For reference: how to start new thread


#21

Actually it looks like you did hit the reply button. Cool!

Just hit the link to the post you replied to in the top right corner of your reply to get the post it was in response to :slight_smile:


#22

Yes, the From: field is OK in GG, as I said it’s the Reply-To: that is broken, both in GG and Dicksores Discourse (finally I’ve found an use for the web UI). But as far as I can tell, at least GG allows the admin to select the correct RFC-compliant behaviour.


#23

Actually it looks like you did hit the reply button. Cool!

Yes, and it didn’t thread it. Uncool!

Just hit the link to the post you replied to in the top right corner
of your reply to get the post it was in response to :slight_smile:

Thanks for that useful tip, it works so well in plaintext emails…

Alan Burlison


#24

That’s because you’ve explicitly turned off the “Include an excerpt of replied to post in emails” setting in your preferences.


#25

That’s because you’ve explicitly turned off the “Include an excerpt of replied to post in emails” setting in your preferences.

What on earth has that to do with threading? And if I want to quote a
previous message, my MUA already does a much better job than Discourse.

Alan Burlison


#26

You complained about having no context.


#27

You complained about having no context.

I complained about the web interface not threading properly.

Alan Burlison


#28

Which Bob responded to by saying you can click the little link to get context:

…and you retorted that it doesn’t help with plain-text emails:


#29

That’s because you’ve explicitly turned off the “Include an excerpt of
replied to post in emails” setting in your preferences.

The excerpt is pretty much useless, it extracts a portion of the text
and truncates it. Unlike the quoting in gmail where the quoted portions
are collapsed but expandable this choice is non-existent in the emails
from Discourse.

Which message did you reply to? I thought my Android MUA (Kaiten Mail)
might not have been displaying the thread properly so I opened up Mutt,
because I have confidence in its threading capabilities.

In the attached screenshot the highlighted message 2000 is the first
post in the topic that says how to email to the list. 2025 is the
message I’m replying to. The topic is almost completely flat, although
as can be seen other topics seem to have a deeper level of threading.

So…

Threading is broken, replied to messages aren’t visible.

There’s a kludge where the replied to message can be included in the
response, but you don’t get to see the whole message.

Quoting is apparently so hard that nobody does it.

You basically want us to use a web forum that you and Jeff Attwood think
is the bee’s knees, and would be forgiven for thinking so because it
does have some significant improvements over other web forums, it’s the
future! But email, something that was around when Jeff Attwood was a
little nipper, is still so much better, or would be if the software
handling it didn’t break protocol in ways that essentially cripple it!

I’m aware that there are some rubbish MUAs out there, and that many of
you use one of them as your primary email viewer these days, and that
even rubbish web forum software can be seen as an improvement on that,
but that’s no reason to spoil the experience for others.

Simon
A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a
simple system that works.—John Gall


#30

Which Bob responded to by saying you can click the little link to get context:

In the web UI I clicked on “Reply” to my own message as soon as I sent
it to follow up, expecting that when the post appeared on the web UI it
would be clear which post it referred to. Simon posted in the meantime,
that appeared before my post and made that segment of the conversation
look like disconnected nonsense. A MUA would preserve the threading and
it would have been clear which message I was replying to without me
having to quote great big wodges of it to resupply context that a
threaded email discussion would supply automatically.

…and you retorted that it doesn’t help with plain-text emails:

Sarcasm, you may of heard of it? Read back - the conversation had moved
on to the many deficiencies of the plaintext emails sent out by
Discourse - oh, perhaps you missed that because of course there’s no
threading and no context, and why of course would you ever want to
change the subject line to reflect what the conversation was now about
rather than where it started as several days ago?

Alan Burlison


#31

Which message did you reply to? I thought my Android MUA (Kaiten Mail)
might not have been displaying the thread properly so I opened up Mutt,
because I have confidence in its threading capabilities.

I replied to my own where I was reporting that my attempt to report the
the malformed plaintext emails sent out by Discourse had been
mis-rendered by the Discourse preview pane. I was doing that with the
Web UI because - duh! - Discourse doesn’t display the contents of
plaintext emails properly in the web UI…

In the attached screenshot the highlighted message 2000 is the first
post in the topic that says how to email to the list. 2025 is the
message I’m replying to. The topic is almost completely flat, although
as can be seen other topics seem to have a deeper level of threading.

