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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Libreplanet using Discourse for mailing lists
Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Libreplanet using Discourse for mailing lists and web-based forums?
Thu, 22 Jun 2017 01:20:26 -0500
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Please respect the format of replies being used on this list. Your quoting
style (including top-posting) is not in keeping with how email or mailing
list replies elsewhere on this list are done.
Connor Doherty wrote:
No doubt it's hard to manually inspect, again. And that may be the
reality, for now, for today's internet sites that do anything more than
display static info. That said, in this case we don't have those
problems - Discourse is a piece of software you can go and inspect right
now, and it'll be the same code running on any other instance you find
(including the JS) unless they tweaked it a bit (but the FSF's instance
would publish that too).
There are two problems with that bold claim: software freedom means you
can't predict what any instance of Discourse uploads to the client, and
users can't be sure the sites they get software from aren't uploading
malware to them.
While there are certainly many bulky, poorly-optimized sites out there
that slow down old hardware, this is not the case with Discourse. It's
Some of the Discourse features strike me as undesirable: an editor that
looks up websites as one puts in the URL, the "Narrative Welcome Bot"
chatbot, user themes, badges, and more (see
https://blog.discourse.org/2017/05/discourse-1-8-released/ ). I wouldn't
choose to have any of that stuff. This also makes me think that Discourse
hackers don't share my values in judiciously using JS.
https://community.cartalk.com/login even though there's nothing about
logging into anything that genuinely requires JS to do that job."
Connor Doherty replied:
Thanks for pointing that out, I didn't realize Discourse works with JS
disabled. Cool! (Not that it matters if you're only interacting via
You've misread what I wrote. I didn't say Discourse worked without JS. The
community.cartalk.com Discourse instance did not offer to let me login
because I'm not running the site's JS. This is another example of the
needless use of JS I referred to earlier.
Actually, the Trisquel forum, where I also spend a bit of time, is
exactly the kind of forum I had in mind when describing the traditional,
clunky forum software that's been around for over a decade.
What you disparage as "clunky" sounds like time-honored and working to me.
Perhaps it's not doing everything the web side can (even for features a
mailing list could implement) but I appreciate the effort. Their
implementation preserves threads too.
I'm not really looking for a "works well enough" solution so much as a
completely improved experience all around, which hopefully Trisquel can
adopt as well.
As Mike Gerwitz said earlier in this thread, "Many of us don't want to see
it reimagined. That's the opposite of what many want.". I concur with him.
I'll need good reasons to justify such 'reimagining' and so far I'm seeing
unbacked claims of forgoing supporters and risky software execution toward
ends I don't want or need.
And yes, this isn't either/or, my point was exactly that we keep both
sides of it.
If Discourse is to be the choice (which, as far as I can tell from reading
this thread, is not a foregone conclusion) I believe Discourse will require
some work to become a viable replacement for the current mailing list
hosting. I see multiple problems that I believe ought to be addressed
before further consideration. Here's some of the problems I've identified:
The Discourse instance at https://community.cartalk.com/ (which I'm
guessing is typical since it's being pointed to on Discourse's main website
as a reason to adopt Discourse) has the same multiple source JS problem I
referred to earlier in this thread -- pages on this site try to load over
half a dozen JS files hosted on another site
(cdn-enterprise.discourse.org). This increases the user's risk because if
either site serves up malware in these files the user's browser will
blindly download it and run it. This should strike proponents as a problem
too: if any of the hosts is inaccessible the JS-based functionality that
script provides isn't there.
Posts on web forums sometimes include pointers to other materials to be
rendered inline (images, sounds, movies, 3D objects, executables, etc.).
The user's browser will blindly download these files and do something with
them (execute the code, run the Flash object, etc.). This is a
vulnerability unique to using a web browser to read posts or using a
poorly-written email program that mishandles untrusted input. And the
material can be hosted anywhere (another instance of the above). Forum
posts should not include inline references to any kind of data. I'd expect
Discourse to help with this by restricting what posts are allowed to
The aforementioned Discourse code pointed to by the cartalk.org site is
license-unknown minified JS which is effectively non-free object code
because minified code requires considerable effort to turn it back into the
source code a programmer would edit (and even then has no comments). Code
licenses should be labeled and complete corresponding source code should be
available and pointed to.
Some Discourse features mean nothing in a mailing list and it's not clear
to me what is really going on therefore I can't say I understand what
tradeoff is being made:
- splitting/merging threads
- what's been referred to on Discourse forums as "collaborative editing" of
something; I take it multiple people are editing something, but what are
xiasummer wrote "I believe the mail should be from the sender, not from
noreply.discourse.org or other public mail box.". In Discourse do all
mailing list posts appear to come from some user @noreply.discourse.org?
Rob Nicholson (no relation) said on the same page "For me the /biggest/
plus of a forum is that I can edit my reply after posting. I'm crap at
proof-reading before hand so often spot a typo.". Are users allowed to edit
their posts even after a followup post?
I do this too, and every time I subscribe to a new mailing list I have
to modify the filters so I can save my inbox. I see this as a hack, not
really a solution, but I understand again that older folks are used to
what they're used to.
I'm sure users young and old are capable of examining the situation on its
I'm interested in the implication you're giving off her. Are you saying
you have to really work to learn any new interface you come across, even
a website? That most sites aren't quickly intuitive or otherwise trivial
to "learn"? If you feel this way, it would explain the aversion to "new"
interfaces. It'd be interesting to study the demographics of this
I'm not implying anything, I'm outright stating that every website carries
a different set of features and requirements to do roughly the same thing:
discuss things with others. Some sites even carry browser-specific code to
implement their functionality (for example, I'm told there is a task
management website for tracking tasks that only works fully in Google's
Chrome browser; this belies the entire point of the web).
It's even easier to sign up for an account on a forum, but see above.
Signing up for a mailing list on Mailman requires supplying an email
address and clicking a link to confirm (or pressing reply on a confirmation
email). Ease of signing up was never an issue before and I wouldn't expect
it to become any more complex in the future. Besides, I'm already on this
mailing list now and using it effectively; there's no need for me to sign
up for any forum to keep doing what I've been doing.
You can't turn it off - to reply to a particular post, you hit reply.
Can't say as to whether the gear-heads care for proper threading though.
My guess is that more technical users will expect a threaded message
display because they either already use a client that does this or they
come to understand the value in identifying the natural tree of followups
and using that tree to handle what to do with the posts.
What I meant is that you can use email to communicate through the forum.
Or, you can use the web interface. It sounds like you want to use a web
interface (at least a little bit) anyway [...]
No, I'll download a file from a web server if I'm given a URL to the mbox
archive for a Discourse group (which I take to be the equivalent of a
I'd love to know what magical Mail client you must be using if it's
libre software for GNU/Linux that somehow manages to be nicer than
GNU Emacs is also my regular program for a lot of activity (like Mike
Gerwitz explained). It's not magical it's very capable. I'm experimenting
with some other mail programs including Evolution and Thunderbird which
also offer the ability to run user-written add-ons to better integrate them
into my daily work.
Message not available
Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Libreplanet using Discourse for mailing lists and web-based forums?, Adonay Felipe Nogueira, 2017/06/22
Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Modernizing the Libreplanet Community Infrastructure, Eric Wong, 2017/06/20
Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Modernizing the Libreplanet Community Infrastructure, Adonay Felipe Nogueira, 2017/06/21
- Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Modernizing the Libreplanet Community Infrastructure, (continued)