post or reply by email
Has someone thought about this “standard” addition yet? WordPress has it. It becomes even more useful on message boards where, in conjunction with subscriptions or favorites, users can carry on an entire conversation (thread) via email without ever having to get online. The entire conversation is then preserved online for later reference.
Anyone interested in trying to set this up?
Just adding my support for something along these lines. Wish I had the coding chops to help put it together, but I just don’t…
@David: FYI, the /cv link on your Web site is broken.
Thanks Nate, I’ll look into that … must’ve gotten lost in the shuffle when I migrated.
Can someone point me in the right direction to get started? Main issue is how do I get bbpress to “receive” email? Does this HAVE TO involve cron jobs etc …?
It sounds like this would be a great feature, except it raises some questions.
The first rule of a forum is search before posting. If a user was allowed to post new topics, there could be a lot of duplicate questions and threads. When a user replies to a message it usually gets some sort of “RE:” prefix by the email app, that could confuse the system. What about quoted text how would this be distinguished and eliminated? What if the user replied to questions inline, how would we know that? I am sure there are more, but those were the first to pop into my head.
I think if a reply and post feature is needed as a necessary part of your project you should look at a mail list manager. Is there an open source clone of google groups?
While it sounds like somewhat useful functionality, I don’t want it – if it was enabled by default in bbPress, I’d even want to turn it off. Anything that means users can just visit once, know that they’re going to get any answers and never have to come back is that you’re going to get a lot of users who do just that. I would much rather they check regularly, sometimes see something that catches their eye and hang around … It just sounds like a feature that hinders a community building up.
This works better for a blog you own, to create new posts/articles, rather than a forum where anyone can post at any time. AFAIK, it does not exist for comments in WordPress, just posting. Maybe there’s a plugin for doing it with comments in WP, but I think that would be silly.
I would love this feature. Basically, we’re a small web design company that does a lot of communication between our design team and the client, as well as our technical support team and the client.
Right now, we’re using a different forum setup to function well, but not as well as we would like. THIS idea would be AWESOME for what we need.
Especially since we’re working with a lot of other smaller companies who can barely find their website using AOL let alone get used to a forum setup for their communication. If we could set it up so that they could read posts sent to their email and then respond to them via that email, it would make things a lot easier for them to get right into it.
Plus, all of the communication would also be stored in the one location (the forum) for us to access.
There is definite interest for this type of function, and I’d push for us to move from what we are using to bbpress if this was introduced.
I agree with fel64. Why don’t you just use google groups/yahoo groups? I don’t understand the use for this in a forum setting. This sounds like something more suitable for listserv software.
Because not ALL users will appreciate this. Some users will. But then, there are users who might not have email access (especially for a technical support forum like what I plan on using it for), so it obviously wouldn’t apply for EVERYONE. But, it would be a nice courtesy for those who it would fit in line with.
Here’re a quote from Joel. I’m not arguing for the sake of it, just trying to help out in the long run.
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.
Which is a very good point. However, not everyone is using a forum-setup for the same reasons. Some may be doing it for a fan site, or just a community site, where usage is VERY important – if the community dies, then the forum dies.
However, other people are using it for a specific need. Its acting as a buffer between two sides to collect communication, whether its posted directly to the forum or sent in by email.
My specific need is a support forum. Sometimes a client can come to the forum and post their issue or review their design, or whatever. Other times, they are busy doing the rest of their day and want to just send an email off through thier blackberry while on the road.
It would be nice to reach more than one demographic and use a forum such as this for more than one reason.
This type of feature is one that you see everyday users ask for all the time, but folks developing web forums tend to dislike because it can significantly complicate the administrator’s life with mailserver issues.
Sending out e-mail digests or alerts about new posts one-way is usually quite standard.
However, if someone really wants something open source that works two-way (instead of being locked into Google/YahooGroups or lacking a true web forum look like Mailman or Sympa), try GroupServer: http://groupserver.org (Note that it is Zope-based)
We use it here: http://forums.e-democracy.org
http://e-democracy.org/blog – Happy WordPress users.
bbPress was created with simplicity in mind and was able to be extended through plugins. Posting and replying by email will require someone to create a plugin that needs the functionality. If you are at home, you wouldn’t reply or create by email because you would be just as easy to login to your forum. So, it the main issue here about mobile communications? The 2 mobile plugins help users on the road (I use it at least 4 days a week) for posting on the road. Can anyone tell me what the biggest advantage to them would be to post or reply by email because I don’t quite understand what the main reason to do it would be! ?
“If you are at home, you wouldn’t reply or create by email because you would be just as easy to login to your forum.”
I think this assumes that everyone uses a broadband connection that is always on, which is globally not the case especially in the developing world?
I know this is not for everyone, but I for one would be interested in the functionality provided. I wouldn’t use it on all of my forums, but a few of them could really benefit from it.
That makes sense! I guess email would be faster then dial-up at times for sure. I just wasn’t getting it before, but now I am.
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