Yes, that’s what apparently happens if you use the web UI, even people
using the email ‘interface’ see a flat discussion rather than a threaded
one. The only way to get threading to work seems to be if everyone uses
the email interface as if it’s a normal email list - oh, wait… didn’t
we have one of those once?

So…

Threading is broken, replied to messages aren’t visible.

Yes.

There’s a kludge where the replied to message can be included in the
response, but you don’t get to see the whole message.

Yes.

Quoting is apparently so hard that nobody does it.

Yes again.

You basically want us to use a web forum that you and Jeff Attwood think
is the bee’s knees, and would be forgiven for thinking so because it
does have some significant improvements over other web forums, it’s the
future! But email, something that was around when Jeff Attwood was a
little nipper, is still so much better, or would be if the software
handling it didn’t break protocol in ways that essentially cripple it!

We were assured that Discourse was a 100% drop-in replacement for the
old mailing list. It isn’t, and I’ve seen absolutely no acceptance that
its list management has multiple bugs and usability defects, and no
discussion about rolling back to what we had. I’m beginning to lose
patience with the complete refusal to admit that, as a list manager,
Discourse is very badly broken and not fit for purpose.

I’m aware that there are some rubbish MUAs out there, and that many of
you use one of them as your primary email viewer these days, and that
even rubbish web forum software can be seen as an improvement on that,
but that’s no reason to spoil the experience for others.

 > <img 

src=’/uploads/default/original/1X/32c61189447c0e6f9ed941e86bb9c176967e30fa.png’
width=‘690’ height=‘459’>

Oh look, another broken, useless link in a plaintext email.

Alan Burlison


#32

There seems to be a lot of negativity being expressed here

If you think politely asking about your mail client settings is anything like
"Discourse is simply broken and in its current form is not fit for purpose as a mailing list server. End of discussion."
those are different things altogether

  1. Is there something else you think could do a better job that also has a good web gui
  2. Did you try and test the system back when it was being evaluated
  3. which mail client are you using?
  4. Do you want to volunteer writing a plugin to fix it’s behavior

It’s best to remember that work like this is done by volunteer’s not employee’s working to service level agreements
The reason I see discourse gaining traction in places like KiCad is that it looks like it’s easy to change or tweak with simple ruby code. In other words there’s more control to get it to do what you want it to do
I was thinking about volunteering to try and help sort things out, but after this disccusion I’m staying as far away from this one as possible


#33

There seems to be a lot of negativity being expressed here

I wonder why, perhaps it might have something to do with legitimate
reports of defects being brushed off and ignored?

If you think politely asking about your mail client settings is anything like
"Discourse is simply broken and in its current form is not fit for purpose as a mailing list server. End of discussion."
those are different things altogether

Yet again, read back. I’ve been consistently reporting issues as I’ve
found them, and adjusting my Discourse settings as recommended. I’ve
continued to find issues, none of which have been acknowledged, let
alone fixed. Instead I’ve been given ‘advice’ about how email works from
someone who clearly doesn’t know how it works. ‘Polite’ would be a
reasonable expectation if there had been even the slightest acceptance
of the issues, let alone any attempt to address them. In the face of the
persistent failure to accept that Discourse has issues which make it
pretty much unusable for anyone using the mailing list functionality
’Annoyed’ is more than justified.

  1. Is there something else you think could do a better job that also has a good web gui

Why are you asking me? I’ve made it clear from the very start I would
not use the web UI and would be using the mailing list interface. I have
no objection to provision of a web UI if other people think they can’t
cope with emails, but breaking the list interface to provide that is not
an acceptable tradeoff.

  1. Did you try and test the system back when it was being evaluated

Again, why are you asking me? I asked if Discourse had a mailing list
interface, I was told it had. Or are you saying that whoever was
responsible for this mess didn’t bother checking that it had an
interface that worked properly and just believed the marketing fluff on
the Discourse website?

  1. which mail client are you using?

