are you an RA in that dorm?
  • John Doe is the manager of the OIT Service Desk, but John cannot request a mailing list for However, John can request

Does the requested list name reflect the list's purpose of use in any way?

The list name should either match the initials or be an abbreviation of the organization name, or describe the event or usage of the list.


  • A faculty member sponsoring an annual craft fair on campus could request something along the lines of
  • For one-time events (non-recurring), please consider something more like to allow possible future craftfair events organized by other groups.
  • The list name will be reserved for the Department of Biology instead of an individual who is running a biology club. The club can have other similar names, such as or

Is the requested list name already taken?

  • OIT Service Desk will check availability and inform the requester if it is in use and to request a new list.


  • Global Health Institute cannot request because that address is reserved for Gary Harold Isaksen. Try or
  • Middle Ages History cannot request,, or Try,, or

What are the naming convention limitations/requirements?

The list's name; its address will be The list name should be all lowercase, no longer than 40 characters, and should only contain letters, numbers, hyphens, and underscores. Lists with spaces, periods or other punctuation will be denied at time of creation or during the approval process.  Hyphens are recommended over underscores.

What happens to dormant lists?
If the list has no correspondence activity on it for at least two years, OIT reserves the right to close the list.  List owners have 30 days to appeal to re-activate the list before it is deleted.

What is the turn-around time from request to approval?

The turn-around time from request to approval is <5 business days.

I would like to change my list's name. How can I do that.

There is a rename list option in your admin panel for the list.  Use this to have a request sent to the OIT Service Desk for proper protocol of the name change.  Sending an email to the Service Desk will result in a denial.

Article number: KB0019135

Valid to: March 28, 2025