Convert Forum to Mail List

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Convert Forum to Mail List

GregChapman
Hi,

Apologies for the request, but my neighbours have decided they would like something a little different to what I had in mind for them.

Is it possible to convert my forum at:
http://horse-barns.11180.n6.nabble.com/
to become a mail list.

It does not matter of all the current users, other than me, are obliterated in the change. The plan is to subscribe them all again when the rest of the neighbours are sent subscription invitations.

However, if possible, can the sub-forum "Original Forum Material" be retained if you make that change?
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

Hugo <Nabble>
Hi Greg, the truth is that there is no difference between a forum and a "Nabble mailing list". The "Start a Mailing List" option on the Nabble homepage creates a forum with some instructions in the description area. No more than that. The idea is that all apps have a built-in mailing list, so users can subscribe and read/post new messages by email. I am not sure what your neighbours want, but if they want to read and post by email, then your current forum should work fine. The only hassle in this story is that they would have to take note of the email that creates new topics in the forum (they should click on Options > Post by email). This is only needed when they want to create a new topic, since replying to existing messages is straightforward. Actually, if they change the subject of the email when replying to a message will make that message a new topic in the forum. So memorizing the email that creates a new topic is not really needed. All they have to do is find an existing message in their inbox, reply to it and change its subject. Please let me know what you think. We can help you with everything you need.
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

GregChapman
This post was updated on .
Hi Hugo,

I think I knew most of the information in your response, except that I hadn't realised that changing a subject on an email reply would start a new topic.

The reason for my request was that I had tried to do a test to subscribe a new user and wanted to see the wording of the email they would receive containing the confirmation link. When I clicked it I encountered a login screen.

I now suspect that this was either because I already had a tab in my browser open where I was logged in under my admin address or because the address I was attempting to subscribe was already known to the system as I had used it before as a test user, although I had deliberately deleted the account, to attempt to de-register it. Perhaps I should have logged out and cleared cookies before I went to my email program to click the link?

EDIT: I now realise that more likely the login screen is presented because it is to be a private mail list and I have turned off View permission for "Anyone" restricting access to those in the "Member" group.

Is there a way to have new subscribers join and not be forced to register with such a restriction in place?
Is it better to get them to face up to the fact that Nabble is a "forum with extras" rather than a "mail list with archive"?
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

Hugo <Nabble>
I added a special module to your forum that allows you to easily subscribe members. If you go to "Options > Users > Manage subscribers" you will see a new "Subscribe members" tab. That tab will display all unsubscribed members on your forum and controls to subscribe them. So all you have to do is go to "Options > Users > Manage users & groups", add new email addresses to the members group and then go to the manage subscribers page like I described. You can test one email or two to see what happens. Please let me know if you have questions.
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

GregChapman
Hi Hugo,

Many thanks for your response and the work on this issue.

I may have misled you, or there may be a bug in the routine.

I think you worked out that when I referred to "Members" group, I was, in fact, referring to my custom-made "Shareholder" group, because when I added a user to "Members" the address was not added under the new "Subscribe Members" tab. However, when I added the address to "Shareholders" it did then appear under "Subscribe Members".

I then checked the new address under "Subscribe Members" and that address did receive an email saying "You've been subscribed, click link to unsubscribe" (I paraphrase!). However, that address was not added under the "Current Subscribers" tab and it has not received the first test mail I sent.

Thinking I may have got the process wrong, I repeated the check the address under "Subscribe Members" process and found the address received a second "You've been subscribed, click link to unsubscribe" message".

I wonder if the routine is taking account of the fact that none of these addresses are registered?

Also, so that the routine has a more general application, (because I am sure there are others who'd welcome an archive for a "private" mail list) I wonder if the addresses listed under the "Subscribe Members" tab should include all those that belong to both "Member" and all user-added groups.

Another thought: Will addresses that could show under "Subscribe Members" disappear from that tab once they appear under "Current Subscribers", so there is no possibility attempting to subscribe a user who is already subscribed.
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

Hugo <Nabble>
Hi Greg,

I looked again at the code and it is simpler than I thought. That "Subscribe Members" tab is not tied to any particular group, so you can certainly use it with the "Shareholder" group.  The code basically lists all unsubscribed users that can view the current app, and it doesn't matter if they are registered or not. So here is what you should do for new users:
1) Go to the "Manage users & groups" page and add the email(s) to the Shareholder group;
2) Go to the "Manage subscribers / Subscribe Members" tab and subscribe the emails you added in step #1.

