Expanding to drive mailing lists


(Bob Watson) #1

If this is the evolution of the discussion forum - is it possible that a later plugin API (or even core feature) would be able to expand to driving discussion email lists to replace our crusty old listservs?


Support for migration of a Yahoo! group
(Lowell Heddings) #2

Personally I would like the ability to reply via email. That way you could reply on either web or email.


(Sam Saffron) #3

Yes, we totally plan to support reply-using-email, just ran a bit short on time to build it.


(Bob Watson) #4

Combined with a mail account that dealt with + addressing, this could be really powerful. I run a few mailing lists and archiving / off topic emails / etc are all big issues.

Is ‘subscribe via email’ a possiblity? I’m thinking of something like a ‘subscribe to all new posts in category x’ feature, that can be leveraged into allowing specially crafted emails to subscribe to ‘lists’. (I’d also like to see some way of putting together a plugin that ‘invites’ people to the board if the system sees them CCd on an email in - it would make the ‘adding to the community’ part relatively frictionless; just CC in everyone and the list and they all get invited to join.)


(Donnie Berkholz) #5

Email might also provide a version of Discourse more accessible to e.g. the vision-impaired, which is my main concern — some sort of text-only interface, whether it’s via email or using a JavaScript-supporting text browser like links/elinks.

Just tried the ‘elinks’ browser, and it showed the topics but none of the login info. Entering and reading the topics also succeeded.


(Bob Watson) #6

It sounds like Discourse is a response to the fact that a lot of smaller online forums, where all the good niche info is, are painful to use, poorly standardised, hard to enter, etc. etc.

Adding a comprehenisive email gateway would be excellent. Adding a comprehensive plugin architecture capable of building that gateway would be awesome-er - I can imagine a jabber interface / usenet interface / etc. etc - divorcing the discussion medium from the content.


(Sean Linsley) #7

Is anyone working on this? If not, I’d love to. :cat:


(Jeff Atwood) #8

Reply by email was built a while ago and is already working.

There’s some design work that needs to happen around subscribing to categories, because nobody (I hope) wants to get emailed every time a new topic and new reply to any new topic occurs.

The daily / weekly digest can also be set to “send always” in your user preferences now so you can get a list of all the topics that day, or that week – provided there aren’t thousands of them.


Can Discourse replace mailing lists?
Option to always receive digests even when you've been on the forum
(Sam Saffron) #9

Well actually, on parley there are quite a few users that want default watch on all new topics. I see default watch as a sane setting for very low volume sites or direct mailing list replacements. Not that I am discounting the need for the per category subscription.


(Jeff Atwood) #10

Yes, but they can get the daily summary which contains all new topics for that day.


(Sean Linsley) #11

Myself, I would’ve expected to get some sort of notification when you two responded. Using the current default settings I would’ve had to wait a whole week before getting an email.

I want Discourse to optionally behave exactly like a mailing list does, so it can replace existing mailing lists. I’d want granular email updates for the same reason I subscribe to particular GitHub repos.


(Sam Saffron) #12

I follow, but it has 2 drawbacks:

  1. You have to wait a day to find out about new topics, which is less than ideal on very small activity forums.
  2. You have have no way of replying to a particular topic from a digest email short of going to the site.

(Sam Saffron) #13

What you are looking for is the “watch” option on a topic:

Once you reply to a topic you automatically “Track” it but do not automatically “Watch” it.

If you wanted behavior akin to GitHub we would have to add a users setting for “automatically watch topics I reply to”. I guess for some who are using Discourse as a mailing list this is a good ™ setting.


(Sean Linsley) #14

When would you ever not want to automatically watch a thread you reply to? There are certainly some high-noise threads you might want to avoid after making a one-off comment, but in that case you can manually mute it.


(Sam Saffron) #15

We strive to have default settings that are respectful of people’s email boxes, it is a lot to infer that every reply from now on is something you want in your mailbox.

We notify you in a softer way about it on the site.


(Sean Linsley) #16

I respect that, but at the same there are people like myself who want those notifications without having to manually subscribe to every new thread.

As long as it’s configurable, I don’t think it’s a problem. The question of defaults is more about which is a better experience for new users.


(Jacob) #17

I would never want to automatically watch a thread I replied to. I agree that option should be available, but it’s definitely something that should be off by default.


(Vinipsmaker) #18

For some projects, I do want to get emailed for every post.

But a subscribe per category is useful, then I could subscribe to every category.


(mojzis) #19

is there anything i can do to help let this happen ? Facing a user revolution anytim soon :slight_smile: Thanks !


(Joshua Hogendorn) #20

Actually, for mailing list replacement, this is exactly what my community wants.

There are quite a few threads that talk about this feature. If the discourse team is not interested in implementing it, has anyone out there built a plugin that does it?