Import Mailman archives into Discourse?

(danja) #1


I have a Mailman mailing list archive which I would like to import into Discourse.
Are there any known scripts/tools for doing that?

Did anyone try to email-in an entire mailing list archive? I presume that should be relatively easy to do using already existing functionality…


Anyway to import old style mailing lists to Discourse?
(Tobias Eigen) #2

I have been through this thought process already and my conclusion was that mailman and Forums are different enough that it is not a good idea to try to import. Alot of emails will look terrible when imported from mailman because of the way people use email with signatures, quotes, top posting, large attachments, weird mime encoding etc. You also would need to import your users at the same time which is not straightforward or desirable for large lists.

So my advice would be to start fresh in discourse and provide access to back archive to your users as needed.

(Paul Wilson) #3

This is an important issue for my organisation as well.

Thanks to @tobiaseigen for the response which points out some of the real limitations; however I still think a “best effort” import could be worthwhile:

  1. The Discourse topic structure would not be perfect, but could simply mirror the threads as identified by mailman in its own archive structure. I don’t know if a Discourse admin can currently manually merge topics, but that could be an options for topics which have been split.
  2. Message format is indeed likely to be messy, but so be it.
  3. Existing discourse users could be identified by their email address I guess. For those that don’t exist, options would be to create a new account in discourse that the user could then validate; or else to revert the post to some kind of “null user”, but with a name field that is taken from the mailing list.

Thoughts on this?

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #4

Due to me talking about my use of discourse, a number people are wanting to switch from Mailman to Discourse…

Anyone working on this kind of project? (it would be a huge boon for Discourse itself)

(Jeff Atwood) #5

We would be happy to write a converter for a business hosting customer if they can commit to a year in advance.

(Allen - Watchman Monitoring) #6

I’ve mentioned it to the one customer I have in mind who has the budget to pay for that. Thanks Jeff.

(Joseph Orbegoso Pea (Joe Pea)) #7

It’d be so nice if Discourse were compatible with Mailman (and super easy to migrate, being able to keep the same mailing list email addresses, subscriptions, etc); if it were basically a drop in replacement. So many people would migrate.

(Sam Saffron) #8

Can you explain what you mean by “compatible” @gdpelican just finished off a few features for the Mozilla grant, mailman interoperability is something really high on our list there.

I was thinking an interesting project would be something like making a live web archive for pg or Ruby mailing list

(Jeff Atwood) #9

Our existing open source importer is here for the Mailman mbox files:

We’ve used this several times with customers and it works. We will be using it more in the future, and enhancing it as we go. Any reason this wouldn’t work @trusktr?

(Stefano Costa) #10

I think it’s straightforward to import Mailman archives, or any other mbox archive, into a fresh Discourse. The import script works really well.

I would like to import an mbox archive into an existing Discourse forum, but I haven’t found any documentation specifically saying it can be done without wiping the database. Is it possible?

(Stefano Costa) #11

I thought I would share here this piece of advice that, while minor, turned out very useful for migrating one old mailing list :incoming_envelope:

With the relevant advice summarized below for posterity:

The magic URL is:[listname].mbox/[listname].mbox

You go to that URL as adapted for your mailing list, log in, then go back to that URL (it usually redirects you somewhere else) and there you go, the download starts. I’'m totally happy about this feature.