Re: bbPress versus PunBB
Regarding email notification, I would read this for an alternate opinion:
“Q. Could you make a feature where I check a box that says “email me if somebody replies to my post?”
A. This one feature, so easy to implement and thus so tempting to programmers, is the best way to kill dead any young forum. Implement this feature and you may never get to critical mass. Philip Greenspun’s LUSENET has this feature and you can watch it sapping the life out of young discussion groups.
What happens is that people go to the group to ask a question. If you offer the “notify me” checkbox, these people will post their question, check the box, and never come back. They’ll just read the replies in their mailbox. The end.
If you eliminate the checkbox, people are left with no choice but to check back every once in a while. And while they’re checking back, they might read another post which looks interesting. And they might have something to contribute to that post. And in the critical early days when you’re trying to get the discussion group to take off, you’ve increased the “stickiness” and you’ve got more people hanging around, which helps achieve critical mass a lot quicker.”
That’s from Joel Spolsky: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/BuildingCommunitieswithSo.html
Regarding RSS to email, there are lots of services that will do that if you want. Feedblitz and Feedburner come to mind, but a Google search turns up lots of results as well:
Or, you could explain to your members how to use RSS.