ITS Documentation

Managing Groups that You Own in the MCommunity Directory

S4382 • August 2014

This document contains instructions for creating and managing groups in the MCommunity Directory. Note that only members of the U-M community who have their own directory profiles can create and manage groups in the directory.

For details about how you become a member of groups in the MCommunity Directory and how you can get yourself removed from them, see Managing Your Membership in MCommunity Directory Groups (S4381).

Table of Contents


TIP: If you use Internet Explorer 7, 8, or 11, you'll need to adjust some IE settings to be able to see any changes that you make to your profile or groups.

TIP: Most changes you make to your MCommunity Directory profile or groups take effect immediately or within a couple of minutes. Some changes, particularly those that must get to multiple systems, may take longer. When will my MCommunity changes be made?

What is a Directory Group?

A group in the MCommunity Directory is basically a list of people and/or groups. Groups are used for sending e-mail and for authorization.

  • E-mail. Directory groups are used primarily for sending e-mail. Mail sent to a group created in the directory is delivered to each member of the group. Groups created in the directory can be used by anyone to send mail, regardless of what e-mail program they use. To send e-mail to a directory group, send it to groupname@umich.edu (where you have substituted the actual group name for groupname).

  • Authorization. Directory groups are also used for authorization; some groups control access to web sites, wikis, and other online resources.

The MCommunity Directory is a public directory. You can hide the member list of your group and limit the visibility of some of the information you provide about your group. The group name will appear on the group's profile page and in search results. If you have a group that requires greater privacy, we recommend that you use a different tool, such as CTools.

Your Group Is in M+Google

MCommunity groups are synchronized to M+Google so they can be used for sharing resources in Google and when sending invitations to Google Calendar events. For details, see MCommunity Groups in M+Google: Sending Email and Sharing Google Resources (R1466).

To use a group for sharing resources in Google, you must set it so that anyone can send mail to it and so that it is not moderated. Otherwise the notifications that the resource has been shared with cannot be delivered.

Responsibilities of Group Owners

  • Have a clear purpose for the group. It is helpful to state this purpose in the Description part of the group profile.

  • Respect the privacy expectations and preferences of your group members. If you make the member list of your group visible to anyone, anyone with web access can look up the group in the directory and view its member list. While this is appropriate and preferable for most groups used for university work, there are situations where it is more appropriate to make the member list viewable by members only:

    • Groups with an ethnic, gender- or sexual-identity, or religious focus. Some members of such groups may not want their membership in such groups made public, and group owners should respect this by making the member list private.

    • Groups of students in a class. To avoid violations of FERPA, a federal law that protects the privacy of personally identifiable information from student education records, member lists of students in a particular class must not be public. Consider using another tool for managing this kind of group, such as CTools.

    • Groups focused on a controversial topic or area. Your group members may not want their membership in such groups made public.

    • If group members ask you to make the member list private. Please honor requests for greater privacy from members of your group.

  • Include group members only with their permission. It is best to get permission from people before adding them to a group. We recommend notifying potential group members and giving them the option to not be in the group. However, owners of groups used for university business (for example, a list of staff members in a particular department) may be required by their unit to include certain people.

  • Remove group members who ask to be removed. Owners of groups used for university business, however, may be required by their unit not to remove people from those groups.

  • Provide a valid mail-forwarding address in your own MCommunity profile. This allows group members to contact you with requests and allows you to receive automated e-mail reminders to renew your group before it expires.

  • Renew your group on a yearly basis if you wish it to remain active. Groups expire after one year unless they are renewed. You may renew your group as often as you wish.

  • Consider setting more than one owner for your group. This is particularly important if you will be away for any length of time and will need to have others maintain the group in your absence. It is strongly recommended that groups used for university business have more than one owner. You can have a group own a group.

  • Delete your group from the directory when it is no longer needed. This prevents members from receiving unwanted mail.

  • Don't leave orphaned groups. If you leave the university, either delete your group(s) or designate new owners as appropriate.

