Many people like to hold discussions by email. However, it's a big pain to paste everyone's address into each email to make sure they all get it. Mailing lists take care of that problem by providing a single email address; all mail sent to that address goes to a specific set of users. In fact, every tentacle.net user is on a special mailing list that the administrator uses to send news and updates.
We use the Mailman software to run mailing lists. This allows people to add and remove themselves from lists without requiring the intervention of the mailing list (or tentacle.net) administrator. It provides some additional functions, such as restricting posts, archiving, and administrative tools.
If you want to set up your own list, come up with a list name, and contact the tentacle.net administrator. You can have as many lists as you want, and there are many options for how each list can behave.