Discourse and mailing list mode?

Continuing the discussion from "Automatically removed quote of whole previous post." - how do I turn that off?:

I agree here. Discourse seems to pay lip service claiming to support mailing list mode. While some of the issues are easily fixable:

  • converting quoting format from strange xml-alike to regular messages format quoting
  • allowing users to receive their own postings

Some are more problematic:

  • proper threading is highly unlikely unless “global reply” button at the bottom is completely removed (i.e. forcing people who want to reply to first message so they should hit reply on the first message, not at the bottom of the thread)
  • then proper References: and In-Reply-To: header can be made to work
  • how to do much harder separation between categories (e.g. if I was subscribed just to talk-hr ML, I dont really want to be auto-subscribed to everything by default; i.e. “one mailing list - one category” idea)

And some are very hard without heavy compromises:

  • how to handle when user edits the message
  • how to handle reactions

(this is not to be considered exhaustive list of differences, but just a few that irked me hugely so far).

But if effort were put into to, most of it could be made workable (hey, maybe someone already made some plugin for that?)

What I was hoping for, is for something that (beside allowing easier access for web-based folks) would allow for easy migration from/assimilation of mailing list - e.g. write a converter for mailman subscribers which translates one mailing list => one Discourse category and then seamlessly transfer them all subscribers on “D-day” so they’re not even aware that the underlying mailing list software changed, unless the follow the link from the headers and try to change the settings.

That would be great and allow for merging of technologies. Current Discourse e-mail supports certainly feels like a huge downgrade to me (if mailing list were to be moved there). As a web forum, it also IMHO shows huge weakness when a message count in thread grows over one or two dozen messages (especially if they are not short one-liners but more elaborate ones), when compared to mailman mailing list (don’t get me wrong: it has its advantages though, like being able to jump in the middle of conversation with no fuss, and reactions and flags etc.; it is just that in its current incarnation it does not seem suited for longer threads/subthreads and/or merging with ML).

TL;DR: is there some Discourse plugin or option that might make it more usable when used via e-mail?

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You are bringing different valid topics for improvement here.

It might be needed to search for open feature requests or plugins to see if someone is already working on them, I suspect other communities are also looking for improved email experience for sure.


I agree. However:

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There are some issues with mailing list mode but on the whole it appears to work well for me. I am using exim4 on the server receiving the messages, and I use a filter file to have different forums sorted into different mail folders:

if $h_list-id contains “deutschland-(germany).communities.community.openstreetmap.org” then
save /var/spool/mail/fred/.openstreetmap.forum.germany finish endif

In order to get rid of the long subject prefixes mentioned in Mailing list mode: get rid of long prefixes - #5 by traut I am using these lines in the exim system filter:

if $h_list-id contains “community.openstreetmap.org” then
headers add “X-Temporary-Subject:${extract{2}{]}{$header_subject:}}”
headers remove Subject
headers add “Subject: $header_X-Temporary-Subject”
headers remove X-Temporary-Subject

I have a hunch this should be easier but couldn’t find out how. This will drop everything before and including the first closing bracket, which is fine for my setup because I have individual folders for all forums.

I still have to go to the web site for things like reactions and so on but that’s fine for me - I can skim everything on email (and I have a locally searchable record of everything) and if necessary I can always fire up the web browser.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the Discourse quote remover is clever enough to only remove fullquotes and not partial ones on which you have chosen to comment.


I think you can make reactions by email if you just reply +1

Discourse should add a :+1: reaction to the message.

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That didn’t work when I tried it, probably because it didn’t detect the email reply format as a “reply containing just +1 in it”. I’ve had other issues where Discourse didn’t detect what I was replying to, and posted the whole email I sent (top posting) as a reply. If I remember correctly I had to edit my answer to remove it.

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I sent a fullquote with “+1” in the first line as a response to SomeoneElse’s message, and I sent an email containing just the two characters “+1” as a response to Nukeador’s, but it appears that neither had any effect.

I would need to investigate more, maybe the feature stopped working for us for some reason?

@woodpeck Oh, I just got a :+1: reaction from you to my post, was that though email?

For what it’s worth, the filters I use in Gmail for threads I don’t want to read straight away are:

Subject: [Communities/Norge (Norway)]
(for example)

Skip Inbox, Apply label "osm_read_later"
(where "osm_read_later" is a label / folder I've previously created)

You can also filter users via:

from:(SomenameIwanttofilter via OpenStreetMap Community <community@noreply.openstreetmap.org>)

The “big thing” that doesn’t work is in-category threading (see discussions and workarounds elsewhere), but that’s just as much an issue at Discourse itself as it is by email.

I have not done anything additional after sending that previous message,
so maybe it just took longer than I had the patience to wait :wink:

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