Much of the daily work of the IETF is conducted on electronic mailing lists. There are four categories of mailing lists:
- Discussion Lists: a general IETF discussion list and discussion lists for each IETF working group
- Announcement Lists: an IETF announcement list, an Internet-Drafts (I-D) announcement list, an IPR announcement list and an IESG Agenda Distribution list
- Working Group Lists: discussion lists for each IETF working group
- Non-Working Group Lists: including lists hosted @ietf.org and elsewhere that may be of interest to IETF participants. Addition of a new list or modification of an existing entry both require the approval of an Area Director.
Please note that mailing lists @ietf.org are for conducting official IETF business only and must be approved by an IETF Area Director, the IETF Chair, or the IAB Chair. Statements addressed to these lists are considered IETF contributions and are subject to the IETF intellectual property rights rules as defined in RFC 5378, "Rights Contributors Provide to the IETF Trust," and RFC 3979, "Intellectual Property Rights in IETF Technology."
To request a new working group mailing list, please see
"How to Request a New Working Group Mailing List at the IETF." To request a non-WG mailing list, please refer to "IETF Non-WG Mailing Lists."
Archives are maintained for each list and can be found in a number of ways:
Any submission to the IETF intended by the Contributor for publication as all or part of an IETF Internet-Draft or RFC and any statement made within the context of an IETF activity is considered an "IETF Contribution". Such statements include oral statements in IETF sessions, as well as written and electronic communications made at any time or place, which are addressed to:
- The IETF plenary session
- The IESG, or any member thereof on behalf of the IESG
- Any IETF mailing list, including the IETF list itself, any working group or design team list, or any other list functioning under IETF auspices
- Any IETF working group or portion thereof
- Any Birds of a Feather (BOF) session
- The IAB or any member thereof on behalf of the IAB
- The RFC Editor or the Internet-Drafts function
All IETF Contributions are subject to the rules of RFC 5378 and RFC 3979 (updated by RFC 4879).
Statements made outside of an IETF session, mailing list or other function, that are clearly not intended to be input to an IETF activity, group or function, are not IETF Contributions in the context of this notice. Please consult RFC 5378 and RFC 3979 for details.
A participant in any IETF activity is deemed to accept all IETF rules of process, as documented in Best Current Practices RFCs and IESG Statements.
A participant in any IETF activity acknowledges that written, audio and video records of meetings may be made and may be available to the public.
The IETF uses Mailman to manage IETF email discussions.
When you subscribe to a IETF email list, Mailman will offer you the opportunity to enter a privacy password. As they state on the list subscription page, "this provides only mild security, but should prevent others from messing with your subscription. Do not use a valuable password as it will occasionally be emailed back to you in cleartext. If you choose not to enter a password, one will be automatically generated for you, and it will be sent to you once you've confirmed your subscription. You can always request a mail-back of your password when you edit your personal options. Once a month, your password will be emailed to you as a reminder. "
Please note that although Mailman will send the password reminders for each subscription in clear text in an email (these can be turned off by the user, by individual list or globally for that email address), the passwords are encrypted on the server and can not be read by anyone, list admins or server admins.
Changing a Subscriber Address Globally
- Go to https://www.ietf.org/mailman/options/ietf/<email address>
- Enter your password. (If you do not remember your password, there is a button here to have the system send you a password reminder.)
- Under the "Changing your IETF list information" section, enter
your new email address in the appropriate fields.
- Check the "Change globally" box.
- Hit the "Change My Address and Name" button.
- You will receive an email at your new address asking you to confirm the change.
Occasionally list subscribers will have their addresses disabled due to the internal Mailman bounce policy; this policy is explained below.
Each email address that mailman sends to has a corresponding bounce score. Every day that mail to an address bounces back will cause the bounce score for that email address to be increased, by 1 for a hard (fatal) bounce and by 0.5 for a soft (transient) bounce. If mailman can't determine whether it's a hard or a soft bounce it uses hard by default.
Once the bounce score for an email address reaches 5 the account (subscription) will be disabled. Mailman will try sending 3 warning messages, each 3 days apart, to the email address to the tell the recipient their account has been disabled and how to re-enable it. If the account is still disabled after this then mailman will remove the email address from the membership list.