After clicking on the "Subscribe Members" button, those users should show up as "subscribed" on the first tab. I tried that with an unregistered account and it worked fine. Please note that step #1 is needed because the system must recognize that user as someone who can view the current app.
GregChapman wrote
Another thought: Will addresses that could show under "Subscribe Members" disappear from that tab once they appear under "Current Subscribers", so there is no possibility attempting to subscribe a user who is already subscribed.
Yes, that's correct. If the user is subscribed, it will not be listed on the "Subscribe Members" tab.

Questions?
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

GregChapman
This post was updated on .
Hi Hugo,
Hugo <Nabble> wrote
I looked again at the code and it is simpler than I thought. That "Subscribe Members" tab is not tied to any particular group, so you can certainly use it with the "Shareholder" group.  The code basically lists all unsubscribed users that can view the current app, and it doesn't matter if they are registered or not.
That doesn't appear fully accurate, because the address you registered yourself appears under the "Subscribe Members" tab but registered users do not have "View" permission. I assume that address of your has "super powers"?
Hugo <Nabble> wrote
So here is what you should do for new users:
1) Go to the "Manage users & groups" page and add the email(s) to the Shareholder group;
2) Go to the "Manage subscribers / Subscribe Members" tab and subscribe the emails you added in step #1.
It seems I did the right things yesterday, but there are still issues I haven't been able to resolve. (Yesterday, I did fail to recognise that users in the "Members" group would not appear under the "Subscribe Members" tab because they do not have View permission. However, you've now clarified that point. The outstanding issues are:

1. As reported yesterday, while I can select "GregTest" (an unregistered user and Shareholder) under the "Subscribe Members" tab, and he gets a "You've been subscribed, click link to unsubscribe" message, the name does not shift from from the "Subscribe Members" tab to the "Current Subscribers" tab and he does not receive messages posted via the Archive. (I suspect your code assumes he will be registered?)

2. When I unsubscribed my "GregChapman" user (registered, admin and a shareholder) from under the "Current Subscribers" tab, that user got a "You have been unsubscribed" mail and appeared under the "Subscribe Members" tab. However, on being resubscribed, that user switched back to the "Current Subscribers" tab (nothing wrong so far), but did not get a  "You've been subscribed, click link to unsubscribe" message. That seems inconsistent with Issue #1.
EDIT: Issue #2 resolved. The "You've been subscribed" message has arrived!
After clicking on the "Subscribe Members" button, those users should show up as "subscribed" on the first tab. I tried that with an unregistered account and it worked fine. Please note that step #1 is needed because the system must recognize that user as someone who can view the current app.
The above represents issue #3. As an unregistered address has no View permission How did they appear on the "Subscribe Members" tab for them to be subscribed? (Perhaps this is another "super-power user" of yours?)
GregChapman wrote
Another thought: Will addresses that could show under "Subscribe Members" disappear from that tab once they appear under "Current Subscribers", so there is no possibility attempting to subscribe a user who is already subscribed.
Yes, that's correct. If the user is subscribed, it will not be listed on the "Subscribe Members" tab.
As noted above, that seems to be working (with limitations) [EDIT: As noted above: Limitations resolved!] for my admin address, but not my test user address.

I confess that I haven't tried posting further messages today as I thought we needed to get issues 1-3 resolved first.

As an aside, when we've sorted the issues with the "Subscribe Members" tab, I would propose that the standard tab "Add Subscribers" should be renamed "Invite Subscribers" (It's there as a sub-heading already!) as that is the true function of the original tab. That would then allow the new "Subscribe Members" tab to be renamed to its true function "Add Subscribers".
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

Hugo <Nabble>
I figured out what happened to you. As you said before, you removed (deactivated) your test account in order to make it "unregistered" again. But deactivation is a little bit more than that: it tells the system to ignore that account, which means no subscriptions, emails, etc. In other words, when a user removes his/her account, he/she doesn't want any kind of connection with that app anymore. So we respect that decision and make sure no emails will be sent to him/her.

EDIT: I forgot to say that I fixed your test account and left it purely "unregistered". Then the subscription worked fine.
GregChapman wrote
As an aside, when we've sorted the issues with the "Subscribe Members" tab, I would propose that the standard tab "Add Subscribers" should be renamed "Invite Subscribers" (It's there as a sub-heading already!) as that is the true function of the original tab. That would then allow the new "Subscribe Members" tab to be renamed to its true function "Add Subscribers".
That's a great tip, thanks! I made this change and it will be available after the next release.

