[tor-project] mailman 3 (Was: Discourse? (was: Disabling Comments on Most Blog Postings (was: Re: Have "anything goes" blog post?)))

Antoine Beaupré anarcat at torproject.org
Wed Jun 24 13:19:30 UTC 2020

On 2020-06-24 11:17:03, Kushal Das wrote:
> On 24/06/20, George Kadianakis wrote:
>> The [tor-relays] mailing list might have been a cool support forum 15
>> years ago but I think nowdays people would prefer a more modern
>> interface to getting support and love. Staying frozen in old-sk00l
>> mediums like IRC and mailing lists severely limits the parts of our
>> community who is not used to such ancient technology (and that part will
>> only keep growing as time move forwards as it usually does).
> Discourse will be a great add as the support platform, but we should
> make sure to keep the mailing lists alive for the real disucssion. As
> many of the Python folks already found the similar issue in the
> discuss.python.org. While it has a much newer interface, but may not be
> that great of an interface while tracking any large discussion. 

Just to be real clear here: I did not think of replacing mailing lists
at all when I mentioned discourse. I only thought of forums already
established on the web, namely the blog, GitLab, and RT, to a lesser
extent. At least "support stuff", for which I don't immediately think of
mailing lists.

But you (George) are right: Discourse could attempt to replace mailing
lists, or at least some. I would be very careful about this, however. As
Kushal mentioned, some groups have tried this and have only been
moderately successful. In Debian, in particular, there was a significant
backlash from mailing lists users frustrated by the sub-optimal email
workflow provided by Discourse. It's not just a maillig list drop-in

That said.

> Also, is there any plan to move to Mailman3 for our mailing lists? It
> has a much nicer web interface and other useful updates.

Not that I am aware of, but we *will* have to make that jump eventually,
probably when Debian releases "bullseye", the next stable
release. Mailman 2 runs on Python 2 and is technically already EOL,
although I suspect that Debian, along with basically all other Linux
distributions, will be stuck maintaining Python 2 and Mailman 2 for
security updates for one last cycle.

But after that, yes, we'd have to migrate to Mailman 3. And yes, the
interface is much, much better. I would also argue the (technical and
graphic) design is simpler and better, although there are some
functionality (like "invite") still missing. It's not a trivial upgrade
but a migration, if I remember correctly:


But yes, that will need to happen eventually. I wouldn't hold my breath,
however, and wait until we get Mailman 3 to address the moderation
problems. Fundamentally, it is still the same moderation system as a
mailing list in that (for example) there's one or few moderator per
list, and Discourse is a radical (and interesting, IMHO) shift from
that, in many other ways.

Antoine Beaupré
torproject.org system administration

More information about the tor-project mailing list