Wikimedia Developer Support

Mirroring mediawiki-l, wikitech-l and other tech mailing lists


How does suppression work? That used to be a major paint point with mailman.
How do you stop spambots from harvesting the email addresses? (I guess “not at all” is a valid answer there as mailman pretty much does that.)

Other than that, a read-only archive seems like a no-brainer. We could even have a separate Discourse instance for archiving all mailing lists. There are external tools for mailing list search and threading (,, etc), but they are not great, tend to disappear over time, and we have no control over them. An archive where you could claim your email address and a profile would be pretty cool in itself (even if currently you need a separate account for each email address, annoyingly). And then stuff like Onebox would probably do more good than harm, on net. (Now if only Phabricator or MediaWiki actually supported Onebox!)

Some people were hoping Mailman 3 would fix the archives though (T130554), it has a lot of the obvious features like search or threading, and even some social stuff like message up/downvoting. Not sure where that effort is at.


Suppression of email addresses is a good question. I would say that the email address of the sender is not shown anywhere, because Discourse doesn’t show users email addresses anywhere. I expect the name to be shown, and if no name is found in the email headers then I guess only the first part of the email address (what comes before @).

If the content of an email happens to feature an email address i.e. in the beginning of a quote, then that email address will stay visible.

Let’s try. I don see why we would need to create a new instance only to archive mailing lists. They are more valuable here, muted but nurturing search results and being one click away for those who want to enable their notification.


By suppression I mean if someone posts personal data or whatever, it’s not too read-only to prevent deleting that post, right? List admins had to remove mails from the archive a few times. (An when you do that, all the permalinks to all the non-removed emails change as well! Fun. That’s why most of the wiki links to really old emails point to a completely unrelated email.)


Re: new instance, as long as you only do it for tech lists, it’s useful here. An archive for wikimedia-l etc. would also be valuable but that doesn’t fit the scope of this site at all. But that was just an aside.


Of course, here we would mirror technical lists only.

Alright: #mailing-list-simulator:mediawiki-l

Let’s wait and see what happens when the next email is distributed to the list.

The entire category is set to read only. I wonder whether staff can edit messages. They can delete them for sure. Also, a collateral benefit, users seeing an email address or private data or even some kind of abuse can use the regular report tool. We will not be able to avoid that the emails are distributed, but I bet editing / removing bad content should be fairly simple for moderators from the regular web interface.


I have a working reply button on mediawiki-l topics which is a bit confusing. Is that because I am an admin or does everyone get them? Can we disable them for admins?

I don’t like how the mediawiki-l messages show up in the global views (categories/latest/top, suggestions at the bottom of a topic), even though I can’t really do anything about them there. Is there a way to hide them? If not, I would reconsider doing the list mirroring in a separate Discourse site to avoid crowding out real questions (unless the goal is to move to full read & write mailing list integration eventually).


Do wikitech-l emails count towards your trust level if you wrote them before registering? That would be pretty cool.


I can also edit mailing list messages. I guess if this became a somewhat mainstream way of reading them, that could be a good thing (fixing formatting, adding links etc).


There is a “Suppress category from latest topics” option. Any objection to enabling that?


Lazily replying to @Tgr’s questions without quoting:

Only admins see that Reply button and I think it is by design that admins can bypass the category policy (the rest of users can only see topics, not create new ones or reply to existing ones).

The #mailing-list-simulator:mediawiki-l category was silenced when it was created, and users who registered after its creation have it silenced by default. This means that by default they don’t see its topics in latest, top, suggestions… I think the right configuration is to silence these mailing list mirror categories for everyone, retroactively as well. This will hide these posts in general listings by default, but if a user wants to follow any of these categories, then those topics will appear in their suggestions etc.

“Suppress category from latest topics” removes those topics for everyone, even those watching those categories.

In my opinion full read & write mailing list integration is a good goal indeed. :slight_smile:

I believe that emails sent to mailing lists mirrored here will count just like normal topics / posts for users registered here with the same email address, yes. Also retroactively. Cool indeed, especially if you think that we could import the entire archive of a mailing list.

split this topic #15

2 posts were split to a new topic: Merge Discourse users with different email addresses


Am I correct in seeing the #mailing-list-simulator category is open for anyone to reply to? Or is it just admins who can? Replying here doesn’t actually go to the list does it?


#mailing-list-simulator is open for everyone and in fact we welcome testers.

#mailing-list-mirrors:mediawiki-l is read only, although admins and moderators still have the technical possibility to reply or edit, just because these roles can do so everywhere.

I have reorganized the categories to make this distinction clear.


That makes sense. Thanks!

split this topic #20

4 posts were split to a new topic: Mailing list mirrored message misses content misinterpreted as a signature


@qgil How hard is it to try importing mailing list archives? That might help highlight shortcomings with the system used to identify message boundaries.


Importing a mailing list doesn’t seem to be very complex. Also, importing several lists doesn’t seem to be much more work than importing one.

Still, the process may take long and during the import Discourse must be stopped. And it may take quite a bit of extra space and resources. In other words, I would try this in a separate clean Discourse instance.

split this topic #25

6 posts were split to a new topic: Problems with email forwarded to a mirrored mailing list


I don’t understand why lists only #mailing-list-mirrors:discourse posts, not #mailing-list-mirrors:mediawiki-l posts.

In everything looks right. It’s only Latest.


Doh, never mind. I had muted MediaWiki-l in my user preferences.