  • Set your group appropriately to meet the members' needs and reduce unwanted mail. For example, if the group is for discussion among group members only, set it to be members-only; that way, no one else will be able to send mail to the group.

  • Do not use the group for sending spam. It is a violation of university policies to create an e-mail group with the intent of sending out what would generally be regarded as spam (unless the group owner received permission from the members of the group). Advertisements or solicitations for commercial events or endeavors are prohibited.

ITS reserves the right to immediately disable any directory group that is being used inappropriately and has generated complaints from group members.

Creating a Group

The directory takes you through a three-step process when you create your group. First you name your group, then select some initial settings, then add members and owners. You can select additional options and settings by editing your group.

  1. Go to the MCommunity Directory and log in with your uniqname and UMICH password.

    Screen shot of Log In link in upper right corner of the MCommunity home page.

  2. On the directory's home page click Create a group.

    Screen shot of the Create a Group button.

  3. Provide a name, e-mail address, and description for your group, then click Continue.

    Group names must be between 9 and 64 characters long. They can contain any letter or number. Names can also contain spaces, single quote marks (') and dashes (-). Other special characters cannot be used. Do not end a group name with a single quote mark; the group creation will fail.

    We recommend that you separate words in your group name with spaces. Then, when you send e-mail to the group, you can substitute dots (.) for the spaces in the e-mail address. Once your group has been created, you cannot change the name, so choose it with care.

    The group e-mail address also must be between 9 and 64 characters long (excluding the @umich.edu part). It should be something that is quick and easy for people to type when sending mail. Your group address can contain letters, numbers, dashes (-), and dots (.), but no other characters. The @umich.edu will be added for you. The address you enter here will be reserved for your group; MCommunity makes sure the address is not already reserved for another group before saving it. Once your group has been created, you cannot change the e-mail address, so choose it with care.

    Screen shot of the first step in creating a group, where you enter a group name, e-mail address, and description.

  4. Select your group settings, then click Continue.

    IMPORTANT! Your group members depend on you to protect their privacy regarding membership in your group. While it is appropriate and preferable for most groups used for university business to have public member lists, there are situations where it is more appropriate to make the member list viewable by members only. Please respect the privacy expectations and preferences of your group members when selecting how visible the member list should be.

    Screen shot of the three group settings: whether the group should be joinable, whether the members list is visible to the public, and whether only the members can send e-mail to it.

  5. Add owners and members to your group. These can be people or groups. When you are done, click Finish.

    • For people at U-M, enter their uniqname.

    • For directory groups, be sure to enter the group's name (not its e-mail address) exactly as it appears in its group profile. If, for example, the group name is made up of more than word with spaces inbetween, enter the spaces; adding dots between words will not work.

    • You can add external members who do not have a U-M e-mail address. Add them by typing in their full e-mail address.

    Screen shot of adding members and owners. There is a box for each. You can enter uniqnames or group names. For members, you can also enter full e-mail addresses of people outside the university. It is a good idea to have multiple group owners.

  6. You'll see your new group profile, along with a confirmation message that the group was created.

    Screen shot of group profile with confirmation message.

    When you first create your group, you'll see a No next to Sent to M+Google. It takes a few minutes or so for your group to be sent to Google. The No will change to Yes once the group information has been sent. It may take up to a day after that for Google to process the information and create your group in M+Google. MCommunity can tell you when it has sent the information, but it cannot look inside Google to see when the group has been created there.

Finding all the Groups You Own or Are In

Finding All Your Groups

  1. Log in to the MCommunity Directory.

    Screen shot of login link at upper right corner of page.

  2. Click the My Groups link that appears in the top right corner of any MCommunity Directory page when you are logged in.

    Screen shot of My Groups link in upper right corner of page.

  3. You'll see a list of all the groups that you own or are a member of.

    • Ownership is indicated by a star.

    • Membership is indicated by a little person (member) icon.

    • If you are a moderator of a group (someone who reviews mail sent to a group, deciding what to pass on to the group members and what to delete), there will be a badge icon next to that group name.

    • If you are a member of a group that owns another group, the group owned by the group that you are a member of will be listed with a blue star next to it.

