PBC uses the Google Groups service to provide email lists for groups of people in the body to communicate with each other, and (optionally) to receive emails from those who wish to contact the group. Every list has one or more owners who manage the list, and this page provides instructions on how to perform the basic list management operations, such as adding and removing members.

The address of every list looks like listname@pbc.org for example [email protected]
Creation of new lists is restricted, so if you think you need one please ask a member of staff.

Note that PBC also sends out messages (such as the PBC News) using other email services and these are not covered here.

PBC respects the desires of everyone about how they wish to be contacted. Do not add an email address to a list unless you have confirmed that the person wishes to be on the list, and promptly remove any member who asks to leave.

Accessing a list

To manage a list you need a Google account. If you don’t have one, you can create one without changing your email address if you wish. You can also link a non-Gmail address to your Google account.

Open http://lists.pbc.org in your browser (note in this rare case it must be http and not https, this will redirect you to a secure page).

Sign in to your Google account. If you use more than one Google account, you will need to sign into the one that is linked to the email address that is the owner of your PBC list. You can choose a different account by clicking on the button at the top right of the page that represents your account.

Click on My Groups and the page should show you every PBC list of which you are a member. If you are an owner or manager of a list you should see links for Manage group and Manage members. These options also appear under the list name when you select an individual list to work with:

If you do not see management links it may be because you are accessing the site from a mobile device (e.g. phone or tablet) and therefore using the mobile interface which does not support management. It may look like this:

In this case you will need to select the Desktop link at the bottom of the page, on the line with your email address:

which should take you to pages that have the management links described above.

Adding members

First access the Manage members page for the list (see Accessing a list above)

Click on Invite Members in the menu on the left side:

Enter the email addresses (separated by commas if there is more than one) and an invitation message:

and click on the Send invites button at the top.

The new member will receive an invitation that they must accept to confirm they really do want to receive email on this list. The invitations are good for one week.

It is possible to Direct add members to a list, but if you do this please be very careful:

  • you may not add an address to a PBC list unless the person has agreed in advance to join the list. If people receive unwanted email from our lists it may result in disruptions for our accounts. Don’t assume: check first.
  • triple check that the correct email address is typed in correctly. We have seen many cases in the past when email addresses were entered incorrectly. In the best case your messages just won’t reach the intended person, but even worse they might reach someone else who does not want them but happens to have an email address similar to the one you were trying to enter.

If you use the normal method of inviting members (described above) you have an extra check that the email address is correct and that the person really does want to be on the list, because they have to successfully receive and accept the invitation.

Removing members

First access the Manage members page for the list (see Accessing a list above)

Click on All Members in the menu on the left side:

You will see the list of members. Click on the checkbox at the left of the row of the member you wish to remove.

In the Actions menu at the top, select Remove from group:

Click the Remove button in the confirmation box that appears.

You may select multiple members to remove them all at once.

Self unsubscription

Members of a list may remove themselves by sending email to listname[email protected] For example, if your list was named “testingit” a member could unsubscribe by sending email to [email protected]

The unsubscribe information will typically appear as a footer at the bottom of every message sent to the list, but for pbc.org addresses this may not occur. If you want to make sure the footer is always included, there is an option for that covered under Configuring a List below.

Member roles

When you examine the list of members (see Remove members above to find out how to see the list) you will notice that there is a Role column:

  • Member is the role for a regular member who just receives and sends messages
  • Manager is the role for someone who can add and remove members and moderate messages but cannot do things like delete the group
  • Owner is the role with complete control to configure and delete the group

Every PBC list should have at least one owner. It is up to you if you wish to have additional owners or managers. Note that PBC account administrators also have full power over all lists. If you get stuck, contact the office.

Moderating messages

Rarely a message sent to a list may be held for the owner(s)/manager(s) to review:

  • occasionally a message may be detected as possibly spam and held for that reason
  • for private lists (meant only for the members to communicate among themselves) a non-member message to the list can be held

When a message is held for review, the owner(s)/manager(s) should receive an email to notify them.

To review held messages, first access the list (see Accessing a list above), then select Messages > Pending messages from the menu at left:

You will be able to select held messages (by clicking in the checkbox) and send them through to the list, mark them as spam, or delete them, so nobody else sees them, by using the buttons at the top.

Deleting a list

When a list is no longer needed, please remove it. To do this, first access the Manage group page for the list (see Accessing a list above).

Open the Information > Advanced page and click the Delete this group button. You will have to confirm, and this operation cannot be undone so please be careful.

Configuring a list

Typically you should leave list settings as they were when the list was created, but there are a few settings that you might need to adjust. For all configuration, access the Manage group page for the list (see Accessing a list above).

Private or Contact group

Private groups are intended to be used only for communication among their members, so you can protect the group by having messages from non-members held (see Moderating messages above about handling such messages). To do this, select the option to moderate non-member messages, in the Settings > Moderation page:

In the rare case when your list is a member of another (child list), setting it to be a private group will require moderation for messages sent through the parent group, even if that list does not require moderation.

Contact groups are open to receive email from anyone, even if they are not a member of the group. For example, the [email protected] address is used for anyone to contact reception staff in the office. For these cases, you should uncheck the box so messages from non-members are not moderated (that is, not held for review).

Archiving messages

A list may preserve a record of every message that can be read later through the web page of the list. For lists migrated from our old service, archiving was disabled initially to match the expectations from that service. For new lists archiving may be the default. Consider whether it is appropriate to keep messages.

Under Information > Content control you may set whether or not to archive messages:

Name and description

Under Information > General information you may edit the formal group name (for things like capitalization). Please do not alter the assigned email address: if you think you need to rename a group please contact a member of staff.

If the email address of the list does not make the purpose obvious, please include a brief note about what the list is for as the Group Description.

Email footers

You may choose to include certain information at the bottom of every email sent on the list, under Settings > Email options. You may even enter custom text to say something about the list. We recommend keeping footers to a minimum.

Many members will receive messages with unsubscribe information included, regardless of how you set the footers. This is to ensure that members can leave the list when they choose, and is not under our control but mandated by Gmail. If you want to ensure that every member receives messages containing the unsubscribe information, set the option Display how to unsubscribe from this group by email.