Microsoft Exchange and Blackberry Server Specialists

Groups - Moderated Distribution Group

Most companies have distribution groups that allow emails to be sent to a number of employees at once. However you may want to control who can send an email message to some of the large groups - such as your "All Staff" group.

There are a number of ways that you can do this, such as having a policy that the messages are sent to a specific person or group for review and the message is then sent to the group.
This can be combined with controls on who can send to the list.

However this method does rely on the process being known.

It is possible to use the Moderation feature of Public Folders to provide a more automatic way of controlling this process.

Create the Groups

  1. Create two mail enabled groups in the usual way...
    • "All Staff" - This will be a group containing all of your staff.
      However do NOT populate the list yet - so that you test it. Put a test account in the list. (You will probably want to avoid having your own account in this list at the moment to save confusion when testing). Give this list a good SMTP address all.staff@ for example, as it may be used directly (see below).
    • "All Staff Moderators" - This will be a list of staff who can moderate messages sent to the All Staff List.
      Again, do not populate this list, instead put your own account in the list.
    Eventually both of those lists will be hidden from the Global Address List, but for now you need to leave them visible.
    However do click on the tab "Exchange Advanced" and change the option "Do not send Delivery Reports".
    If you already have a group for all of your staff, then create a test group, once you are sure the feature works correctly, change it for your real group, adjusting the permissions as required.

Create and Configure the Public Folder

  1. Create a Public Folder to receive the messages for moderation in Outlook in the usual way.
    Mail enable the public folder through ESM.
  2. Still in ESM, look at the Properties of the folder. Click on the tab "Exchange General" and then the button "Delivery Restrictions". Change the option to accept messages only from "All Staff". This ensures that nothing from outside of the business can sent messages to the group. On Exchange 2007 this option is on the "Mail Flow Settings" tab.
  3. On the "General" tab, change the option to "Use this name:" and enter the name that you want the folder to be listed as in the Global Address List.
    Tip: Put a space in front of the name and the folder will appear at the top of the GAL. (Exchange 2003 only, this does NOT work on Exchange 2007)
  4. Back to Outlook, now set the permissions on the public folder.
    Right click on the folder and choose Properties. Click on the tab "Permissions".
    Set "Default" to None.
    Both "Anonymous" and "All Staff" need to have contributor rights, so that email messages can be delivered to this folder.
    "All Staff Moderators" should have "Publishing Editor". 
    Ensure that someone is the folder owner. Use the "Email Admins Group" if appropriate.

Configure the Moderation

  1. Click on the tab "Administration" and then "Moderated Folder"
    1. Enable the option to setup the folder as a moderated folder.
    2. Add "All Staff Moderators" to both "Forward New Items to" and "Moderators".
    3. Optional - set the reply settings. Initially set it to use the default message while you test the folder.
  2. Test the moderation by sending an email to this folder. You will not see a copy of the message in the folder. Instead, you (as a member of the "All Staff Moderators" group) also receive a copy. You can now drag and drop the message in to the folder where it should be seen.
    If you get the reply about the folder being moderated back then you haven't set the moderation settings correctly.

Configure the Forward

Once the moderation feature is working correctly, all that is left to do is enable the forward so that the moderated message is distributed to the group.

  1. On the Properties of the Public Folder, click on Administration and choose "Folder Assistant".
    Choose "Add Rule".
  2. Leave the top section empty, what you need to set is the "Perform these Actions"
    Choose the option "Forward" and click on the box "To:". Select the "All Staff" list that you created above.
    Press OK to close the Window once the list has been selected.
  3. IMPORTANT. The rule will have been created above the moderation rules. You need to move it down so that it is the third rule in the list.
  4. Test the entire process, by sending a message to the folder, then copying the message you receive back to the folder which should be distributed to the group.

Clean up and Secure

  1. Once tested as working, you can cleanup and secure the process
    1. Right click on the group "All Staff" and choose "Exchange General". Change the "Message Restrictions" settings to "Only From" and enter the Public Folder. If you have anyone who you need to to bypass the moderation procedure (IT and VIPs might fall in this category) then add them to the list. They can use the full SMTP address to send messages to this list directly.
    2. Click on the tab "Exchange Advanced" and hide both lists from the Global Address List.

External Users

This technique does not deliver email to external recipients added to the list as Contacts.