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[Declined] postings via emails (yahoo! groups!)

Started by assad, April 26, 2004, 04:33:24 PM

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alitahir

I would suggest a very simple way of distributing posts by a e-mail list.  First you include post text in  post notification.  Direct one of the post notifications to a mail list that you own. (create just a single  dummy user with the adress of your mail list server and make sure that he is notified at every level).  There you can create digests or  partial  e-mails  and  distribute them as you wish in an automated way .

However the external  mail list users should be created or updated separetly. This wont be a problem for small forums who dont receive new members frequently. This is my case. My forum members  wont   change often. So  the syncronisation of the mail adresses  with the  mail server own adresses is not  a problem.

Note that this is  unidirectional. Your forum wont get posts  via  mail.  You can omit  to include post text in notifications and still have digests in this way.

The beauty of it is that  you dont fiddle with the code and users can  choose their separete notification settings  in addition  of receiving from mail list. They can of course opt out from mail list server if they want to .  Your mail list can be any thing and it can live outside of your provider. You will not overload your forum neither  your provider.

If members number are  quite stationary this is  practicable if not this could be difficult. But you can  tell them this  option and provide a suscribe link to mail list server in a sticky post.  This is not harder than  going through profile and  changing notification settings. I would even say that this is simpler.

In my forum most dont manage to open their profile and change their notification  settings, but  they tend to suscribe to mail list instinctively. Because  the sticky is well written and is visible at every level. :)


Tobias Eigen

Glad to see this discussion is still alive and well, and that interest persists. We at Kabissa are also still very keen. We recently migrated to Mambo (see URL below) and are eager to enable our members to log in and interact through the site as well as through mailing lists hosted on our server.

Really the functionality required for bidirectional forum/list integration has been perfected with FUD (http://www.fudforum.org) - we need no more and no less. If anyone has thoughts on how similar functionality might be achieved with SMF, please let us know.

Cheers,

Tobias

Kabissa - Space for Change in Africa
http://www.kabissa.org
Kabissa - Space for Change in Africa
http://www.kabissa.org

Joomla Website, Mailman mailing list server, seeking SMF/Mailman integration a la Fud Forum (http://www.fudforum.org).

http://del.icio.us/tobiaseigen/mail2forum

rhizome

Great Thread!

The ability to post via email is a feature that once you have it, it's almost essential. It's one of those things that if you don't have you don't appear to miss it, but once you've got it, a whole set of possibilities suddenly become apparent, (e.g. compare it to if we didn't have mobile phone texting).

If SMF were to develop this feature, it would make it stand above any other forum software  :D

Why?

It's easy to live in a web discussion board bubble, and forget that most internet users do not use this kind of communications - for example:

Dominant Forms of Internal Communication (%):
Email: 79
Face-to-Face: 7
Other: 4
Telephone: 4
Web: 3
IM: 1
[source: Forrester Research, The Guardian 16/06/05]

While we may think that discussion boards can attract large numbers and some do, many don't partly because most people still use Email and will continue to do so
I find that some of my board users just can't get into the culture/mindset of frequently using discussion boards, as they just think in email terms (esp. those on dial-up, which is still the majority across the whole globe), and the majority of their internet comms is via email, as the data confirms

So, if SMF adopts this feature, it would certainly become a powerful, flexible means of internet communications.

C'mon SMF please develop it.
Many of us appreciate that such a feature isn't easy/simple to implement, but it would make SMF a killer forum s/w  :)

There's no way newbie me would question how SMF has been developed, can't fault it. But SMF lacking this feature will ultimately hold back how good (ie. even better) SMF could truly be. 



rhizome

June 25, 2005, 07:11:41 AM #43 Last Edit: June 25, 2005, 11:37:44 AM by rhizome
Just to add, the folks over at Digital Graal seem to have been busy with CM2F -  mail2forum s/w which integrates into phpbb and also a range of CMS http://www.digitalgraal.dynalias.net/index.php

It seems like the developers are planning in the future to make CM2F work with other forum s/w.
Though maybe some more knowledgeable SMF members or developers could contact them about SMF?

alitahir

Thanks rhizome!

The issue could not be stated more analytically... and with supporting data.
I am completely agreeing... 

Due to the importance of this fonctionality I indeed think to give a try with FUD.

Hey Tobias!

What about the integration of FUD with Mambo ? (I mean user log in and user synronisation aspects)?

Dannii

I do not think this should be developed. If you want to reply by email, get a yahoo group, or something similar. Or use newsgroups (similar idea i believe). If you want a forum with high level security plus awesome features, use SMF. The only way to make this secure would be to get a session from the forum before replying by email each and every time (possibly could be done through a thunderbird plugin?), but if that is what it takes, why not just post on the forum.
"Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise."

alitahir

Personally I never asked  such a functionality. (ie Replying via e mail.) 

To reply to a post,  people can and should come to the forum!

