Registering unregistered users on first email a la mailman?

We currently have a community using a Mailman mailing list which is open for posting without having subscribed/registered on the list. These posts are held for moderation in Mailman through this setting:

generic_nonmember_action = Hold

and the moderation interface allows granted senders to be automatically added to a “blessed” list to avoid further moderation:

accept_these_nonmembers = ...

You could say that the moderator performs a “light-weight” registration process for the user.

May a similar process be configured in Discourse? The main driver is to have zero setup for users wanting to send their first post. It would assume posting by email and it would be fine with an auto-reply that requires a confirmation link to be clicked before the post is accepted (into moderation or directly to list). Suitable defaults could be set for users that are auto-registered in this way.

After a lot of searching I suddenly bumped into this discussion:

which mentions “staged users” (nonmembers) and most other things I was looking for.

Would this be the correct match for my process? There seems to be some confusion in the referenced discussion on how to configure this beast. Is this a supported feature? Is there more documentation relating to it?

(FWIW it would be very helpful with something resembling a normal documentation ToC that links to relevant articles for each feature group so one could find and read appropriate documentation “linearly” without the guesswork of trying out different search terms on the support forum)

You are on the right track. You can follow the steps in that topic you mentioned and configure it so that incoming emails are posted to a category. And yes, it’s a supported feature.

The only caveat right now: Topics created via email are currently not going to the approval queue.