[clug] Re: Using a forum system for CLUG

Daniel Pittman daniel at rimspace.net
Sun May 3 00:47:03 GMT 2009

Ben Coughlan <ben.coughlan at anu.edu.au> writes:

G'day Ben.

For the audience, most of the isn't specific to CLUG, but rather to
finding out how to make phpBB less (personally) annoying to interact
with on a technical level.

> On 02/05/2009, at 5:42 PM, Daniel Pittman wrote:
>> David Schoen <neerolyte at gmail.com> writes:


>>>> Finally, you also have the lesser technical problem that using a web
>>>> based forum is going to drive away technically skilled people because
>>>> it increases the cost of dealing with CLUG.
>> [...]
>>>> When I am faced with a web forum I am stuck: unlike a mailing list,
>>>> where I am handed the data and allowed to deal with it however I please,
>>>> a we forum requires me to use the web interface to that information.
>> [...]
>>>> I am also forced to use the web system to respond: I can't, easily,
>>>> use Emacs to edit my response, cross-refrence with my notes on
>>>> various topics, edit the message I am composing or otherwise
>>>> integrate it outside the web browser.
>>> I'll admit I've never seen anything that would solve this (at least
>>> not out of the box).
>> Neither have I, or y'all would be sick of my advocating it every time
>> the vaguest mention of a forum showed up anywhere in the universe. ;)


Anyway, addressing this at the technical level, which is what you
responded to, and scratching a personal itch:

> I would be quite happy to see a forum style message board, I find the
> mailing list idea a bit archaic.  My personal favorite is phpBB.  It's
> very easy to setup, administer and customize, and addresses most of
> the issues you've been discussing.

Excellent.  We found an expert, which is great.  So, since I have, over
the few years, had a few people talk about this I would *love* to know
how to solve a few technical issues.

The biggest one is: how do I configure or extend phpBB so that it can be
interacted with using nothing but a standard email client?

I am concerned, specifically, with being able to *fully* participate in
discussions[1] — to get every single bit of discussion there, and to be
able to respond ... from a stock-standard email client.[2]

Having to use the web interface to create an account or to subscribe to
a part of the system by email isn't a big deal, so long as that is a
one-shot activity that I never have to repeat.[3]

That is the single biggest technical issue that I, personally, have with
phpBB or equivalent forums.  If you can tell me how to solve that I will
be enormously grateful to you.


[1]  Since each separate topic[4] is similar to a separate list, ideally
     selectable on a per-topic basis.

[2]  Specifically in my case, Gnus under Emacs, but also including Mutt,
     Alpine, Thunderbird and (spit) Outlook / Outlook Express.[5]

[3]  If the configuration changes I am happy to have to engague the web
     interface again, but it should be like a mailing list: subscribe,
     then just deal with the email.

[4]  I /think/ this is the term, and am too lazy to google it right now.

[5]  Not my personal preference, but given some of the users of the
     phpBB deployments I have supported, someone would ask.

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