Forwarded emails and email-in topic creation


(Paul Apostolos) #1

Some of our users like to forward emails they have received (that they think would be of interest to the community) to the Discourse forum.

The general workflow is, get an interesting email from an outside source, hit the forward button, type the incoming email address for the Discourse forum in the To field, type an intro above the forwarded contents and send.

That fails. The only thing that is actually added as a post to Discourse is the intro paragraph. There is nothing in the logs (that I can see) to explain the failure. Other email-in functionality is working fine.

Create staged user when email is forwarded
(Tobias Eigen) #2

+1 I have experienced the same issue and it’s pretty major.

Basically, what I am learning is that discourse forums are just completely different beasts from mailing lists. It appears that we need to re-educate ourselves and our communities if moving to discourse from mailing lists. The best way to do this may be to force ourselves to log into discourse website and create a new topic (or multiple topics!) from the email, quoting accordingly. Being disciplined about doing that will benefit everyone ultimately because it will be easier for others to respond and engage with what you are contributing (rather than slogging through one long string of emails that have been forwarded into a forum).

But still it does happen sometimes that we are in a hurry and just want to share an email with our team no matter what it looks like, with some context and instructions at the top. Perhaps the answer would be a simple code in the email eg [[[[[ to tell discourse not to stop parsing when it hits a signature or forwarded text etc. Or how about having the import script store both the parsed/filtered version for the forum and as an attachment the full text of the email in case something seems to be missing or was not captured?

Here’s some interesting code on github from og_mailinglist (a Drupal module turning organic groups into mailing lists) to filter out the ugly stuff - it actually keeps it (though replaces email addresses with ***@***.***) but hides/shows it on the page using some javascript.

Replacing Mailing lists: Email-In
(Michael Downey) #3

We’re getting complaints about this exact problem now too. And sometimes compounded with the fact that the “intro” to the forwarded message is too short and gets bounced for that, since the forwarded message is stripped & isn’t counted.

People aren’t trying to behave badly here and send a huge string of replies, they just want to share some important information they got from someone else.

As @tobiaseigen suggested masking the email addresses would probably be important due to forwarded “headers”.

(Tobias Eigen) #4

Thanks for reawakening this thread, Michael - I appreciate it. To what extent have you managed to “reeducate” your community to shift from a mailing list culture of sharing to a forum culture? How do you deal in particular with the impulse to hit the forward button to share an email with a group on the forum? This is something I still struggle with personally… I like and value how discourse encourages thoughtful sharing, but sometimes I just don’t have time to craft a post and just want to share something that is pressing/urgent and then come back to it later.

(Michael Downey) #5

We got another complaint about this today. Does it seem like a bug to anyone else?

(Tobias Eigen) #6

Have you seen that little envelope on emailed posts that let you see the full source of the emails? I think only admins see it but still not all is lost. :smile:

Maybe that should be extended to give authors access to the source email of their own posts?

Unfortunately training will be needed just because lists and forums are different. But I think it’s worth. it!

(Michael Downey) #7

Yes, I’m familiar with it, and agree that it’d be helpful for people to see their original email source.

Wasn’t the intention of Discourse to get parity with email lists? If so, it would appear that forwarding a message to a list is a not-uncommon user behavior and something people want to do. They don’t care whether the medium is a list or a forum or anything else. So why shouldn’t Discourse support it?

(Jeff Atwood) #8

Oh yes that’s a good point. @zogstrip can you make it so that post authors can also see the raw email source, as well as staff?

Allow TL4 users to see raw email source
(Tobias Eigen) #9

Thanks for this - if you make this possible, could you also make it so there is a toggle between raw email source and formatted email? I know many users in my community will panic when they click on that envelope icon and are shown raw email source. :scream: With a toggle, post authors and staff will be able to see what the message actually looked like, including HTML formatting, and copy/paste from it into the post.

(Jeff Atwood) #10

I don’t think this is a good idea. The point is to see the raw. Adding HTML could lead to XSS exploits, expectations around formatting, etc. Very complicated and unnecessary.

(Tobias Eigen) #11

good points all - thanks.

(Régis Hanol) #12

That is now done :goat:

(Michael Downey) #13

@techapj does the new email parser do any better at this? I could test it out but would rather try to ask first and not test unnecessarily.

(Jeff Atwood) #14

You can test in the Lounge topic we set up for that purpose if you like?

(Arpit Jalan) #15

Sure, this should work fine now. Go ahead and test it!

As @codinghorror said you can test it in the Lounge topic we created for email testing.

(C. R. Oldham) #16

May I ask what the status of this is? We’ve been bitten a few times recently. I don’t seem to have access to the Lounge topic where the testing is occurring.


(James Milligan) #17

We’re still getting a few complaints here and there about forwarded emails (although it does seem to be coping better than previously). I’ll try and get some examples together and pass them on when I get some time.

(João Pimentel Ferreira) #18

Is this issue still occurring?
I mean, the trimmed forwarded emails. Some admins get emails from other sources and they’d like to share the entire email with the community, and it seems it’s not possible, as Discourse trims the email leaving only the intro.

We found a tricky solution, but it doesn’t work always:

  • convert the email into pure text (not HTML)
  • remove any forwarded tags in the message body, for example the first line of the forwarded header
  • remove the “FW” tag from the subject

Can you guys solve this issue?
A nice option for staff would be a turn off, of any email trimming.

(Alex Armstrong) #19

This doesn’t appear to be working for me. Every email I’ve forwarded ends like this:

Am I doing something wrong or is this unresolved?

(Sam Saffron) #20

Its not implemented yet.