Email/news interface

Ok, Lambda has gotten very active of late and it's getting to be a pain to keep up via the web interface. Is there any hope of getting an email or Usenet like interface for LtU, as eloquently described by Matt Hellige?

If it involves modifying Drupal source or adding a Drupal module, I'd be happy to volunteer.

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Isn't the RSS feed for the

Isn't the RSS feed for the fourm enough? You can use it via a news aggregator, or via an RSS2email gateway.


The biggest problem is that the RSS feed doesn't come across as threaded, so I can't see who is replying to what.

There are also three different feeds, though for some reason only one feed is displayed on the web site? Apparently the story feed doesn't include author information.

I'd really like one feed to point to that had the same functionality as a standard newsgroup.

One more issue

I'm also not clear and how the RSS decides what to display. Does it show the last n hours? If you don't check for a weekend, and come back, have you lost posts?

Some years ago

A long, long time ago, when I still read newsgroups and was afraid of the new thing called RSS, nntp/rss worked fine for me. Maybe it still does for you?


Are you implying that nntp/rss adds threading capability?
I looked at their screen shots and couldn't tell.

I agree with the OP. I tried out Mozilla's RSS aggregator functionanlity for the first time. It is only half way to what I would like. It is a problem that I can't be logged in to reply or have my viewing tracked.

Serious trade offs I would say, not an improvement.
But thanks for goading me to get over my fear. ;-)

Are you implying that

Are you implying that nntp/rss adds threading capability?

Sorry, I can't remember, but I don't think so. I was guessing Jeff just found his news client more comfortable to use than his browser or RSS client.

But thanks for goading me to get over my fear. ;-)

That's ok, but I have to admit I also don't use RSS anymore. You end up trying to follow more and more online ranting and it just takes too much time.

Now, somewhat more on-topic, I would find it very surprising if LtU were to add an e-mail or usenet interface. If that's what they want they could just have started as a mailing list or newsgroup in the beginning.


Are you implying that nntp/rss adds threading capability?
I looked at their screen shots and couldn't tell.

nntp//rss has no threading capability. I just tried it out. Browsing through Slashdot is no joy - the messages contain only a link to the Website. The RSS support built into Mozilla Thunderbird does a better job. But no threading either.

Feed reader SharpReader offers links to all related items, such as trackbacks and comments - messy looking link chains, no proper threading.

email notification

I don't know if my question is implied by the above or already answered, but: is there a way to get an email whenever someone replies to one of my postings? (More precisely, anyone who posts to a thread in a subtree of one of my posts.)

Forummail, mailhandler, listhandler?

Would(n't) forummail or its dependent Drupal modules mailhandler and listhandler work for us?

Thanks. If we decide to go

Thanks. If we decide to go in this direction these look relevant.

As I said in the past, I am quite against the idea of posting by email (which seems to be what mailhandler does). I think this pushes LtU further away from what it should be. As for reading via email, I still think RSS is better for this purpose and that there are good tools for RSS-email integration (including reading RSS inside outlook for those that want to). Still, if there's a large demand for this, we may decide to implement this. Note that what listhandler will do is simply allow us to create a mailing list address to which members could subscribe, and forward new items to this address. Hence, no real threading etc.


There's also Netnews. There has been interest expressed for a threaded view via mail or news by others. I'm not sure what would qualify as "strong demand" in your eyes. Would you be willing to take a straw poll?

Note I'm only talking about reading the site, not posting via mail or news.

Posting/reading by email

May I ask why you think posting by email "pushes LtU further away from what it should be", and why RSS is better than email for reading? I need threading and I need offline access. Together, these needs push me away from LtU. (: Netnews (NNTP) access would be perfectly satisfy both of these needs.

Personally, I find that

Personally, I find that mailing list dynamics are quite different than the kinds of discussions you find on LtU. I am not sure how universal this observation is, and in any case the kind of research needed to justify such a claim isn't the type we deal with here, so this is mainly my personal feeling. Some possible resasons: Reading LtU (on the site) adds context, and there's a clear distinction between home page items and responses. Relatively few discussions tend to be active at any one time. It is also easy to click on user names to see their profiles, access the archives etc. I don't think LtU could have been what it is if it was a mailing list or usenet group. I may be wrong about this of course, but I did think about these issues quite a bit. By the way, it might be of interest that most regular readers prefer to visit the site and use the recent changes page (the "tracker"). When we migrated to Durpal one of the things people really wanted is to keep this functionality (which we had on Manila), since even with RSS etc. they prefered to read LtU on the site.

I think RSS provides you with the offline capability you want (RSS's classic use was for offline reading, so why not install an RSS reader and see if it does what you want? Some even support threading), and like I said rss-to-email gateways are easy to find and use. If you need help with that, let us know. As for threading: (1) We are still checking whether the packages you mentioned support threading. If they don't there's no advanatge over RSS (via email, if you prefer). (2) Most good LtU threads don't have deep nesting, and threading isn't really needed (you may recall that when LtU was a Manila site we didn't have any threading capability worth talking about, and we managed just fine). I think the long threads which require threading support are not something we really want to encourage. They are usually less informative than shorter and more focused threads (there are a few exceptions to this, I know).

However, the goal of course is to make LtU as useful for all of us, so if you and others still push in this direction we will have to look into this (at the expense of other things, if this is a priority), since we don't want to push you away from LtU, of course! I just hope my fears will turn out to be wrong, since I think this might turn out fatal.

I hope I managed to explain what worries me, if not let me know.


I prefer to read LtU and other RSS feeds while online which is why I use the recent changes page and/or Bloglines. There are many client side RSS readers, useful for offline use, one that I heard go things about is NetNewsWire, other readers may suggest their tools of choice.


I have used an rss-to-email gateway in the past, and I use Sage (a simple RSS reader) in Firefox right now, which works just fine offline. I'd appreciate any suggestions of alternative software, perhaps a free(-speech) RSS reader on Debian GNU/Linux with better threading.

Simply put, I'd like to have equal access to LtU while offline. Whether it's via RSS, email, NNTP, or something else, I don't really care about. I can see the advantage of discouraging deeply nested discussions, but then let's disable thread nesting altogether, even stop distinguishing among responses to different discussion topics, not just over RSS.

OK. We'll look into it.

OK. We'll look into it.