The pushmi-pullyu dilemma

I’m a bit ambivalent about transitioning from a (admittedly archaic) maillist to a dedicated forum system.

I expect a major activity level change because of the difference between push notification and pull. Every time someone posted to the maillist, inbound mail reminded me that there was activity to read. But so far, it looks like I must actively seek out the Discourse site and then (painfully) seek out the activity.

And while new users will have the benefit of seeing subject based threads that might address their question, it will quickly become overwhelming to look through. (Although perhaps better than the maillist Archives where the subject data is masked by generic calendar-based labeling.)

I also have little reason to make visiting a Discourse site part of my daily routine. Although I absolutely DESPISE Facebook, it has enough other content so that it drives traffic. Plus I receive notices on every thread where I’ve posted previously.

You can turn on “mailing list mode” in the preferences which will make it behave like something vaguely approximating a mailing list and send you copies of all the messages which you can then reply to.


Users who prefer mailing lists should enable mailing list mode in the preferences.

Click on your avatar in the top-right menu. Click you user name and then “Preferences”. Mailing list mode can be found at the bottom of the “Emails” section.

With mailing list mode enabled you should receive an email for every new post. You can then reply to the email without having to login to Discourse. I haven’t enabled the option to create new threads via email yet, but I intend to do so.

I will be very interested to see if mailing list mode works for you.


I set my profile for mailing list mode. It seems to be working. I have received several emails in the last hour.


Ah. I did some exploring and did not realize the Preferences was there. What a bizarre approach, making Preferences a HIDDEN feature in Discourse. That sort of thing would normally be under the menu icon in the upper right. And it is even more bizarre that clicking the avatar on the right and the one on the left do different things.

This is an attempt to reply via eMail rather than by the Discourse website.

1 Like

Just to add my own two cents: I think it’s a great idea! For newcomers who are interested in contributing to Gramps I always felt the mailing list, “pushing” the question to all the devs, is a psychological barrier compared to other projects that use discourse.


Hmmm. I tried to ignore the idea that Developers were watching the Gramps-Users maillist. It seemed like the forum was promoting a self-help concept between Users. We could always ask for help on the Gramps-Dev list if we really got lost. And they could gently nudge us if we went to far off the rails. But giving that sort of nudge should be resisted.

Watching how users interact with the software WITHOUT THE OVERSIGHT of a designer generates too much information about usability and intuitiveness of the design.

Tom. I appreciated the answer. But it reminded me too much of so many places in the Wiki where it says “You can…” but doesn’t say how to do so. (Or, better yet, link to the instructions so the data isn’t repeated)

I try to link those frustratingly vague “you can” statements in the wiki whenever I see them.

@Nick-Hall, can you add your something about how to get to Preferences (and Maillist) mode in the Welcome message everyone sees?

It is (now at least - don’t know about before) mentioned in the pinned article at the top of the welcome thread.

1 Like

You can see the history of the Welcome post by clicking the little pencil in the top right corner.


Not quite there yet on those intructions in the pinned answer. Clicking the Avatar is still a bit ambiguous. (Is your profile pic to the right of the Search & Menus icons the Avatar? Or, is the little image to the left of your user name the avatar?)

Clicking the first in the upper right the first step, then you have to click your user name in the tabs of the drop-down that shows the Preferences option.

I got to the Preferences a different way because it didn’t look like the tab was a button! Instead I clicked on the ‘avatar’ to the left of my posting. That went to my Profile screen which has a Preferences tab.


Nope, sorry. I missed the the 2 stage portion of that instruction on the pinned notification. It was there but not clear enough yet.

Perhaps a numbered list would be better for the steps?

1 Like

I have improved the instructions for setting the mailing list mode.


Just used the Discourse’s own discussion groups to find a few answers. The discussion about the mailing list mode was particularly interesting. It illustrated that Discourse DOES have some real benefits over the maillist we’ve been using. Particularly when posting a new question.

Once there’s some data in the groups, the interface does a fuzzy search as you title your new thread and pops up a list of similar threads from the archive. It works like a knowledgebase. We might be able to reduce the reposting of the same info. Particularly since you can revive old discussions.

And there are indications that the old archives can be imported to build such a knowledgebase foundation. We wouldn’t have to start again from scratch. It even has the ability to reorganize the archive… too move obsoleted information to another section.

The system also seems to provide a more structured chance to transfer knowledge from the maillist to the wiki.

Yes. That’s why it’s useful to have a choice between a forum and a mailing list mode.

The mailing list mode even lets you mute individual topics. I’ll write a detailed post about this when I gather all the relevant information.

1 Like

This is my first attempt at posting (actually, replying) on the new forum. I like getting new content via email and have set my preferences accordingly. Being new to the mailing list as well, I will try to get in the habit of searching old discussions before posting new questions. I think/hope that the forum will be easier to search for old content than the mailing list archive.

I have a question about the “trust levels” described here. Are we using them, and if so, are they updated if a user interacts only via email?

1 Like

We are using the default trust levels.

As Discourse has no way of telling how long you spent reading the posts, or even if you read them at all, I doubt if this information is updated. I may be wrong though. This is one of the reasons we are trialing the software.

They say “Great minds think alike” but sometimes it is not so :wink:

I always found that the mailing list was noisy, cluttering my inbox, and when I took interest in a topic middway, it was really hard to go back to the root question without a threaded view (I like to get context)

Also, searching through the archive was really not easy. I don’t know if Discourse will improve ont that, but it won’t be difficult to do better.

If you want a push delivery for discourse, other than he mailing mode, I was able to add as a feed into Feedly, where I follow about 50 sources daily (from information security to genealogy).


Having read this conversation today, via email only, I found it very hard to follow.
Coming this evening to the web UI it is much easier. Would I actually login to the web UI regularly though? I suspect not.

As a feedly user, I’ll have to try the suggestion from @sitrembl

1 Like

@emyoulation Thanks for doing that. Something like the way wiki works. All pertinent categories are hyperlinked when discourse takes place.That is exactly how open source progresses. Each contributes as much as they can as they can. Perhaps a little discussion in the greetings introduction of what can be done within the confines of the system to would be helpful to increase your good work by having others help along.

1 Like