WiscList - Alternate Solutions for Alert Emails

This document details alternate solutions to WiscList for critical, time-sensitive, or automated server notices that need to be sent to multiple email addresses.

Should I use WiscList for alerts?

WiscList delivery times are affected by things like the number of users sending mailings and network delays. Because of the volatility of delivery times, it is impractical for campus IT administrators to use standard WiscLists for critical alerts.

Consider using an alternate solution like an Office 365 group or Google group in scenarios like the following:

  • Automated server or failure alerts
  • Critical or time-sensitive alarms
  • High volume/verbose notifications (more than 300 messages per day)

If you previously used a groups.wisc.edu address, the WiscList team recommends using a Google group as a replacement alerts mechanism. An example configuration suitable for this purpose is detailed below.

If you do opt to use a WiscList, please contact the WiscList team at wisclist@doit.wisc.edu to ensure your list is configured correctly.

Example Google Group Configuration

Please see the following KB document for the procedure to create new Google groups: UW-Madison G Suite - Create a Google Group

In the Google Groups interface, you may change many features including moderation, footer content, subject prefix, etc. Configure the group according to your specific needs.

The following settings are recommended on Google groups suitable for sending high volume, critical, and/or time-sensitive alert emails:

  • Group type: Choose Email list to allow the group to act as a mailing list.
  • Basic permissions: These are the settings that determine who may send to, join, and see group emails.
    • View topics: Check all except Public.
    • Post: Check all except Public.
    • Join the group: Check Only invited users.

Google groups are subject to some restrictions. Please see Google Groups policies and limits for more information.

Additional Recommendations

Consider the following when creating an alert group or WiscList:

  • Add intended From addresses as members of the group, but configure them such that they do not receive group emails.
  • Add a unique timestamp to the body of your message to prevent de-duplication mechanisms from deleting the message.
  • Always use a deliverable From address so bounces and error email be be relayed back to the sending system.
  • Never use a WiscList or group email address as the From address (this will cause mail loops).
  • Do not nest a WiscList as a member of a group.