to leave a discussion list gracefully
So you want to UNsubscribe
do you just want
to reduce the number of emails you receive?
Many lists now
offer many different
subscription options including daily or weekly digests, weekly indexes,
and temporary/timed breaks. So if you want to reduce incoming emails
but stay in touch, investigate these options by going to your list's
website or by writing to the list owner or list moderator.
leaving specific 'outdoor' lists click here for information
For advice about
leaving any list - read on:
TO UNSUBSCRIBE DO
- …send an email to
because to leave (or join) a list you must send your message to a
- Follow the instructions you
received (and carefully saved!)
when you first joined the list. No luck? Then ...
- Find where you saved the
instructions by using 'find' to
search your email directory or hard disc. No luck? Then ...
- Find the instructions by
searching the list archives (on
the list web site or via email commands). Look for a helpful message
(e.g. from the List Owner), or...
- Take out a second
subscription!! (You may need to do this with a new name or a
new address.) Why? Because when you subscribe you receive information
about how to unsubscribe! Now that you know what to do, remember to
unsubscribe from both addresses! Still subscribed?
Find the 'unsubscribe' link (or instructions) at the end of a recent email from the list
- Problem solved! If not, try this ...
Find or guess the
list admin address
Find or guess the unsubscribe message
- Find the
message you sent to join the list (Is it in your
'sent' folder?). You probably sent it to the list admin address.
- Look for a contact address in the standard footer of a recent list email.
there is no standard footer, find an email sent by the list moderator /
administrator. It may include their personal signature file with
- Try guessing the list admin
address: admin@.....? help@.....? info@.....?
your subscription details
- Find your joining message
and do the opposite
in order to unsubscribe. e.g.
- If the word
'subscribe' was in the address,
change it to 'unsubscribe'.
- If the word
'subscribe' was in the subject
line or body of your email, change it to
'unsubscribe' words that list robots might
understand are 'signoff', 'leave', 'help' or 'query'. (They don't
understand swear words.)
- Some list
robots like you to add your name or email
address after a space on the same line as your 'unsubscribe' word.
- Even if the above actions
fail, you should receive a 'help
file' from the list robot (or the list owner)
that reveals the secrets of the universe and instructions on how to
leave their list.
- Unless the
ListOwner has disabled this option ...
Take a look at the list of list members (on the list web site or via
email commands) and see if you can spot the name you used when you
first subscribed. Look carefully: you might have misspelled your name,
put it in quote marks or added a thank you message. This means that if
you subscribed as: 'Home R Simpsn'
Thanks! you will need to unsubscribe as: 'Home R Simpsn' Thanks! and ...
- ... while checking your
name, also check your address. Have
you changed your address, or your alias, or your service provider, or
your account settings on your email software? and ...
- If the 'to' header for your
incoming mail from the list
shows your address, check that it is exactly the same
as the address from which you are sending your 'unsubscribe' request.
This is because some list servers get their information from message
headers and may also not have any interest in the text of the message
that you send.
your email software lets you, then take a look at the
detailed headers of a recent email from the list. (These
technical details are usually hidden from view.) You may recognise the
email address from which you subscribed in these detailed headers.
Do you have or know
of a source of better
to the List Website or ask the List Owner
- Become an expert in unsubscribing by reading Stephanie
and Peter da Silva's article
off a mailing list...' [at archive.org]
- As a last resort (a bit desperate and
probably bad advice!) set up a filter on your email software to
automatically delete incoming emails from the list. Not a good idea if
you might want to rejoin the list and forget that you have set up
- Don't be shy! Go back to the 'don't'
at the top of this page and risk being unpopular. Maybe there are lots
of people who want to leave but can't work out how to or daren't ask!
Try not to blame others if you have forgotten the name and address you
used when you signed up, or if you deleted the unsubscribe information
that you were asked to save!
- Type 'Unsubscribe' and the name of your list into a search
- If all else fails, attach yourself to an email addressed to
the listowner. Only worth trying if you are quite small, have broadband
access and a sense of adventure :)
you disagree with any of the above?
Please let me know at
Help me help others - and
take credit for it too if you like!