Thunderbird, mainly - which copes just fine with the ~160 mailing lists
and folders I ask it to cope manage. Well - with just one exception.

  1. Do you want to volunteer writing a plugin to fix it’s behavior

Oh please - that’s a joke, right? Why on earth would I volunteer to work
on something I think is a pile? Sheesh.

It’s best to remember that work like this is done by volunteer’s not
employee’s working to service level agreements The reason I see
discourse gaining traction in places like KiCad is that it looks like
it’s easy to change or tweak with simple ruby code. In other words
there’s more control to get it to do what you want it to do I was
thinking about volunteering to try and help sort things out, but
after this disccusion I’m staying as far away from this one as
possible

Whoever took it on themselves to replace the mailing list with Discourse
had the responsibility to make sure it delivered what it claimed, i.e.
proper mailing list functionality. It seems they didn’t. That’s their
responsibility and absolutely not mine.

Alan Burlison


#34

I’m reading this thread in gmail, and it’s a complete disaster. Instead of
nice, compact, indented quoting, every previous message in the thread is
repeated - complete with ‘visit topic’ icons and ‘reply to’ markup - as an
addendum.

I really wanted to find a mail/forum hybrid that satisfied both sides :
this discussion has come up at LHS too and there’s a pilot Discourse
running. Bu this isn’t it. To be honest, both google groups and Yahoo did a
better job.


#35

The way I see it most of these problems should be fairly trivial to fix in Ruby via a plugin
so far I’ve seen

  1. From field should be original authors instead of lists
  2. Reply-To same
  3. Emails with html footers in / links etc instead of raw text

The drama levels in this thread have gone through the roof just because there are no fixes in place at this very second


#36

There seems to be a lot of negativity being expressed here

Or feedback, depending on how you view it!

If you think politely asking about your mail client settings is
anything like
"Discourse is simply broken and in its current form is not fit for
purpose as a mailing list server. End of discussion."
those are different things altogether

I don’t think that, I never assumed that. What I did assume, because we were told this, is it would behave exactly the same as a mailing list.

  1. Is there something else you think could do a better job that also
    has a good web gui

No. I feel a bit off-balance here because I prefer not to use web GUIs for discussion, and therefore tend not to. All of them are poor in comparison to email and news clients, and Discourse, while I admit in some ways it works a lot better than traditional forum software (talking phpbb, vbulletin, etc), and various other threaded comment systems on various web sites, it still doesn’t come anywhere close to the features of email and news clients.

There are, however, GUIs for accessing fully-fledged mailing lists that look reasonable to me, although I don’t know whether you would consider them good. I pointed them out before the migration, and will again: Gmane, and Nabble.

As I’ve also said, I went through this eight years ago, my view hasn’t really changed:
https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/fsuk-manchester/2008-05/msg00240.html

That also for a free software group, we weren’t touching Google Groups with a barge pole! Although Discourse didn’t exist back then I think it would not have been chosen if it were at its current state of development, precisely because it’s not a drop in replacement for a mailing list and restricts the choice of the user.

I don’t want to use multiple different web applications, I just want to use my mail clients, and with all of the features normally expected of email.

Did you even read my post titled “Forums and mailing lists”? I am actually interested in seeing full mailing list functionality with good GUIs for those that wish to use them.

  1. Did you try and test the system back when it was being evaluated

No. I was told it would behave exactly as a mailing list so I wouldn’t need to. Sending a few test posts around might have shown some of the dysfunctionality but the real test is to try and actually use it as a mailing list, with real discussion, which I am doing now. This trial isn’t going well. When I say it isn’t going well it isn’t a slur on you or anyone else, it’s a truthful comment about how Discourse operates as a mailing list.

  1. which mail client are you using?

Kaiten Mail, Gmail (web interface), Mutt, and if/when I get around to it Thunderbird or Evolution.

The joy with email, I can use any one of those and they will function just fine. They all function ok with the multitude of other mailing lists I’m on.

Why does it matter which I’m using?
What features/settings do you expect will fix the issues with mailing list functionality?

  1. Do you want to volunteer writing a plugin to fix it’s behavior

No, I don’t think I want to go near its code, and resorting to “why don’t you fix it?” probably wouldn’t result in your desired outcome: I would either switch back to Google Groups or set up Mailman rather than try to fix Discourse.

