Can Discourse replace mailing lists?


(Vinipsmaker) #1

I’m an avid mailing list user, but I think forums are better in several ways (real aggregation by thread providing better navigation and better search), but there is the only reason why I use mailing lists: All my notifications are centralized in one place, my email inbox.

I’m searching for some forum engine able to replace mailing lists, but I still haven’t found it. How smart is Discourse at integrating email and the forum engine? I mean:

  • Can I reply to the notification email to reply to the thread?
  • How good is the email reply parser? Is it going to ruin all formatting or will it separate my signature from the rest of the body and try to convert message quotes in the native quoting format of the forum engine? I think it’s very difficult or impossible to do it right, but I’m willing to spend some time tuning options in my account to help the tool and the result doesn’t need to be perfect (just good enough).
  • Can I get notified of all on-going discussions? (for some projects, I do need to be aware of all discussions and click “subscribe to topic” on most of forum engines is not going to deliver me all posts like mailing lists)

(zimbatm) #2

This subject has already been addressed in various places (eg: Mailing list (and NNTP) bridge , "Email all Posts" option to allow email client interaction ). For the sake of brevity here is a break down.

Email notifications

Each user can choose between always/daily/weekly updates. When watching a thread you get updates by email. See your user settings for all the options.

The only thing missing is subscription to categories (if you think as a category being a mailing-list is makes sense).

Don’t configure Discourse to send emails trough gmail (there’s restrictions in terms of emails and type of emails that you can send)

Reply by email

Discourse supports reply by email for existing threads by polling a pop3 box. I don’t have a personal experience with the email parsing but it’s using the same parser as GitHub so most of the issues should be ironed out. As a rule of thumb don’t configure Discourse to use Gmail.

Relevant thread: New: Reply via Email Support!

New threads by email

This isn’t supported. It wouldn’t be hard to add, look in ib/email/receiver.rb but it opens a can of worms. Discourse is giving you feedback in the Web UI regarding duplicate topics and such that you would be loosing over email.


(Autumn Perrault) #3

Speaking of which, any knowledge of whether this is to be implemented in the foreseeable future? If not, then I will implement it for the forum I manage because we need it.


(mojzis) #4

our old mailman server just died and I keep hoping to replace it with discourse … but without the ability of subscribing to categories, i cant do it … is there any hope this could be done soon ? Thanks !


(mojzis) #5

this is probably the most recent info from the founders :slight_smile:


#6

I am very interested in users being update to request email updates by category, as well as by thread. Is there a reason why this isnt being supported??


(Sam Saffron) #7

Only reason is time, if anyone feels like contributing developers for the feature we will gladly work with them.


(Benjamin Kampmann) #8

I actually started a branch on this a while back but the UI being annoying kept me from finishing it. I’ll get back to it this week but probably start from zero at the latest master. If anyone wants to help me my nick is “lightyear” on the irc channel…


(Benjamin Kampmann) #9

I started working on this. Simplifying most of the use-cases, I don’t think it is that hard. It is mainly about being able to post via email and some shared-inbox-features…


(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #10

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