Create a forum for users to interact #1755

BjarniRunar opened this Issue Jan 4, 2017 · 13 comments


None yet
BjarniRunar commented Jan 4, 2017 edited

Before the 1.0, we need some venue for users of Mailpile to interact with each other, ask questions and help out. Gitub Issues is not a good venue for support or community. Our IRC channel (#mailpile on Freenode) is nice, but it's probably too geeky and it has the downside that since we're not logging it (by choice), experience doesn't accrue and old discussions cannot be discovered in the future.

The options I'm considering at the moment are:

  • A mailing list
  • A discourse forum, either self-hosted or provided by some service
  • A subreddit

A mailing list would certainly be the most appropriate for an open source e-mail client project, but since Mailpile's UI for mailing lists isn't very developed yet this isn't a "no brainer" yet. There is of course also the problem that it may lead to a chicken-and-egg situation; if someone is having trouble with their e-mail client, requiring they send and receive e-mail to get help is maybe not super clever.

Discource is nice. Considering that I already struggle with my existing workload, hosting yet another thing ourselves doesn't seem wise. The flip side of course, is that if we host it ourselves we can make sure our users' privacy is respected. Maybe it's worth doing? People have volunteered to help, maybe I should take someone up on the offer!

Reddit is a lively boisterous place. I haven't used it enough to know whether it would be suitable. I do expect there would be a large overlap between Mailpile early adopters and reddit users, which is probably a good thing.

What do you guys think?

@BjarniRunar BjarniRunar added this to the 1.0 Release milestone Jan 4, 2017
taziden commented Jan 4, 2017

I'd prefer a self-hosted Discourse.

buzzworkers commented Jan 4, 2017 edited

+1 for self-hosted Discourse
-1 for mailing list (edit: enough with emails please? What I mean by that is nobody is going to use email for/between user interactions in my view it just add cluster to everyone where Discourse is going to allow users to subscribe to what they want, and get notification by email if they choose so but the engine has enough granularity so that everyone can use it the way they want it (as opposed to mailinglist on my experience)
+/- for subreddit, not sure what would be the use case beside giving more visibility to existing Forum posts ?

karlp commented Jan 4, 2017

maybe a mailing list would encourage mailpile to get better at lists? ;) but yeah, mailing lists attract and hold only a very very specific sort of person, I don't really think it's a great idea to use a mailing list. No opinions on the other forums honestly. Other options I see used are slack and gitter, LEDE went to discourse in the end iirc?

loidor commented Jan 4, 2017

In my experience forums do not work well for support questions. Threads drift off topic or the right answer is not immediately visible. I much prefer the StackExchange system and The requirement for precise questions and precise answers makes it easy to handle and useful for people finding the same question on Google.


+1 for Discourse as the most user and beginner friendly solution of the three

NoahAndrews commented Jan 5, 2017 edited

Someone created a Mailpile subreddit, then deleted their account. I requested to be the new mod, and recently had it given to me by one of the Reddit admins. So /r/mailpile is ours if we want to use it as an official avenue for support and discussion. I'd be in favor of this option personally. I help out as a mod and support provider at /r/olkb, which is the official support community for a mechanical keyboard company and their open source firmware, and it does the job very well.

herbsmn commented Jan 8, 2017

I think it is worth looking into
You can see public projects at
I've set up a self-hosted version of Taiga for a group in the past. It wasn't very hard.
It is based on all free software.
It is a much better version of Redmine.
Also, it integrates with self hosted versions of Let's Chat and GitLab, so you could have an issue tracker, git repo, and "slack like" chatroom all in one, all self hosted.

matthewbloch commented Jan 12, 2017 edited

As I mentioned on Twitter I'm happy to host, manage & co-moderate (if desperate :) ) e.g. at Bytemark in York. We've got plenty of nice dedicated servers, we can keep it backed up etc. etc. so I promise there'd be zero server admin if you didn't want it.

IMO Discourse is more accessible to new users while also sporting a solid mailing list mode for die-hards that never want to see a web UI. It's indistinguishable from most mailing lists except for the 1-level threading (but Mailpile does the same, hooray!).

dbrgn commented Feb 13, 2017

Note that Discourse is dead simple to host and maintain, if you use the Docker setup. It has built-in self-upgrading that can be done with a single click.

Also note that Reddit does not have to be a toxic place. Take a look at for example, very civil and a strictly enforced no-memes rule.


Thanks for all the comments, everyone. I've given this some thought; it's absolutely silly of me not to accept help here and Discourse seems to be a pretty popular option.

So - @matthewbloch , let's make this happen! What's the first step? Is the second step me creating and pointing it at an IP address under your control?

Oh hey, let's have a bike-shed-colouring session about the name!


(I have already ruled out, because that needs to be reserved for interacting with our donors and backers)


Hooray! On naming I'd go with support which (unlike others) has a clear purpose i.e. Mailpile users supporting each other. Once I've got a server & done the install, I could make a few decisions on the Discourse admin, write some community engagement rules based around & share the details with you @BjarniRunar for review - does that sound OK? (or I can just hand over the install with zero config done if you'd prefer to do that yourself, but trying to take some work off your hands :) )

Anyhow I'll find a server and come back to you when the install is done. But are you happy with support. as the name? (that would probably be a faff to change shortly afterwards)


@matthewbloch That all sounds great to me - and the more work you take off my hands the better! I think is a fine name. Thanks again.

Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment