Reducing Mailing List Moderator Approval Requests

There are four main places in Mailman configuration for a list that can cause incoming messages to be held for moderation.

Moderated members

List members who are set to "mod" (which stands for "moderated", not "moderator") will have their postings held. You can see who has the mod box checked by going into Membership Management, and if you want to set them all to be unmoderated, you can do that at the bottom of the page, with this setting:

  • Set everyone's moderation bit, including those members not currently visible. Select Off and then press the Set button.

To go with this, you may want to make sure that new members who are added to the list in the future are also unmoderated - you can do this under Privacy Options > Sender Filters. Change the setting for "By default, should new list member postings be moderated?", setting this to No.


While members (under the default Mailman settings) are not moderated, non-member postings are by default moderated. If you want non-members to be able to post freely, you can change this setting here:

  1. Go to Privacy Options > Sender Filters
  2. Go to "Action to take for postings from non-members for which no explicit action is defined."
    The default here is "Hold", but if you change that to Accept then non-member postings will get through.

Large messages

There is a default maximum message size of 40K; messages beyond this maximum will be held for approval. You can turn off this limit by setting it to 0.
Go to General Options and set "Maximum length in kilobytes (KB) of a message body" to 0 for no limit.

Implicit destination / Too many recipients

Mail which is bcc'ed to the list (or is sent to another list which has your list as a member), or has a large number of recipients, will be held. When Mailman holds a message like this for moderator approval, the reason is "Message has implicit destination" or "Too many recipients to the message". To turn these off:

  1. Go to Privacy Options > Recipient Filters.
  2. Change the setting for "Must posts have list named in destination (to, cc) field (or be among the acceptable alias names, specified below)?" to No
  3. Change the setting for "Ceiling on acceptable number of recipients for a posting" to 0.
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