However, please note: I did look for ways to resolve the issues. I looked at documentation of the mailing list support, related tickets, and similar complaints in other fora. I’m not just some little troll out to get you.

It’s best to remember that work like this is done by volunteer’s not
employee’s working to service level agreements

Best to remember what I just said about looking for ways to resolve the issues, and the time I’m spending giving feedback. I’m a volunteer too.

The reason I see discourse gaining traction in places like KiCad is
that it looks like it’s easy to change or tweak with simple ruby code.
In other words there’s more control to get it to do what you want it
to do

I was thinking about volunteering to try and help sort things out, but
after this disccusion I’m staying as far away from this one as
possible

Ditto. As I said, I don’t think I want to go near the code.

Simon


#37

My apologies Simon, that reply was actually towards Adam’s email before he left the list
I’m going to install this onto a VM and see if I can write some plugins myself to get around most of the points raised above, I can understand the frustration behind getting lots of html on the mail such as on the footer


#38

It appears that somewhere along the line the message that this is a test has got lost. We (for your information the we is @thinkl33t, @Quidoigo and I with the support of a group of other active hackspace members) couldn’t get people to subscribe and fully test the Discourse install. However those who did had no major complaints so, in order to give it a proper trial we moved everything over and will re-evaluate in a month or so from now.

We have learned some important lessons from the process. Not everything has been done in an optimal way and we ARE prepared to address issues including rewriting the HTML templates to make them less fussy. @garlicbread is looking to write some plugins to fix the mailing list functionality and @Fahad_Sadah is assisting us with the interface.

The reason this thread appears abandoned is because we were under attack. Even our attempts to assist, or clarify the issues were met with aggression and a fresh bout of complaining. Genuinely, if this is still a horrible experience for some of our members in a month or so we WILL regress to GG and look for a different solution but right now it needs a chance to see if it makes a difference. The reason we are trying this is to attempt to give those who don’t like mailing lists (and there are a lot of them) a more familiar interface to engage with the community.

I hope that helps.


#39

I have some sympathy with the admins - but I also have a lot of sympathy with the users.

I have taken a look at the original “Discourse” thread on Google Groups and yes, there is a single message to the effect that the system would be trialled for one month. There was also an invitation to try the new system. But I’m not surprised at all that the gremlins were not discovered until we actually moved over - it’s difficult to justify trying a new system when you are actually happy with the old one. I cannot see any evidence in the original thread to the effect that people had tried it without issue and can see several cautionary notes from various users, including Alan.

Alan particularly asked:

What I’d like is something I can read via my existing email client in
the same way I read the current list, however the plumbing is put
together. Will that be possible?

  • and Tamarisk answered in the affirmative. It would appear from Alan’s posts that his original experience in not replicated on the new system.

So: I think the admins are now fully aware of the problems and should be allowed time to make things work. If functionality cannot be restored in reasonable time (or people start leaving in droves) then we should resort to Google Groups.
Second choice: We could revert to Google Groups for now and migrate back to Discourse when the problems have been addressed. But that would involve more mucking about and I think maybe we should stick with what we have for now. It is broadly functional, if somewhat cludgy.


#40

A lot of it seems to be based on perspective
from what I’ve seen myself most of the actual real discussion prior to the move occured on telegram instead of email
email was mostly used for announcements, or only official discussion when there was some sort of problem or event

One of the problems with telegram however is that the history only goes as far back as when you joined
Also there’s no concept of grouping in that it’s similar to irc / chat
(although one or two seperate groups have cropped up now on telegram)

What I’d like to see more of personally is more of the discussion moving back to email so there’s more of a maintained history for a given discussion
but at the same time being nice to look at / easy to contribute towards / just as easy to use as telegram
such as this recent thread where some of the links are auto replaced with images or video clips when seen online

That being said I do recognize that there is a requirement or need for emails to look the same as before or perhaps similar to other groups. Where raw text is what someone wants out of the mailing list with no http footers, or mangled fields.
But I don’t see why we can’t get the best of both worlds with this, since it’s coded in Ruby