Post by email?

I don't suppose there is a way to allow "post via email" for replies back to a discussion is there?



  • Most pages in Elgg have an RSS view.  You can subscribe to that...check for the orange in the URL or the "Subscribe to feed" link on the left.

  • Thanks for your note, Brett. Yes, I did notice that. But does subscribing via RSS allow any way to post messages other than via the web?

    Having the ability to participate via the web interface, or via email (like a two-way mailing list) is useful for people who are email-centric.

    It's also helpful for people in parts of the world still without high-bandwidth, who would like an alternative way of participating in discussions.

    I realize that very few php-based community/social-networking systems have the ability to *receive* email though. Sending email is one thing. But to receive email you practically need to build an SMTP server feature as part of the system. Or set up external mailboxes for each discussion and check them using POP3 from time to time.

    I don't suppose anything along these lines have been developed, has it?



    p.s. By the by, Elgg looks magnificent. I just recently set up my own little server and appreciate the work that has gone into it.

  • Doug, maybe one of the mail list programs, like mailman could be bridged for Elgg?  Just a thought.

  • @Doug..

    When you send your reply... where do you want that reply to go to? The discussion owner's email (or messages system), or, to the discussion itself? (note that if the reply is posted on the discussion, the owner will e notified anyway (in the normal scenario)).

    I guess building up the elements to have that feature implemented is not impossible, but the issue of access permissions and login are the things that need to be dealt with. Probably the initial discussion notification email can be designed to contain a reply form embeded inside the original email, but the trick is to carry the receiver's [guid] through into the email and then shooting it back to the web for login and access to posting is what would make this complicated.

    'Don't quote me on this because I never attempted it before and I could be wrong'. 

  • In my scenario the post-by-email would be posted as a comment to the discussion.

    The groups themselves would each have their own email addresses. So messages sent to the group would be filed in correct discussion or, if none existed, create a new discussion.

    It is true that access permissions are always an issue with any email list because there are no passwords. The authentication would depend on just the sender's email address and assume there were only unique email addresses among the members. Email lists are inherently less secure in that regard.

    Yet, I've been using another system like that for about 10 years now with great success. A lot of the members prefer to participate just via email for convenience. 

    And they can always come to site for fuller participation. Plus all the messages are archived in group discussions for searching. So there are benefits.



  • I don't know, Doug, the fun of Elgg is actually being on the site.  So, if what you need is a mailman kind of list, maybe it shouldn't be for your Elgg site.  Just my opinion.

  • You can also change your notification settings by going to but no, this won't give 2 way email services.  You're quite right about the complexities of using email as "incoming."  Off hand, I see no reliably secure and easy way to do this.

    Bridging mailman might be something worthwhile, but the only way I can imagine it'd be secure is if each email had a token (or maybe secret email address?) for the user trying to post.  It's definitely nothing I'd care to tackle right now ;)

  • Another thing people often like doing is posting a photo to their blog from a cell phone by email. That's convenient when out and about.

    But anyway, I see that is not possible at the present time with Elgg so - question answered!




  • Another thing that might be added is the spam threat. Since we will be using an email client, or even a web based email interface, spammers can shoot off thousands of messages to that address. And if the site is popular, I can guarantee you they will do that easily since no proper authentication is in place. Then you wake up in the morning, you login as admin and you have to start deleting users (spammers), who in any case could be registered with someone else's email address to start with.

    But look, there might be a way to provide your clients with the convenience or responding via email, however, there is some manual work involved and also it allows your group discussion owner to throw out the spam. This is if you have the email shoots back to the actual email address of the group owner who then publish the reply.. Having said that, you need to be mindful of whether the group owner's email address privacy setting as it will show in the sender's email client..

    But in all cases I think to implement the whole concept would be like putting out the fire in the sun.. It would very complex. 

  • >And if the site is popular, I can guarantee you they will do that easily since no proper authentication is in place.

    Well, as I mentioned in my previous post, I've been using a server that supports this functionality for about 10 years now and the spamming issue hasn't risen to an alarming level. Even here at this site I've received multiple "dear doug, we should start a relationship" spam messages sent via the member-to-member contact feature. Being reasonably watchful goes with the territory when running a community or social networking site.

    One critical thing, of course, is to never show the members' actual email addresses. A message would arrive from an email address and matched with the unique email address of a member. Then authentication to the mail is granted if that user has post access to that location.

    It has worked well for years like this on the other systems I use. And there are many well-know services which support this kind of posting without excessive spam concerns. Take Yahoo Groups for example. It's very convenient that you can reply to a group message by email.

    Also throttles can be installed to prevent someone from sending thousands of messages in.