    Screen shot of list of groups. The person icon indicates that you are a member of a group. Click a group name to see its profile page and learn more about it. The yellow star indicates that you are a direct owner of a group, while a blue star indicates that you own a group as a member of an owning group.

Finding the Groups You Own

To see a list just of the groups you own, use MCommunity's Advanced Search page.

  1. At the top of any page, click Advanced Search.

    Screen shot of Advanced Search link in upper right corner of any MCommunity Directory page.

  2. Near the bottom of the Advanced Search page, next to Owner matches exactly, type your uniqname. Then click Search Groups.

    Screen shot of searching for all groups owned by a particular uniqname.

    NOTE: Only groups that you own directly as an individual will display using this search. Groups that you own as a member of an owning group will not display, although they will be listed under My Groups with a blue star.

Making Changes to a Group

NOTE: Only the owner of a group can make changes to that group. You must be logged in to make changes.

  1. Go to the MCommunity Directory and log in with your uniqname and UMICH password.

  2. Find the group you want to modify and view its profile. You can use the Search box to find the group, or click the My Groups link to see a list of your groups then click the one you want.

  3. In the group profile, click the Group info tab to change general information about your group, click the Members tab to change members, owners, and moderators, and click the Settings tab to change settings that control how your group works.

    Screen shot of group tabs for making changes.

Group info

Click the appropriate Edit link to make changes to general information about your group.

Screen shot of an editable group profile with the Group info tab selected.

"Viewable by" Menus

For several of the items under the Group info tab, you will see a Viewable by menu. For these items, you can choose who can see the information.

Screen shot of a Viewable by menu.

  • Everyone. Anyone with web access can see the information.

  • U-M Only. Only members of the U-M community can see it. That is, anyone who can log in to the directory with a uniqname and UMICH password, and they must be logged in to see the information. This includes faculty, staff, students, retirees, alumni, and sponsored affiliates.

  • Members Only. Only the members of the group can see the information, and they must be logged in to see it.

Contact Information

You can provide additional contact information for your group, such as a phone number, fax number, and address.

Screen shot of editing group contact information and selecting who can see it from the Viewable by menus.

Description

Change the Description for your group and choose who can see it. The Description appears in search results as well as on the group's profile page.

Screen shot of editing the text of the Description and choosing who can see it.

Also Known As

You can add names for your group that can be used to help people find your group when searching the directory.

Also Known As names can be used when sending email to your group, and are treated as reserved group names. This means that other groups cannot be created with the same name as an Also Known As name assigned to your group. An Also Known As name must be more than nine characters long to avoid conflicts with uniqnames.

  1. Click the Add Alias link.

    Screen shot of Add Alias link.

  2. Enter your group's Also Known As name or Alias, then click Save.

    Screen shot of adding the name and clicking Save.

Notice

Enter text for your group notice, select who you want to be able to see it from the Viewable by menu, then click Save.

Screen shot of editing a notice.

Links

If your group has a website or page, you can include a link to it in your group profile. Provide a name for the page you are linking to, enter the URL, select who you want to be able to see it, then click Save.

Screen shot of adding a link to a group profile.

See Also

You can add group names and uniqnames that are related to your group. People will be able to click these to go to the group or person profiles.

  1. Click the Add See Also link.

    Screen shot of the Add See Also link.

  2. Enter a uniqname or group name, select who you want to be able to see it, then click Save. Click the Add See Also link to add more.

    Screen shot of adding See Also uniqnames and group names.

Members, Owners, and Moderators

Viewing Members, Owners, and Moderators

Click the Members tab to see a list of all group members, including people with MCommunity profiles, people outside the university (listed by their full e-mail address), and other MCommunity groups (listed as subgroups).

If your group has less than 300 members, member names and affiliations will be displayed. If it has 300 or more members, only uniqnames will be displayed.

Members can have one or more roles:

  • Member. Indicated by a checkmark under the person icon. This means the person is a member of the group. You must be a member of a group to receive email sent to it.

