Migrating to a better communication tool

Julian Lam julian.lam at gmail.com
Tue Aug 1 21:44:59 UTC 2017

Hey everyone, I was referred to this conversation by a member of your
community and I wanted to drop in and say hello. I hope I’m not running
afoul of any house rules :)

Moving from a mailing list format to a forum is certainly going to be an
abrupt change for many in your community, and it is definitely not a
decision to be made lightly. However, the good news is that there are
definitely some fantastic new entrants to the forum space that will allow
your community to thrive in a familiar (yet novel!) atmosphere.

To address some comments from late last week:

> … the ability to use them as a mailing list

NodeBB does support this via our Mandrill plugin, although it has been
awhile since we’ve had a chance to implement it with any of our managed
installs. As you can imagine, not many customers are looking to maintain an
active mailing list *and* a forum at the same time. We’d be interested in
doing this kind of integration with the SendGrid plugin, actually…

> mute and digest periods

The key shift from a mailing list to a forum is that you’d be approaching
topics in more of a “supermarket” style -- browsing for topics that
interest you, as opposed to a constant incoming stream of messages that
need active curation. In terms of muting topics, you can control
notification and visibility at the topic level, but the real advantages
come from subdividing discussions into interest categories and controlling
notification preferences at the category level.

> cost of hosting

We’ve discussed this internally and we’d be interested in hosting ES
Discuss ourselves, as part of our efforts to contribute back to the
open-source community that has been so good to us over the years. It’s part
of a new initiative (and I use that term fairly loosely) to support more
open-source projects in order to foster discussion and build community.

Finally, I am especially struck by the fact that there are issues with
mailing lists and messages not being properly propagated back to the list.
It’s this kind of curation that forums are especially good for, as they’re
centralised in that manner. My hope is that anyone migrating from a
mailing-list type of community will see increased adoption and engagement
from members both old and new. Of course, I’m sure there are many more
questions, so I’ll try my best to be around and see if we can help convince
you that forums are the way to go.


Julian, Co-Founder, NodeBB Inc.
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