But on the notifications domain it  is another story.  This is where we need an e-mail integration, possibility of creating dailiy or  weekly digests including text of posts,  different levels of  email notifications etc.

I can also state that when posting  remains limited to logged in forum members, there is no security issue.


rhizome

Quote from: eldacar on June 26, 2005, 10:23:15 AM
I do not think this should be developed. If you want to reply by email, get a yahoo group, or something similar. Or use newsgroups (similar idea i believe). If you want a forum with high level security plus awesome features, use SMF. The only way to make this secure would be to get a session from the forum before replying by email each and every time (possibly could be done through a thunderbird plugin?), but if that is what it takes, why not just post on the forum.

At the end of the day, as we all know, the SMF developers will decide if this functionality is worth pursuing  :)

I understand the reasoning that extending this functionality is beyond what a traditional forum is supposed to do.
Though examples like FUD Forum have integrated this as a core feature; and if you hunt around, this feature is being requested on a number of forum software, and more or less being implemented on phpbb thru add-ons. 

Of course just because others are doing it, doesn't mean SMF should, esp if it compromises its own excellent functionality. But take the small example of spell check, most forum software don't have it and consider it not to be essential and an unecessary overhead (eg. Olympus). But SMF does and its great, and makes it stand out a little more from the crowd

This kind of email functionality has high development overheads, but once it's there, it would offer another, and still very unique, means of integrated communications that many users would take advantage of, more than we may care to think. I can only see this kind of development further enhancing the attractiveness and growing success of SMF.

SMF is on a real upward curve at the moment with many folks on other forums praising/recommending it. It seems to be doing most things right for many users. It would be interesting to see how it develops in the future in terms of adding new features

regards

Mastiff

FWIW, I thought this capability was important enough to switch to phpBB in order to get it.   It doesn't seem that super complex relative to the other stuff SMF does.  You can get as fancy as you want trying to strip garbage out of incoming mails, but the basic functionality seems pretty, well, basic.

It's easy to blow off this feature request, but here's my situation and maybe others are the same.  I have a listserv mailing list that has been going for years and the users are committed.  I put up an SMF that looked great, but nobody every posted on it because they knew all the eyes were on the mailing list.  The integration feature allows me to migrate people slowly to forum without pissing off the old timers on the list.  People who prefer forum can use it without worrying about nobody seeing their posts. 

In a few years, maybe I can retire the mailing list... then switch back to SMF.  BTW, I really prefer SMF to phpBB having tried both now.  With YaBB I kind of felt like I was using second class stuff relative to the big boys, but that's certainly not the case anymore.  Well, I guess I can't speak for vBulletin, which seems to be the king of the hill right now (I saw no mail/forum integration option for that).
"If you're an ugly chick, you're basically the same as a dude... I mean, you're gonna have to work."

Yonkey

I understand how this would be a really kewl feature for SMF to have, but the major issue with this kind of feature is security.  If people can forge e-mail headers (i.e. the From address, their IP address), they can post to your forum as whoever they want.  :-\

You could enforce security by forcing the user to put their username and password some place in the e-mail, but then that makes it less user friendly, and requires the same (if not more) amount of work as just logging into the forum itself and posting.  Also, if someone hacks into the forum's e-mail mailbox (where all the e-mail replies are sent to), they would get a clear unencrypted view of your password.  :o

The ability to see in full-text all new threads & new replies by e-mail is really kewl (it's also something you can already do right now if you set up your notification settings correctly).  The issue is with replying to threads via e-mail securely.

Mastiff

Why would someone go to all the trouble to forge an E-mail just to make a phoney post on my forum?  I mean, I guess they could if they wanted, but it seems like a lot of work for nothing.  It all depends on your situation and how paranoid you want to be.  A few phoney posts isn't really that big of a deal to me, although it would ruin the feature if some jackass decided to start messing with the forum.
"If you're an ugly chick, you're basically the same as a dude... I mean, you're gonna have to work."

Yonkey

It's actualy not that hard forge e-mail headers at all.  Especially if you know PHP and how the mail() function works.

But yes, I see your point that the majority of users will not try to hack your forum.  Still, you can't ignore security altogether, because the one guy you pissed off/banned from your forum could post as the Admin and/or start spamming all over the place.

If this mail2forum feature knows how to correctly identify the originating IP address of an e-mail, it should be able to authorize the user by IP address or IP range of that forum member.

Ben_S

Quote from: Yonkey on June 28, 2005, 12:48:25 PM
If this mail2forum feature knows how to correctly identify the originating IP address of an e-mail, it should be able to authorize the user by IP address or IP range of that forum member.

Not everyone has a static IP, in fact the vast majority don't, so there could be hundreds of people in said range,
Liverpool FC Forum with 14 million+ posts.

Yonkey

Quote from: Ben_S on June 28, 2005, 01:09:10 PM
Not everyone has a static IP, in fact the vast majority don't, so there could be hundreds of people in said range,

I know, that's why it would have to authorize both by IP range and login/password.

