Running our own mailing lists?

I thought it would be a cool idea to have our own, independent Mailman mailing lists somewhere and not to rely on Google Groups.

A lot of people who like Diaspora* are privacy aware and are not comfortable with sharing their email info with Google. I have a spare Linode instance, so I could host those mailing lists, only if anyone is interested in having something like that.

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Personally I find the Google lists quite ok. The mailing list needs to be public anyway so Google will know about the emails where ever the mailing list is hosted :slight_smile:

If someone feels strong about this we can always vote on the subject.

Yeah, I find Google Groups pretty easy to use when it comes to actual usage. However, if we are independent of Facebook and others in social networking, we should also have our own infrastructure. Just a thought of mine.

We don’t really have any own infrastructure - code is hosted at Github, dev and community talk at Loomio, various things here and there and most of it probably lives on Amazon servers where many pods also live :slight_smile:

Of course there could be other better options than Google and those should be considered. But if most people are happy with the Google lists it prob isn’t worth changing and making everyone having to subscribe and update all the pages, etc :slight_smile:

There is a Mailman mailing list, which was set up by Yosem last year. It has fallen out of use in the chaos of the first half of this year, but I would like to see it used again. I’d be happy to use it, where I’m not happy to post to Google groups.

Mailman is something really easy to deploy and I don’t like Google too.

We have to choose looking independence vs productivity

I suggest someone does a clear proposal about this (in this discussion). Something like “Use mailman or other self-maintained mailing lists instead of Google groups”. I’ll vote no so I won’t be proposing it either :wink:

The problem really is hosting the stuff. Google gives it for free to us. Let us say we host our self-controlled mailing lists on someones own server. What if that person leaves the community? Kind of messy. Google takes out this problem. And all the posts are public anyway so Google will index them wherever they are hosted. But of course we can vote :slight_smile:

Personally, I have no problem with the mailing lists being hosted on Google, since I am assuming they already know anything about what I (or anybody else) do on the Internet, regardless of whether I give it to them or if they have to crawl for it.
Since [insert what Jason said], it’s just more convenient to use Google.

There’s one thing that annoys me big time. Namely, as far as I have tried, you are unable to subscribe to a mailing list on Google Groups if you don’t have a Google account. Since I am running my own mail server, I cannot participate in any mailing list that is hosted on Google. This is a big drawback if you ask me.

Or there IS a way to join a mailing list with a non - Google email address?

unless they changed something, it should be possible, like any old mailing list:

You can subscribe to the mailing list using the method Florian provides (although it’s a bit hit-and-miss, took several attempts before I was subscribed). I don’t see a way of unsubscribing from the mailing list, however.

Personally I’d much rather drop mailing lists completely in favour of some sort of forum which anyone can join, so that we choose when to see what has been posted. I need to be subscribed to the mailing lists in order to keep informed of anything important, but it is annoying (to me) to keep receiving emails concerning things which I have nothing to do with and which are not of interest or importance to me.

So my vote would be: ditch Google groups and set up a forum instead. There was a good one,, but the person who ran that (Ryan Kohles) seems to have been one of the casualties of all the turmoil in D* since the end of last year - he closed the forum and isn’t replying to messages. But a similar forum on the diaspora-project site would be perfect. Keep everything in-house where possible is best, so we don’t have to sign up with unconnected organisations in order to keep in touch with and discuss D*.

Yeah, forums would be great. I have tons of spare web space at my hosting account, so I am willing to donate whichever portion of it to Diaspora forums. Also, I have a spare Linode box where I can host mailing lists if we choose that route.

no, no, no, no, no… :stuck_out_tongue:
forum has been discussed, and ‘we’ don’t want one. it would be another login somewhere that needs to be handled and once they reach a certain size, it just gets messy. Also we’d need people for moderating topics and keep up the regular discussion, nothing worse than a foum where you can hear the crickets chirp. If a mailing list is idle, nobody cares.
Also, all those “features” you get with a forum are really high-degree unnecessary for a normal conversation. I really don’t want formatting, avatars or attachments, and if you need threaded display for messages, all the email programs are capable of that.
I also really like the “push” nature of email, as opposed to the “pull” variant of a forum (except when you subscribe to everything that happens in the forum via email, but what’s the forum for, then?) I also have email everywhere - on my phone or behind the nasty proxy at work, and I really like when I can respond without a flashy html website or even without the need for a separate app for my phone.
Sure, it’s a higher entry barrier for newcomers, but in software-related communities mailing lists are very common and new users might as well get used to that. Also, since our webinterface is google groups, we get the excellent google serach for all the messages - and those people who would post-without-searching are always there, regardless of whether you have a forum or a mailing list.

We could install something lightweight, such as PunBB. You don’t have private messaging, you don’t have polls (though we could use that, there’s a plugin anyway), you don’t have avatars, just plan simple forum. As for the login, you need to login here on Loomio either, so that’s not really an issue.

A strong no from me as well for eliminating mailing lists in favour of a forum. We already have a forum type of area - here on Loomio. A forum for users to talk is different of course and anyone can set one up as they see fit - but officially I wouldn’t want one.

I like as a google groups replacement as they have nice web interface for archives (this is something I really miss in mailman, spoiled by gmail’s conversations feature) and allows posting from web interface etc. But they became a paid service, but it is Free Software, so we could setup in our own server, if we go that route. I would also like us not to rely on google (they already know so much about me). Also ‘no’ to forum replacing a mailing list.

Just out of interest, what is the argument that Google knows already enough concerning these mailing lists since they are (and need to be) public so all the posts will be public and indexed by Google? :slight_smile:

I understand people do not trust Google with their data - but in this case it’s not your or anyones data - these messages are public messages and frankly the higher Google ranks the messages from the lists the better for Diaspora* :slight_smile:

@Jason You are totally right, but there’s a small problem: I cannot use the mailing lists that are hosted on Google without a Google account. I have an ordinary email address and my own email server, and they changed their Groups so that they can be used only with a Google account and Google - associated email address, either Gmail or Google Apps email.

That’s kind of limiting in many ways, and I am sure there are a lot of people with ordinary, non - Google email addresses who would like to participate. That’s why I am for a lightweight forum, you can view and participate the messages regardless of what email you’re using.

@Petar is that really so? I’m doing a little test, I created an account and subscribed by sending an email to: (according to these instructions:

Unfortunately it seems that new member first email is moderated for this list at least - can we remove this or is spam really a big problem? It seems only the original founders of Diaspora inc are owners, so at least the ownership base should be increased.

Anyway, once Maxwell approves the email we will see if it comes through and then I will test the unsubscribe.

If this works we could add these instructions to the wiki for non-Google account users and hopefully that would make things a bit better?

I’ve mod rights to the lists and yes, spam is really such a big problem.