Post/Reply by Email - Integration With Email Lists

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EXreaction
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Re: Post/Reply by Email - Integration With Email Lists

Post by EXreaction » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:00 pm

Dog Cow wrote:
EXreaction wrote: I'm not too familiar with POP or other ways to access emails sent to a server, but in an ideal environment they could setup a pipe to a script we build (not sure how common that ability is however).
bantu wrote: I don't know what you consider a "large number of users", but because this requires mailserver configuration, shared hosting users probably won't be able to use it. This is in my opinion way out of "a large number of users".
cPanel has an option to pipe incoming emails to a program instead of a mailbox. This program could be a Perl or PHP script.

Here is a link to the documentation: Email Forwarders in cPanel
imkingdavid wrote:Well, along the lines of a secret key, we could randomly generate a secret key for each user that they can access in their profile (or have a new one generated in case someone else discovers what theirs is).
Why not just let the user make up an email password for himself? Posting a new topic requires the password be in the subject or in the first line of the post. Sending an email with an incorrect password spawns a response from the server asking the email sender to either supply a valid password, or have the new posting rejected.
Yes, some hosts support piping mail to scripts. A couple of us discussed how this would work over IRC and came to the conclusion that if we were to do it, it would need to support multiple methods of retrieving the mail, including via pipe and from POP.

Posting a new topic is a bit complicated, I am not sure that is something we would be interested in supporting (at least currently). The primary use of this is the ability to respond to topics already made.

omarf
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Re: Post/Reply by Email - Integration With Email Lists

Post by omarf » Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:32 pm

If I may chime in with a vote FOR email integration.

I've been successfully using mail2forum on a phpBB2 installation for years and have been searching for a valid replacement that would work with phbBB3

The benefits of letting users interact by email in addition to the standard web interface are great, in my opinion. Some have stated here that member participation is improved. You bet! Many of my forum members won't take the time to sit down at a computer and log in, but they participate daily from their mobile phones because email is ubiquitous. The difference is that email is a "push" technology. If you're subscribed to a particular forum, the messages come no matter what. If you remember to log in every week or so, you're inundated with hundreds of new messages to sift through and that overwhelming number forces you to quickly scan the headlines and mark everything as read without much participation. Basically, members come to the forum when they need something, whereas if they are fed a steady dose of outgoing messages they are more inclined to offer something back to the community.

My point is that having the ability to interact with a forum in more ways than one improves participation. Some like the web interface, others email. The goal is to have a vibrant community, no?

To the technical aspects of email integration:
mail2forum has pretty much everything one could wish for (except compatibility with phpBB3 :( )
  • - Only registered members can post
    - Each forum has a designated email address and sending an email from a registered email address to it will start a new topic.
    - Users are able to subscribe to any forum, or none at all.
    - Replying to an email from the forum will post a message in that topic in the order it was received and attribute it to the proper user.
    - Attachments are handled as well. Based on the administrator's setting, large images are resized so they don't overload mailboxes.
    - Unnecessary text is stripped from incoming messages (stuff like <John Doe wrote..>)
    - Incoming mail can be piped in or retrieved via a cron job.
    - Messages can be moderated
I've been following the development at Invision Power Services (IPB) and for their upcoming version 4 suite they are promising to look into adding email integration. They've already integrated the Madrill service from MailChimp which could make it easier to implement email integration on servers that have limitations on outbound emails. vBulletin also has email integration mods, although not yet for the latest release.

I'd love to see m2f taken up by the phpBB devs and made into a supported extension. That would really make my day! :D

Omar

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Re: Post/Reply by Email - Integration With Email Lists

Post by Pony99CA » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:07 am

For some reason I must have missed this earlier....
omarf wrote:The benefits of letting users interact by email in addition to the standard web interface are great, in my opinion. Some have stated here that member participation is improved. You bet! Many of my forum members won't take the time to sit down at a computer and log in, but they participate daily from their mobile phones because email is ubiquitous. The difference is that email is a "push" technology. If you're subscribed to a particular forum, the messages come no matter what. If you remember to log in every week or so, you're inundated with hundreds of new messages to sift through and that overwhelming number forces you to quickly scan the headlines and mark everything as read without much participation. Basically, members come to the forum when they need something, whereas if they are fed a steady dose of outgoing messages they are more inclined to offer something back to the community.

My point is that having the ability to interact with a forum in more ways than one improves participation. Some like the web interface, others email. The goal is to have a vibrant community, no?
phpBB will always send E-mail notifications (if the user requested them), so they'll get that "steady dose" of E-mail no matter what. That E-mail contains a link to the topic that was posted to, so why can't the user click the link and then post on the Web site?

The problem that I've found (on phones and even tablets) is that phpBB doesn't handle mobile devices well (at least with the ProSilver style). But if phpBB worked better on a mobile device, would it really save much time replying by E-mail than linking to the Web site? If you're starting a new topic in a forum, does it save much time composing an E-mail to some address (how easy are Mail2Forum's addresses to remember and how does one find out the addresses in the first place) than to visit the site in your browser? So I think that most of the benefits that you list could be had by making phpBB more mobile-friendly.

