Discourse vs Mailman 3 comparison

I’ve been looking into moving from Mailman 2 to either Discourse or Mailman 3.

The main difference, from my perspective, seems to be that Discourse is a primarily forum but can act like a mailing list, whereas Mailman 3 is primarily a mailing list but has a web interface. I really like the Discourse web interface and app, but wonder whether behind the scenes Mailman is somehow better at handling email.

But I’ve not yet come across any direct comparisons - are you aware of any comparison articles, blog posts setting out peoples’ experiences of each, etc?

Thank you.


It depends heavily on your audience.

  • If you have a lot of “I’m only ever using email, come hell or high water” users then stick with mailman

  • If you have a lot of “I like email, but I also like using the web” users then Discourse can be a viable option

Try asking them and see what they say?


Not exactly a comparison but I have found this guide by folks at Mozilla Discourse quite handy for mailman-lovers:


Main two features that seem to be quite different when using Discourse are:

  • Cannot reply* via email subject line to a specific topic thread as you would on Mailman.
  • You’ll want to update your documentation so users know to use the Watch and Mute options in email replies. Plus, definitely follow the guide linked above. ^^
  • Install Expose Email In plugin so users without an account can click an email icon in order to anonymously create posts on your forum in specific categories.
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