  • Owner. Indicated by a checkmark under the star icon. Group owners can edit, renew, and delete the group. If you own groups used for departmental or other university work, please add new owners if your role changes or you leave the university. Note that group owners must also be members in order to receive email sent to the group.

  • Moderator. Indicated by a checkmark under the badge icon. Moderators screen e-mail for a group. If a group has one or more moderators, mail sent to the group goes to the moderators only. It is then up to the moderators to send mail on to the group members or not.

    IMPORTANT! Moderation interacts with the e-mail delivery setting of who can send mail to the group:

    • Moderated + Anyone can send mail to group = All messages go through moderator.

    • Moderated + Only members can send mail to group = Messages from non-members go through moderator; messages from members go directly to group.

TIP: Group owners can download a copy of the member list as an Excel spreadsheet as an aid to group management.

Screen shot of the member information displayed underneath the Members tab.

TIP: If you need to set your group so that only the group members can see the membership list, click the Settings tab to see that option.

Adding Members, Owners, and Moderators

  1. Under the Members tab, click the Add Members button.

    Screen shot of Add Members button.

  2. Enter owners, members, and moderators in the appropriate boxes.

    A group can be an owner and/or a member of a group. It is then listed as a subgroup on the My Groups page, with the appropriate icons checked to designate ownership or membership. If you add a group, be sure to enter the group's name (not its e-mail address) exactly as it appears in its group profile. If, for example, the group name is made up of more than one word with spaces between them, enter the spaces; adding dots between words will not work.

    Screen shot of adding members, owners, and moderators.

    IMPORTANT! Moderation interacts with the e-mail delivery setting of who can send mail to the group:

    • Moderated + Anyone can send mail to group = All messages go through moderator.

    • Moderated + Only members can send mail to group = Messages from non-members go through moderator; messages from members go directly to group.

  3. You'll see confirmation that the membership of the group was updated.

    Screen shot of confirmation message.

Deleting Members, Owners, and Moderators

  • To delete someone from a group, select them by clicking the checkbox next to their name. Then click the Remove Selected button.

  • To change someone's role(s) within a group, check or uncheck the checkboxes to the right of the person's name.

Screen shot of the checkbox you click to delete someone from a group.

Searching All Your Groups for a Person

Have you ever needed to remove someone from a whole lot of MCommunity groups at once when they changed roles or left the university? You can use the search box on your My Groups page to search all your groups for a particular person.

  1. In the search box on your My Groups page, type the uniqname of the person you want to search for in all the groups you own. This searches groups that you own directly, with your uniqname listed as an owner, as well as indirectly, as a member of an owning group.

    Screen shot of the new search box at the top of the My Groups page labeled 'Show groups I own containing.'

  2. You'll see a list of the groups you own that the person is in. You will have the option to select multiple groups and remove the person from all those groups at once.

    Screen shot of the search results when searcing for a uniqname. A list of groups is returned, with checkboxes to the left of each group name and a Remove uniqname From Selected Groups button at the bottom.

When Groups Own Groups

One group (an owning group) can own another group (an owned group). When this happens, the members of the owning group have ownership privileges for the owned group, but they do not have member privileges for that group.

  • Ownership privileges. Members of an owning group can edit, renew, and delete the owned group. On the My Groups page for each member, ownership of a group is indicated by a blue star (to indicate that they own the group as a member of an owning group) instead of a yellow star (to indicate they own the group as an individual). Some functions, such as the option to delete the group, are available only from the owned group’s profile page.

    • Members of the owning group have ownership privileges for the owned group. That is, they can add members, renew it, and more. However, if another group is a member of the owning group, the members of that member group will not have these privileges.

    • Owners of the owning group have ownership privileges for the owning group, but not for the owned group. That is, they can add members and so on for the owning group, but not for the group that it owns.

  • Membership privileges.

    • Members of the owning group have membership privileges only for the owning group. While they have ownership privileges for the owned group, they do not have membership privileges for the owned group. For instance:

      • Members of an owning group cannot send mail to an owned group if it is set to receive mail from members only.

      • Members of an owning group will not receive mail sent to the owned group.

