Reply-via-email to another address

I suspect the answer to this is “No” but I figured I’d check to make sure I’m not missing something.

We have a category that receives emails forwarded from a shared inbox. This mostly works well but occasionally an email gets “mistakenly” blocked (I say “mistakenly” because the rules are being properly enforced but the rules themselves are wrong for our use-case). To get those into the forum we can forward them from the shared mailbox to the address, but then responding to the topic replies to the shared mailbox, not to the original sender.

Is there any way to “reply” to a different email address than the one that sent the topic in?

To clarify, you’re asking if a user of your discourse install can reply directly to another user via email, rather than have the email be routed via your mailbox to your Discourse install?

Or has your shared mailbox appeared in Discourse as a responding user due to the forwarding?

Why isn’t the email the one specified in the reply field?

Yeah, sorry, I probably didn’t explain that very well. Let me get specific.

  1. We receive an email at, which gets forwarded along to our address.
  2. Discourse follows its rules properly and rejects the email, but those rules don’t match our needs and we want that email to end up in the forum.
  3. as a workaround we manually forward the email from the address to our address
  4. The topic is created as from a discourse user associated with instead of from a staged user associated with the original sender.

Is there any way for us to reply to that topic and have it go to the original sender? One thing I looked at was whether I could change ownership of the post to a staged user - that wouldn’t work in all cases for us because some of the original senders won’t be staged users, but even if they were it doesn’t seem like we can make a staged user a topic owner through Change Ownership.

The way we handle this in our community is by copy/pasting the email into a reply on the forum. In some cases we write in our own name and mention who we are quoting, and then email the person back to let them know and with the link to the topic. In others we post it and then change the author to the person who sent it (requires admin privileges). It’s a bit longhand but is safest, in my humble opinion.

We also often start personal messages (tickets!) to people who email us, creating staged users. That works very well for responding to received emails and then following up.

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Instead of forwarding, can you bounce (send the message to a different destination but keeping it’s headers intact) the message to its destination?

(To be honest, I only know of ONE email client that offers this -


Thunderbird with the Mail Redirect add-on can do it as well.


The tickets plugin might be exactly what we need, but we’re on a hosted Business plan so I don’t think that’s an option for us. Thanks though!

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This might work, but it adds a layer of … redirection to our process that I was hoping to avoid. Thanks for the suggestion!

Bouncing is probably the best and less error prone solution… That being said, did you try enabling the enable forwarded emails site setting? That might help with your problem when you forward emails.

And another question: What rules are triggered when Discourse rejects emails? Maybe there’s a way around it…