Convince me to transition over from Google Groups

(Ryan Wanger) #1

Google Groups is no longer meeting our needs for a variety of reasons, and I’m wondering how things might map over to using Discourse. We have around 300 google groups, but there really isn’t a reason that someone in one group shouldn’t have access to content posted in another group (other than based on who they are, we decided that it’s less relevant to them).

So, is it correct to think about moving over as:

  1. Create a Discourse forum that can only be accessed by the people
    already in our Google Groups
  2. Instead of forming Groups in Discourse, create Categories, and then
    set up users for notifications for the categories which map to the
    existing google groups. (300 categories is probably
    unnecessary…and we could probably pare it down to 50 or less in

Is that correct? Basically it’s a universe of users that would all have access to the forum. Anyone could view anything else, but currently they’re all automatically getting (email) notifications around certain topics, and we’d like to continue that seamlessly.


  1. What are groups for in Discourse? I haven’t been able to find a good
    explanation…other than a sense that they’re good for making
    private areas within an existing Discourse forum.
  2. Does the API support creating users? (Where is the definitive
    documentation for this? I just keep getting directed to other, newer
  3. Does the API support assigning notification levels, by category, for


MOSS Roadmap - Mailing lists
(Sam Saffron) #2

This is up to you, categories are securable, you can create silos where needed.

Groups are used as an securable entity. A group can have permissions on a category, additionally you can apply special stuff like titles to groups and you can see all group activity in a central spot.

Yes supported, best documentation here is discourse_api gem

Yes, anything that you can do using the UI you can do with the API.

(Ryan Wanger) #3

Thanks, great reply.

I was hoping for the use case that we would create Categories, and automatically set the notifications for users for particular categories - in such a way that they’d receive emails when new topics are posted.

I’m already a user of a discourse forum: Tilt Forums, and I can’t seem to create the desired effect. I’m “Watching” two different categories, but not getting any email updates. If I go to my settings and click “Send me an email for a new post”, this sends me email for any new post on the forum, not just my watched categories.

Am I missing something, or is this not possible?

(Ryan Wanger) #4

Perhaps a solution is to mute the categories they wouldn’t be automatically subscribed to?

(Ryan Wanger) #5

Hm, maybe it was working but there hadn’t been any new posts to the categories I started “Watching”. I guess some clarification would be helpful. :smile:

(Mittineague) #6

Do you have the “do not suppress when I’m active” checked?

(Sam Saffron) #7

If you have explicit tracking state on any of the topics in the category then we don’t bump it up automatically. This works perfectly for all new topics, older ones, well, its real tricky to figure out what the right thing is to do.

If you explicitly set a topic to muted or regular in the topic, should we suddenly bump it up to watched? Is that desired? Can you get off the train for any of the topics in a watched category?

(Jeff Atwood) #8

As @Mittineague said we never email you while you are actively on the site. The assumption is that you do not want to be double-notified, once in the browser, and once via email.

If you do want that, turn on “Do not suppress email notifications when I am active on the site”

(and actually this setting is kind of confusing since it is a double-negative…)

(Ryan Wanger) #9

Okay, yeah, I’m probably just lost in settings.

So just to clarify, if I created a user with the default settings, but set them up to Watch a particular Category - then they’ll get an email when a topic is created there (assuming they haven’t visited the site recently)?

(Ryan Wanger) #10

Sorry, I’m not sure what you mean by “bump it up”.

(Sam Saffron) #11

Each topic can have distinct tracking state per:

(Stephanie) #12

Remove the negatives to make it “Send me email notifications even when I am active on the site”?

(Sam Saffron) #13


“Suppress notifications when active on site” -> default on

Urgent: help troubleshoot missing notifications for watched categories

I don’t know if this is an issue for you, but keep in mind if you have users who wish to use the site online by email, they will most likely be disappointed. Discourse’s markdown formatter doors not process quoted email replies correctly, and we have seen cases of emailed text simply getting lost, typically when is below quoted text from an earlier message.

I do not want to spread FUD, but I would say in addition to this issue, my users are very frustrated working with Discourse as a mailing list. It mostly works, but sometimes does of things. Also the inherent delays in retrieving and sending replies can be awkward.

(Sam Saffron) #15

We plan to work on the delays, also we really need repros for any of the oddities you see, can you make sure you submit bug reports as you come across issues.


@sam - sorry I don’t want to drag this thread off topic, but I’ll work on a way to reproduce this issue. Is there a testing Discourse environment available that wouldn’t disrupt real users with experiments?

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #17

Hey @ryanwanger seems to me a lot of the things you’re asking for will be found in topics I’ve started

I’m looking forward to the next release (1.4) bringing most of the options we need to fruition.

(Ryan Wanger) #18

Hm, yeah - this would be an issue. I expect there are many people that would interact with it almost exclusively via email. If there are only a few small things that would make a big difference, then maybe that’s something we could contribute to improving. We can take this to private messages if you would rather, but I’d be interested in hearing the other frustrations you have besides the issue with quoted replies and the delays. (I think several hour delays are no big deal, but days would be an issue).

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #19

if you set up your users to Watch the right categories, or just enable mailing list mode, they’ll get emails in 5 minutes (depending mostly on the polling interval in your discourse admin.

If you leave them to get digest, that’s when there’ll be day+ delays. I’ve documented a few ways to force the matter, but once 1.4 drops, anyone who’s followed suit will probably want to undo the postgres defaults/triggers.

Come on 1.4!