I'm not opposed to adding this capability -- lots of people have requested it, and if it helps get people using phpBB instead of mailing lists, that seems like a win for phpBB -- but I'd much rather see improved subscription options first -- getting the full text of posts; getting every new post, not just the first one since the last time you visited; subscribing to the whole board at once (like the Board Watch MOD); etc. The first two are also prerequisites for replying via E-mail -- it's hard to reply if you can't see the content of the post or if you don't get every post to a subscribed topic :D

Steve
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John P
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Re: Post/Reply by Email - Integration With Email Lists

Post by John P » Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:40 am

I now have 3 forums in where people don't want to surf to the forum unless the topic is interesting. All forums are business forums. So we build it so everybody gets always the mail with the content in it. If interested enough in the topic people will go to the forum to give a reaction but I'm sure if they could do it with a mail they will use this. They only will go to the forum to read the history of a topic.

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DavidIQ
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Re: Post/Reply by Email - Integration With Email Lists

Post by DavidIQ » Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:28 pm

That's very different than what is being discussed. Your forum could probably benefit from email digests (there's a MOD for that).
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*Serval
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Re: Post/Reply by Email - Integration With Email Lists

Post by *Serval » Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:46 am

This would be a really nice feature.

The growing company I work for used to have a tech mailing list to ask questions or share knowledge. But unfortunately the newcowers can't access to all the post entries and it's hard to categorize everything.
We think about moving to phpBB3. But as some of us travel a lot, we would really like to enable reply by email.


Hope this will be implemented.

Cheers,
*Serval

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Re: Post/Reply by Email - Integration With Email Lists

Post by Ramblin » Tue May 13, 2014 9:25 pm

In reply to the comment that
"It gathered all of 70 posts in 4 years before being marked as abandoned."

I was one of the people who stopped using phpBB because this feature was not available.

At the time, I reviewed the posts about the issue and saw no stomach to change and add the feature. The responses were not encouraging at all so I assumed the issue was dead and no sense debating it any further. I went elsewhere.

I am willing to bet there are many like me who saw the old responses and just left it at that.

If I read the current (Ok, 1 year old) posts, I could draw the same (non-collaborative) tone and walk away again, but I thought I'd at least have my opinion registered this time and hope that phpBB would add this one VERY useful feature, which others do have.

I was just asked by a friend to recommend a BB system and I liked phpBB in general so came back to see if the feature had been added and saw this thread basically discouraging it again.

Most of the people I deal with want this. They do not want to require their users (who often are on mobile devices) to have to read an email from a BB, and sign in to a web site to reply. They just want to reply to the email. Everyone knows how to do that. Many (yes still) do not want the "complication" of signing into a BB system with which they are unfamiliar. So I set them up as users, pre-configure their accessibility and use emails from then on, with the BB system serving as a repository for the communication and as a means to create new topics.

I am fine with only having email response to topics, and do NOT need (nor want) the email to create new topics.

I am also fine with it as a mod, so long as it is a well integrated mod and does not get knocked off compatibility and left to wither like the old mod2forum did.

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Re: Post/Reply by Email - Integration With Email Lists

Post by John P » Wed May 14, 2014 10:17 am

I also hope this will be implemented soon as more and more people are asking for this.
The digest isn't the option because you can't reply on it.

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Re: Post/Reply by Email - Integration With Email Lists

Post by DavidIQ » Wed May 14, 2014 10:27 am

The fact that this has been sitting idle without any responses for almost a year and that this isn't an RFC (nor does one exist far as I can tell) doesn't help getting this into core in a future version like 3.2, although making it an extension at this point should be possible for an interested party.
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Re: Post/Reply by Email - Integration With Email Lists

Post by Pony99CA » Wed May 14, 2014 8:25 pm

Ramblin wrote:Most of the people I deal with want this. They do not want to require their users (who often are on mobile devices) to have to read an email from a BB, and sign in to a web site to reply. They just want to reply to the email. Everyone knows how to do that.
phpBB 3.1 will have responsive design, and so should look better on mobile devices. Also, most smart mobile devices allow you to save passwords (and you can have phpBB remember you, too), so very little sign-on should be necessary after the first time. After that, you should just have to click on the link and then click the Quote or Reply button.
Ramblin wrote:Many (yes still) do not want the "complication" of signing into a BB system with which they are unfamiliar.
If they're unfamiliar with the BB, how did they find it and decide to sign up in the first place? Using phpBB isn't rocket science.
Ramblin wrote:So I set them up as users, pre-configure their accessibility and use emails from then on, with the BB system serving as a repository for the communication and as a means to create new topics.

I am fine with only having email response to topics, and do NOT need (nor want) the email to create new topics.
So if users want to create new topics, they still have to endure the "complication of signing into a BB system with which they are unfamiliar"? That sounds like a very mixed user experience.

NOTE: I don't have a problem with the request. In fact, it would probably help get additional phpBB users if phpBB allowed E-mail posting. I just wonder how secure it will be. Plus, if you can reply to topics by E-mail, you should be able to create new ones by E-mail to maintain a consistent user experience.

Steve
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