[Unknown]

Quote from: Yonkey on June 28, 2005, 12:29:52 PM
You could enforce security by forcing the user to put their username and password some place in the e-mail

That's definately not more secure!

QuoteThe ability to see in full-text all new threads & new replies by e-mail is really kewl (it's also something you can already do right now if you set up your notification settings correctly).  The issue is with replying to threads via e-mail securely.

1.1 already has that.  Anyone trying to argue about that isn't going to make any headway :P.

Quote from: Mastiff on June 28, 2005, 12:39:26 PM
Why would someone go to all the trouble to forge an E-mail just to make a phoney post on my forum?  I mean, I guess they could if they wanted, but it seems like a lot of work for nothing.  It all depends on your situation and how paranoid you want to be.  A few phoney posts isn't really that big of a deal to me, although it would ruin the feature if some jackass decided to start messing with the forum.

To post as an administrator.  Why would someone go through the trouble of posting as someone else on the forum if the forum let them?  How about a blog, like LiveJournal?

Just imagine if "I" responded to some topic with text provided by a hacker or similar.  Or even this one.  What if someone who really wanted this feature did something?  What if some hacker got me to tell people to install some modification?

-[Unknown]

Mastiff

Everyone has their own situation.  In my case, I run a forum that discusses airplanes, not coding or politics or anything where people seem to get pissed off and try to cause trouble.  (And the average age is not 15 either).  I'm the only admin and there are about 200 members.  I can't really imagine anything that someone could post that would really cause much trouble.  I'd probably spot it within a few days and erase it anyway.

Also, the way I'm using M2F on phpBB, the ONLY place that mail comes from that goes to the forum is from the listserv itself.  I'm not using the forum to do mass mailings; it's a single pipe from listserv to the forum and back.  So, if someone was so inclined, they could use that fact to create more security I bet.

How is it different with a listserv anyway?  Millions of people have a fine time participating in listserv mailing lists even though, in theory, irritating hackers and people could be sending bogus E-mails disguised as another user.
"If you're an ugly chick, you're basically the same as a dude... I mean, you're gonna have to work."

rhizome

June 28, 2005, 04:28:34 PM #56 Last Edit: June 28, 2005, 04:31:39 PM by rhizome
Maybe worth checking out the developer over at CM2F, who worked on the earlier version of M2F, but forked it for something much more advanced.
Since I know nothing about the security implications apart from reading this thread, I wonder if he has overcome the difficulties being raised.

Also, since this feature hasn't been offically declined (yet?!!), does it mean it is something that may be considered in future?
I understand from a couple of posts the possibility exists at a basic level on 1.1 more or less already, but implementing it would pose the security risks being discussed?

Anyhow, I know it's asking a lot, but it would very helpful to know from the developers whether this kind of feature is either:

1. A total no-no, so put a lid on it
2. Needs much further investigation, so don't bother requesting right now, wait and see
3. Something which will (or least very likely to) be developed/implemented, but no time specified
4. Watch this space closely

Just pick a number please developers, and I promise to stop bugging you  ;D

I know it sounds really pathetic when a user says 'I really need this feature', but in this case I do for the type of forum/users I have. Just the lack of this one feature is likely to affect my choice of forum software. I have nightmares just at the thought of switching to the mess of phpbb >:(
I know, some of ya are thinking well bugger of then! But the worst thing is that I know I'll still be spending all my time hanging out here, watching SMF with envy :'(

Grudge

I'm personally thinking of trying to make this a mod. As I think I've said before I've already got a script which will do this with 1.1 but without the security checks that I'd like to see. If I get the time and motivation I will try and make a simple mod to make it secure too. Don't expect to see it in 1.1 as a default feature.
I'm only a half geek really...

rhizome

Hi Grudge

Make it a mod, make it mod  :D

You'll have another charter member for sure

regards

alitahir

June 28, 2005, 05:03:47 PM #59 Last Edit: June 28, 2005, 05:24:17 PM by alitahir
Again agreeing with rhizome,,,we need it ::)

However let me make some observations... imagine that this feature is implemented.

1- If some one get mail from the forum he is already a member of the forum.
2- Therefore If he want to spam,he can do that already within the forum.
3- Spamming inside a forum is a lesser nuisance because it is distributed in a passive way. Each user should consult individually the spam. etc. Therefore spamming without  mail integration is a weaker way of communication for the spammer.
4- Hovever the 3th. argument implies that  it is also a weaker way of communication for the non-spammer!!!
5- Hence any wiev  pointing to the heightened danger of  spamming also points to the heightened power of communication. In this sense implicitely any warnings of spam danger, proves  the  utilty of this feature request.
6- Conclusion: security issues are similar in both cases,  but communication advantages are much greater in the second case... ie: a forum with mail integration.

Sorry for my bad english. I only hope that this argumentation is intelligible to everyone here.

Forum is best for content creation, mail digests are best for distributing it. I think we should definetly have both functionality. 

Best regards from Istanbul

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