      If members of the owning group would like membership privileges for the owned group, they would need to become members of the owned group.

    • Members of the owned group have membership privileges for the owned group and not the owning group. The owned group is owned by the owning group, and is not a member of the owning group. For instance:

      • Members of the owned group cannot see the members of the owning group if the owning group's membership visibility is restricted to members only.

      • They cannot send mail to the owning group if sending mail is restricted to members only.

  • Determining Group Relationships. On a group’s profile page, owning and member groups are listed under the Subgroup header. A star or a person icon will be checked to indicate whether the group listed as a subgroup is an owner or a member of the group.

Downloading the Member List

Group owners can download a copy of the member list of their group that can be opened in Excel or another spreadsheet program. The downloaded file contains e-mail addresses, uniqnames, names, member type (person, external member, or subgroup), and whether the person is a member, owner, or moderator.

  1. You must be logged in and an owner of the group to download the member list.

  2. In the group's profile, click the Members tab.

    Screen shot of Members tab.

  3. Click the Export Members List button.

    Screen shot of Export Member List button.

  4. Depending on the web browser you use, the file may open in Excel, the file may be downloaded, or you may be asked to choose what to do with the file.

    If the file is downloaded but not opened, you can open it from Excel.

    1. In Excel, from the File menu, choose Open.

    2. From the Enable pop-up list, select All Files. Then select the downloaded file and open it.

Moderated Groups

To make a group moderated, designate one or more moderators. There are two ways you can do this:

  • On the Group Members page, click the Moderator checkbox next to a person's name to make that person a moderator.

    Screen shot of the Moderator checkbox next to a person's e-mail address.

  • If the person is not already a member of the group, add them on the Add Members page. See Adding Members, Owners, and Moderators above. In most cases, you should add them as both a member and a moderator. That way they will be able to verify that group members have received the messages they send on.

In a moderated group, messages sent to the group are received by the moderator, a person who takes responsibility for screening the messages. The moderator decides whether the message is appropriate and, if it is, forwards it on to the group.

WARNING! The moderator will not receive notification that messages are not going to the group. The moderator must remember that any mail he or she receives that is addressed to the group from someone other than a moderator has only been delivered to the moderator. This means that the moderator must be careful to review the To and From line of all received messages. The group will not receive any messages that are sent to the group unless the moderator sends them on.

IMPORTANT! Moderation interacts with the e-mail delivery setting of who can send mail to the group:

  • Moderated + Anyone can send mail to group = All messages go through moderator.

  • Moderated + Only members can send mail to group = Messages from non-members go through moderator; messages from members go directly to group.

The group owner can serve as moderator or can designate one or more moderators. Be sure to get a group member's permission before designating him or her as moderator. If the group has more than one moderator, each of them will receive copies of the messages that are addressed to the group. The moderators will have to agree on how they will handle the incoming messages and who will be responsible for forwarding them to the rest of the group.

Member Options Settings

Letting Members Join & Resign

You can choose whether to allow people to add or remove themselves from the group or to let only the owners change the membership. Whenever possible, given the purpose of your group, allow people to choose for themselves whether to be in the group or not.

Screen shot of the options for adding and removing members. You can have only the owners do this or allows members to join and resign themselves.

Member Visibility (Privacy)

Group owners can make the member lists of their groups either visible to the public or hidden from all but group members who are logged in to the directory and M+Google Calendar users.

  • Public groups have member lists that are visible to all. If someone looks at the group's profile and views its member list, they will see the members listed there. If a member of the university community invites a public group to an M+Google Calendar event, they will see the members listed.

  • Private groups have member lists that are visible to members only. Group members who are logged in can view the member list in MCommunity or in M+Google Calendar events to which the group has been invited. No one else can see it.
    CAUTION! If you make a private group joinable (see above) group membership will be visible to anyone who is logged in to the directory.

It is appropriate and preferable for most groups, particularly those used for university business, to be public. However, there are situations where it is more appropriate to make the member list viewable by members only.

IMPORTANT! Please respect the privacy expectations and preferences of your group members when selecting how visible the member list should be.

