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Integrated Mailing List

posted by Krow on 07:39 AM November 19th, 2001   Printer-friendly   Email story
Christopher Felton writes "My business is looking for a discussion forum like slashcode. A couple of things that we are looking for and I am having a hard time finding is a forum that will integrate with our current email listservs. Also we want to create multipule forums for each of our products. Is this possible in slashcode?
Sincerely,
Christopher D. Felton>
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company"

People keep talking about this, does anyone want to outline what needs to happen to make this a reality? Some sort of script that sits in /etc/aliases and publishing the email, or do we need something that will will just read mbox formatted files or add replied mail as comments to an original.
What should this look like?
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  • Hi,

    I guess I don't completely understand the problem. Do we want to submit e-mails we receive from a mailing list as stories, or as discussions?

    Submitting the mails from mailing lists as stories should be trivial, but I think the problem is that when there is a discussion on a mailing list you don't want to see all messages in the thread as separate stories; you want to see all messages going as comments to the story (or discussion, if the first message in the thread was posted as a discussion.)

    So, the problem seems to be: how de we map incoming messages to an existing discussion or story? Perhaps we would need to use the "In-Reply-To:" field of incoming messages and map that to the parent id in the comments table? In this case the message ID should probably be stored somewhere in the DB, probably in the comments table.

    This particular feature would make Slash a very powerful system because it would allow to use a Slash site as archive for mailing lists.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      yes, i think this would make slashcode the "killer app". its awesome as it is right now, but if it could integrate email lists! omg!

      check out www.mhonarc.org for an existing perl email -> www solution. maybe it could be integrated into the slashcode?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      well, this is what yahoo groups (formerly egroups) does. thier interface definately sucks, but they keep track of messages and attach replies to the appropriate post.

      as long as you got people to leave the subject line alone (only add re:) then it probably wouldn't be too tricky, just add a key (ie FHJ6F7JI900F) and use it to match to a story/comment)
  • ok, this is a short desc. of a maillist2slash gateway I started to work on some time ago.
    1. Concepts (Slash / Maillist)
    • authors = maillist moderators/owners
    • section = maillist name
    • story = moderated message/message sent direct by an owner
    • submission = unmoderated message
    • comments = RE: to a slash story or comment
    • bidirectional, please :-)

    2. Process (mail to slash)

    • In the backgroud, have a deamon check for mail (by POP ?).
    • Get one mail at a time, and begin parsing.
    • Use the "real email" field and find out who is sending the message (From: ), in slash terms.
    • If it matches an author, chances are we format a story. If it matches a user, this has to be a reply to some story or comment, or a submission. Otherwise, reject the post.
    • If this is an ok post, work on it (w/ MIME::Tools ?) to get all bodyparts handy. We need to authenticate the user, understand his goal, translate the message(s) and store in DB.
    • Parse the textual body parts, and look for (XML-like?) directives in the text placed to govern topic, date, display, etc. (normally, Author is given to us by the email address, and section by the maillist name). Look at the Subject field and so forth to find out a reference to a story/comment in case the message is in fact a comment.
    • Fallback to defaut topic, section, author... if needed. Now we have all bits of information, process this to see if we should post a story or comment, submit, reject, etc. with a reason. Example: this msg is from Author X; The text included a <DISPLAY = "all"> directive; Does this author has posting rights to index section ?
    • Inline all textual parts as a story (a comment/a submission) and generate an intro if needed.
    • Apply filters. Save in DB.
    For Slash to mail, use another set of filters and process logic to output stories and comments by mail to maillists. I feel this direction is easier.

    Hum. This message is a mess; now you understand why I dropped. Hope it helps anyway.

    • I have most of it ready for a site of mine inside my office Intranet: it works out of an email alias subscribed to some mailing lists. Every message is a new story unless some headers (In-Reply-To, References) make it count as a reply to some other comment.

      What it's not there is the handling of MIME types: in fact if it's not text/plain it bails out. Also I also have some logic to find a suitable topic out of Subject - sometimes it works, sometimes not.

      I need to rewrite for Fry because the handling of comments has changed, and my site is still running Bender. I will try to post the script once it's cleaned up.
      --

      Check out the Slash in Italian Project [kenobi.it]

      • I'd love to see this script. This is a feature my site really needs.

        Having each new message as a new discussion instead of a story would probably make more sense in my case. But I guess this is trivial to do if new messages are posted as new stories.
        • It's available at my site [sevenseas.org]. Please note it's for Bender (not Fry!), doesn't handle messages other than text/plain (you can put demime in front of it) and text to html transformation is done internally by a bunch of regexs instead of using an external module (HTML::FromText [cpan.org] being a candidate).

          Apart from this, it works. I use it as a sendmail alias:
          slashpost: | mail2slash virtualuser

          --

          Check out the Slash in Italian Project [kenobi.it]

    • For the brave at heart : I posted a tar.gz of the script I currently use.
      I warn you : it REAL alpha and ugly. Get it on sourceforge.net [sourceforge.net]