Access Keys:
Skip to content (Access Key - 0)

How do I administer an Athena (Moira) list or group?

Moira Lists Only
The instructions here apply only to a traditional Moira mailing list or group. These instructions will not work for a Mailman list. To administer a Mailman list, please see our article titled "How do I administer a Mailman list?"

On this page:


There are two primary ways to administer a Moira list: from the Athena command line (athena%) or via the web. While the web interface is simpler, there is some functionality that can only be access from the Athena command line.

4 Hour Delay
Any changes that you make will take up to four hours to affect the mail servers. Changes made to groups through moira will take effect immediately.


You can use the interactive program "listmaint" to maintain your Moira list. To run it, type "listmaint"

joeuser@athena:~$ listmaint


That will give you a menu listing various options. To update the membership of a list, select Option 6 "Member Menu - Change/Show Members of a List." That will ask you for the name of the list, and then give you a menu titled "Change/Display membership". From that menu you can add members, remove members, and display a list of the members.

There are four different types of members that can be added or deleted:

USER The most common type of member, anyone who has an Athena account. Only the person's username should be entered, not their full address. For example, would be added as type USER and the "Name of USER to add" would be joeuser.
LIST Used for adding other Moira lists to your list. If a list address is, it should be added as type LIST. Only the part of the address before the @ should used as the name of the list. For example, the list would be added as type LIST and the "Name of LIST to add" would be accounts.
KERBEROS Used for adding a kerberos principal only, and should not be used for most lists.
STRING Used for addresses that don't end in This includes other MIT departments (e.g., and external addresses (e.g.,


If you make a lot of changes to lists, you may prefer to use "blanche". In most cases, you can just add users to your list with the command:

joeuser@athena:~$ blanche listname -add username

Note: Be sure to fill in the correct information for listname and username.

Blanche will do its best to figure out what type of member is being added. Most of the time it does a good job, but it's wise to recheck when you are finished to make sure.

You can delete users by changing the '-add' to '-delete'. For a list of people on your list, simply type 'blanche listname'. If you want to add a long list of names to a list, you can put them all in a text file and do 'blanche listname -al filename', or if you want a list to contain only the names in a text file, you can type 'blanche listname -f filename' and the appropriate members will be both added and removed.

For more information on blanche, type 'man blanche'.


Another method of editing your mailing lists is to use the web interface to moira:

This requires MIT certificates to use, and it does not have as many options as listmaint / blanche; you cannot delete a list, or add names from a text file.

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

May 02, 2016

Get Help

Request help
from the Help Desk
Report a security incident
to the Security Team
c-moira c-moira Delete
moira moira Delete
admin admin Delete
list list Delete
listmaint listmaint Delete
Enter labels to add to this page:
Please wait 
Looking for a label? Just start typing.
This product/service is:
Easy to use
Difficult to use

This article is:
Adaptavist Theme Builder (4.2.3) Powered by Atlassian Confluence 3.5.13, the Enterprise Wiki