Did I miss anything? Questions, comments or concerns?
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

GregChapman
This post was updated on .
Hi Hugo,

I've done more tests and all the issues previously reported have been resolved. Many thanks for your work on this.

While of benefit to my particular needs, I am hoping that this additional module will prove useful to others.
Hugo <Nabble> wrote
GregChapman wrote
I would propose that the standard tab "Add Subscribers" should be renamed "Invite Subscribers" (It's there as a sub-heading already!) as that is the true function of the original tab. That would then allow the new "Subscribe Members" tab to be renamed to its true function "Add Subscribers".
That's a great tip, thanks! I made this change and it will be available after the next release.

Did I miss anything? Questions, comments or concerns?
Only one thing, it might be worth adding some guidance to the "Invite Subscriber" and "Add Subscriber" tabs (or documentation) that explain their use and differences along the following lines:

By removing "View" permission from both the "Anyone" and "Registered" groups only those that an administrator specifically assigns to the "Members" group (or other custom-added group) can access a forum (or mail list archive) thereby allowing it to be totally private. Those who wish to set up a private mail list need to use the "opt-out" (Add Subscriber) facility rather than "opt-in" (Invite Subscriber) approach to subscriptions, because, having been locked out of the archive, opt-in subscribers will be unable to access the link that confirms their subscription. If not setting up a private mail list archive it is recommended that the "Invite Subscriber" approach is used.

EDIT:Very minor point: Could the wording of the middle paragraph of the "xxx subscribed you to xxxx" mail be changed to:

"With your subscription, posts and replies will be sent directly to your email and you can reply to them to participate. Your subscription works as a mailing list."

i.e. delete the words "the same as". I don't think it will affect the meaning for forum subscribers, but "the same as" will raise questions for someone who thought they had joined a mail list.
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

GregChapman
One more thing I failed to test...

I assume that anyone I have placed in in the "Shareholder" group and subscribed who then registers using the same address will have the two facilities linked.

You'll recall registered users have no "View" Permission, but "Shareholders" do, so I am assuming that as soon as they register they get instant access to the list archive on logging in with no further action from me.
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

GregChapman
Another little issue...

I have just sent send a message from my Admin address in my mail program To: the mail list (along with a host of other addresses in the To: field).

I have not got a copy come back to my Admin address - although it has reached the archive and  my non-Admin address, which is subscribed has received a copy. Is this expected behaviour?

I would expect to get a copy of my own message back in my Inbox. (I have checked my ISP's webmail Spam folder.) I have a feeling this has happened once or twice before on my other forums, but I could never pick out a reason for the failure and it hasn't happened often enough for me to detect a pattern or trigger action.

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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

GregChapman
And another...

I use a plain text mail program. It includes a facility to load any HTML part of mail into my browser. I never normally need to use that facility. However, when I tried it I found a fourth footer link to go with the three I see in the plain text version:

# The URL of the current message in the archive
# Your personal address to use for NEW messages to the mail list
# A link to stop receiving messages from the list.

The fourth is a small NAML link that takes you to the code for the "instant_html" macro. Surely, that is not intended?
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

Hugo <Nabble>
In reply to this post by GregChapman
GregChapman wrote
While of benefit to my particular needs, I am hoping that this additional module will prove useful to others.
This module is available only to a few Nabble users. We don't plan to make it available to everyone because subscribing users without a confirmation can be very dangerous.
GregChapman wrote
Only one thing, it might be worth adding some guidance to the "Invite Subscriber" and "Add Subscriber" tabs (or documentation) that explain their use and differences along the following lines...
Since the module will not be released to everyone, there is no need to explain the difference between those tabs.
GregChapman wrote
EDIT:Very minor point: Could the wording of the middle paragraph of the "xxx subscribed you to xxxx" mail be changed to:

"With your subscription, posts and replies will be sent directly to your email and you can reply to them to participate. Your subscription works as a mailing list."

i.e. delete the words "the same as". I don't think it will affect the meaning for forum subscribers, but "the same as" will raise questions for someone who thought they had joined a mail list.
I made this change (available after the next release).
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

Hugo <Nabble>
In reply to this post by GregChapman
GregChapman wrote
You'll recall registered users have no "View" Permission, but "Shareholders" do, so I am assuming that as soon as they register they get instant access to the list archive on logging in with no further action from me.
Yes, that's correct.
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

Hugo <Nabble>
In reply to this post by GregChapman
GregChapman wrote
I have just sent send a message from my Admin address in my mail program To: the mail list (along with a host of other addresses in the To: field).