Screen shot of the public vs. private options for group member visibility.

E-Mail Delivery Settings

Who Can Send Mail to the Group

You can choose whether anyone can send mail to your group or only the members can. If you set your group such that only the members can send mail to it, non-members who try to send mail to the group will get an error message letting them know their mail was not delivered.

IMPORTANT! The e-mail delivery setting of who can send mail to the group interacts with group moderation (that is, if you have set moderators for your group):

  • Moderated + Anyone can send mail to group = All messages go through moderator.

  • Moderated + Only members can send mail to group = Messages from non-members go through moderator; messages from members go directly to group.

Screen shot of the setting for who can send mail to the group. Select Only members to prevent anyone other than the group members from sending mail to the group.

Where Errors and Requests Go

You can choose who will receive error messages concerning mail sent to the group, such as notices that mail could not be delivered to a particular group member. You can also choose that no one receive such notices.

You can also choose where mail sent to groupname-request@umich.edu (where "groupname" has been replaced by your own group's name) goes. This address appears as a contact address on your group's profile page.

Screen shot of the settings for where errors and requests concerning the group are sent.

The Do Not Spam List

When this is turned On, mail sent to your group from known spammers is rejected. See Using the Do Not Spam List to Reduce Spam (S4323) for details. It is recommended that you leave this turned on.

Screen shot of the Do Not Spam List setting.

Seeing What Your Group's Profile Looks Like to Others

Your view of a group that you own includes information that others cannot see. To see what your group looks like to the general public (that is, to people who are not logged in to the directory), select Public view from the menu near the top right corner of the page.

Screen shot of the menu that lets you toggle between the public view of your group's profile and your view as owner.

Deleting Groups

IMPORTANT! Only the owner of a group can delete it. If a group has multiple owners, please check with the other owners before deleting it.

To Delete a Single Group

  1. View the group's profile, and click the Group info tab. Then click the Delete Group button.

    Screen shot of the Delete Group button.

  2. In the confirmation dialog box, click OK.

    Screen shot of the delete confirmation dialog box.

To Delete Multiple Groups

You cannot delete multiple groups at once, but you can delete them fairly quickly by looking at the list of all your groups. Click the X to the left of a group name to delete a group. If you own the groups as a member of an owning group (indicated by a blue star), you will not be able to delete the groups from this page. You must delete each group using the Delete Group button on its group profile page.

Screen shot of group list. Click the X next to a group to delete that group, and click the group name to go to the group profile to delete an owned group.

Renewing Groups

IMPORTANT! You must be an owner of a group to renew it.

To Renew a Single Group

  1. View the group's profile, and click the Group info tab. Then click the Renew Group button.

    Screen shot of the Renew Group button.

  2. You'll see confirmation that the group was renewed, along with the new expiry date one year from today.

    Screen shot of the confirmation.

To Renew Multiple Groups

You cannot renew multiple groups at once, but you can renew them fairly quickly by looking at the list of all your groups. Click the Renew icon (two arrows going in a circle) to the right of a group name to renew a group.

Screen shot of group list. Click the renew icon to the right of a group to renew that group.

Disabled Groups

Directory groups expire after one year unless they are renewed. When a group expires, it becomes disabled. At that point, all group functions stop working except the ability to find the group when searching the directory. Mail sent to the group will be returned to the sender as undeliverable; the error message will say that the group does not exist. If the group is used for authorization (for example, to allow access to a restricted web page), the authorization will fail.

The group owner(s) and the ITS Service Center can renew expired groups that are disabled.

You renew a disabled group the same way you renew any group that you own—by clicking a Renew Group button.

NOTE: Directory groups are sometimes disabled in response to complaints from group members when use of the group violates University policy. Owners are not able to renew groups that are disabled for policy violation.

Additional Resources

Visit ITS's Information System to obtain ITS computer documentation and other resources. A list of relevant documents follows:

The ITS Service Center provides a variety of computing help resources.

For further help with this or any other topic, call 734-764-HELP [4357] or submit an online service request.