Guide to interacting with this site by email

While this forum’s primary interface is web-based (or via an open source app for Android or Apple iOS), it is also designed for interaction via email. This post is a guide to using those features.


Getting Notifications via Email

Normally, Discourse will send you notifications via email only when you’re not active on the web site. (While active, you’ll get a numeric indicator over your user avatar image at the right of the bar at the top of each page — this serves as your “inbox” on the site.)

To get mail for notifications that happen even when you’re using the site, visit your user preferences at https://discussion.fedoraproject.org/my/preferences/emails and change the email settings from “only when away” to “always”.

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There are a number of other useful options there too, including the Activity Summary, which gives you a daily, weekly, or monthly summary of what you’ve missed if you don’t visit often. (More details on discourse.org There is also a “big hammer” option labeled “Mailing list mode”, which will send every message posted in non-Muted categories. If you’re sure that email will be your primary interface, this may be what you want.


Watching Categories and Threads

Categories on this site can be thought of as individual mailing lists. For example, the Council Discussion category replaces the council-discuss mailing list.

Each category can individually be set to “Watching”, which will gives you a notification for each post.

Other options will, as individually described, notify only in specific situations, which will result in not getting mail for every message. If you’re only interested in getting email when someone mentions you directly, “Normal” is the option for you. If you’re using Mailing List Mode, you will probably want to Mute categories which are not of interest to you.

You wil also find a similar bell icon to the right of the messages in each topic thread. You can use the settings there to watch (or mute) an individual topic, overriding the category default.


Filtering Incoming Messages

If you are getting a lot of email from this site, you may want to have your mail client automatically organize it into folders. In order to make this easy, each message has a standard List-ID header matching the category. For example Community Blog comments have this header:

List-ID: Fedora Discussion | Project Conversations Community Blog
        <community-blog.project-conversations.discussion.fedoraproject.org>

The exact format for creating a filter will depend on your mail client. In Gmail, a filter for the above would match list:(<community-blog.project-conversations.discussion.fedoraproject.org>).


Replying to Threads

When you get a message your inbox, you can simply reply. Top-posting is fine, as Discourse will attempt to trim extraneous quoting.

You can also reply with:

  • +1, <3, or to “like” a post (Like clicking the little :heart: on the web interface.)
  • watch to watch the topic thread
  • track to track the topic thread (notifications and therefore email only when @ mentioned)
  • mute to mute the topic thread

Starting New Threads by Email

For some categories, you can start a new topic thread by sending a mail to the corresponding email address. If this is enabled for a category, it will be mentioned in the “About” topic, which is pinned to the top of the category. For example, for this category: About the Site Feedback category. If there is a category for which you’d like this to be enabled but isn’t, feel free to flag the “About” topic in that category with a “Something Else” flag, and an admin will take a look.

Your message will need to come from an email address you have associated with your account. By default, this will be the one you have provided in the Fedora Account System (FAS), but you may change it or add additional addresses in your preferences at https://discussion.fedoraproject.org/my/preferences/emails.

This feature, of course, increases the risk of incoming spam using spoofed addresses. If this becomes a problem, we may need to disable the feature.


Note: this post is a wiki. Anyone with at least “basic” site trust can edit it. Please feel free to improve and extend! I’ve set replies to this post to auto-delete after a week — you can use them to discuss potential improvements, or, if you like, to test the email features.

1 Like

Some quick feedback - so I am still stuck at the point where I get discourse to recognize my valid outgoing email, duffy at fedoraproject.org. When I try to add it to my account I get “You’ve performed this action too many times, please try again later” error messages. I was never able to retrieve the old confirmation emails going thru my mailhost (Dreamhost). It doesn’t seem as if Discourse wants to resend fresh ones. :-/ So maybe some more info about that… erm once we figure out what the heck is even going on.

FTR the problem here was that Dreamhost was not accepting the mail because of the fedoraproject.org forwarding address and spam protections. We found a workaround, but in general this is going to be increasingly a problem over time (anywhere those addresses are used) and we don’t have a good solution.