I have not got a copy come back to my Admin address - although it has reached the archive and  my non-Admin address, which is subscribed has received a copy. Is this expected behaviour?

I would expect to get a copy of my own message back in my Inbox. (I have checked my ISP's webmail Spam folder.) I have a feeling this has happened once or twice before on my other forums, but I could never pick out a reason for the failure and it hasn't happened often enough for me to detect a pattern or trigger action.
If the message was posted by email, then you won't get a copy back (because you already have the original email in your inbox). So this is intentional.
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

Hugo <Nabble>
In reply to this post by GregChapman
GregChapman wrote
The fourth is a small NAML link that takes you to the code for the "instant_html" macro. Surely, that is not intended?
That is intentional. That link goes to the code that generates those emails, so you can customize the text, etc. We have decided to keep that link only in the HTML part of the email because we can keep it small. In the TEXT part, that link would look big and unpleasant.
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

GregChapman
In reply to this post by Hugo <Nabble>
Hi Hugo,

Thanks for your feedback. I understand and accept all your points except this one.
Hugo <Nabble> wrote
GregChapman wrote
I would expect to get a copy of my own message back in my Inbox.
If the message was posted by email, then you won't get a copy back (because you already have the original email in your inbox). So this is intentional.
I don't understand this response. You seem to have the case of a web-based forum in mind, where the original post will indeed appear above any reply on the same screen.

However, I am talking mail list with interaction through a conventional mail program. An original post to a mail list will normally be stored in the mail program's Sent Mail folder. If it doesn't get re-served to the subscriber, then the subscriber does not have a complete record of all traffic to the list in his InBox.

With all other mail lists that I subscribe to (regardless of hosts/providers (YahooGroups, Mailman, etc,)) where replies go to the list and not the original poster, then I always receive a back from the list server a copy of any message I post.

This is a vital feature for mail lists. It enables a subscriber to have a complete record of ALL mail list traffic in a single inbound mail folder in their mail program. On my desktop computer I use mail filters extensively, in my mail client, having approaching forty folders for various individuals, topics and mail lists. To have to switch between my Sent Mail folder (and then search through it for my posts to the list) and Mail List folder to see all traffic to that list is not acceptable.

AFTERTHOUGHT: It has just occurred to me that you may only be used to Google's hideous and confusing web-based GMail interface (and the equally weird GMail app on my Android phone) with it's peculiar concept of "Conversations". I use the understandable standard mail app for all my GMail accounts on my phone, and on my desktop use GMail's POP facility to redirect  all my GMail accounts to a conventional mail client. I am sure that most people using Nabble as a mail list archive do the same and up till now there have been no complaints because they are not using Nabble as their mail list server.

PLEASE RECONSIDER YOUR POLICY. Current behaviour is just not acceptable for someone regularly posting new threads (I deliberately avoid using the traditional forum term of "topic") from a conventional mail program and using Nabble as a mail list server.
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

Hugo <Nabble>
Hi Greg, thanks for the feedback and the detailed explanation. I do use Gmail like you said and I like its interface. So this is probably a matter of taste and shouldn't be discussed :-)

The good news is that Nabble is extremely flexible and you can easily fix this issue (i.e., authors who post messages by email should get a copy back in their inboxes) by tweaking the "should_get_instant_mail" macro to look like this:

<override_macro name="should_get_instant_mail" requires="user,node_page" >
	<n.set_local_user.this_user/>
	<n.block.>
		<n.local_user.can_view.page_node />
	</n.block.>
</override_macro>

I can make this change for you if you want. Just let me know if you need help ;-)
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

GregChapman
Thanks Hugo,

I shan't rant about GMail again. :-)

I have altered the macro and, as usual, I don't think I would have been able to work that change out by myself.

I still say that, as a matter of policy, when a user joins a mail list it should not depend on who sent the latest message or what software was used to post it whether that message arrives - and, actually, I'd say the same should apply on a forum too, so I say the version you posted should be in Nabble's core code.

Of course, Nabble's flexibility will always allow you to change this. :-)
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Re: Convert Forum to Mail List

GregChapman
Another issue has arisen for the forum at:
http://npopuk-forum.986084.n3.nabble.com/

It is used primarily as a mail list, but some users are editing their posts in the archive (i.e. forum) and this makes it difficult for those interacting entirely via mail. Responses may no longer make sense, or further information is asked for when it has already been added to the post on the forum.

Can you tell me what to edit to remove the option to edit a post? Is it just a matter of deleting the "edit_post_link" macro?

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