Guidelines for using Discourse via email

NOTE: This page is going to be a wiki, so if you are reading this via email, that means the content will change, and the changed content will not be emailed to you. To see the most up-to-date version of this page, click the button at the bottom of your email.

HTM Forum is a sub-optimal Mailing List

When evaluating platforms for online discussion, it was a must-have criteria that the platform allow:

  • reply by email
  • start new topic by email

Yes, Discourse (the software running HTM Forum) does this, but it’s evident that it is lacking with respect to our old mailing list’s capability of… well… being a mailing list. If you want to know the reasons, read Reported email quirks.

Frankly, Discourse was not designed to be a mailing list. I knew that coming into this, and it was my intention to move the discussion to a more modern platform while keeping those “email only!” users as happy as possible.

It is evident that the “email only!” users are not as happy as they should be, and I’m putting this wiki page in place to help them.

Use email notifications to launch into HTM Forum

So my first advice might raise some hackles, I know, but use the web interface for the best experience. The email-only experience will always be worse than the web experience. So when you get an email and you have something you want to say on the thread, instead of replying to the email click the button to launch the website. It should be easy to log in (I have 4 different oauth options), and you’ll launch right into the conversation you were reading. Then simply click “Reply” there and embrace the forum.

If you choose to reply by email, be sure to:

Reply at the top

Reply at the top of the email you’re writing. Don’t embed your quotes into the previous email. If you want to embed a quote from an email below, copy and paste it with a > in front of it like this:

Hi, I have something to say...

> Something someone below said that I want to respond to.

My response is right here

This will show up on HTM Forum like this:

Hi, I have something to say…

Something someone below said that I want to respond to

My response is right here

Don’t forward other emails to the list

Don’t forward emails to the forum because it strips off the messages below the originating mail body, so the forward will not actually appear in your post. The best way to do this is to write a new email and include quoted content with the > characters as shown above.

I will keep working on better email support

I have been pushing some of these issues with the Discourse team, and I’ll continue to keep you updated about progress of these reported issues with email replies.

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