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What is this?

This discussion is related to the ReplyByEmail addon.
x00x00 MVP
edited December 2014 in General Banter

I know a non-descriptive title...well the description is on the plugin page.

"Community replies by email" is the tagline

So, I created a service which enables an owner of forum to provide email replies simply for their users, without having complicated set-ups or infrastructure requirements, such as mail receiving technology. So you can keep you users more engaged when they are busy.

This plugin allows the emails sent out under your users notification preferences, when replied to, passing through replyPUSH service, and are send back to the community and the plugin processes the replies.

Being a "push" based system means your server doesn’t have fetch messages from us, or require resource to do that. It simply has to wait message to be received like a normal post, and that is what what plugin does.

This is not list serv / mailing list software. It doesn’t pretend to be be. Although he technology available could be used to emulate a list serv, I didn't want the plugin to make Vanilla like a list serv, or make some some sort of hybrid forum / listserv.


  1. Replies to Discussions, Comments, Conversations, Wall Post. ActivityComment replies is pending on Vanilla core providing notifications for that.
  2. By default it groups email notification pertaining to Discussions regardless of type of notification under one Subject, and uses special references to encourage "conversation view" in email clients. It does the same for Conversations.
  3. The reply can be in text or simple html (your default formatter has to be able to process html), it will also process any markup such as markdown, bbcode is the default formatter is such.
  4. Email templates are provided, and there sig which explain to your users how to reply, namely putting their reply on the top of any quoted message and ending with "/eom" on a new line (without the quotation marks)

I worked hard to ensure that it is as seamless as possible, and there is security linking the account, authenticity and ensuring the roles an permissions of your community are respected, for that user and context.

It is still early days however, and I can't guarantee an unbroken service.

grep is your friend.



  • Check out the whimsical demo on the front page of the website. I know it is terrible ;)

    grep is your friend.

  • AnonymooseAnonymoose ✭✭
    edited December 2014


  • BleistivtBleistivt Moderator
    edited December 2014

    Really interested to see how this turns out.

    regarding the website:
    http://beta.replypush.com/terms/ redirect error
    http://beta.replypush.com/documentation/description-of-service/ 2nd footnote should be "Locator" I guess

  • @Bleistivt said:
    Really interested to see how this turns out.


    I made those corrections. I'm dizzy just writing terms. Had it up to my ears in terms.

    grep is your friend.

  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    This is revolutionary ! People have been asking for this capability for years. I glad we now have that.
    I do wonder if it may reduce traffic to the site by skipping the site to answer or if their answer can count as a visit ?

  • x00x00 MVP
    edited December 2014

    @vrijvlinder said:
    This is revolutionary ! People have been asking for this capability for years. I glad we now have that.
    I do wonder if it may reduce traffic to the site by skipping the site to answer or if their answer can count as a visit ?

    What do you mean reduce traffic? Either they can reply or they can't. It depends what your objective is. If you mean SEO, traffic, that is less relevant for regulars as far as bounce rate is conserned becuase, you regulars aren't arriving from searches anyway.

    It still generates user content which can be good for SEO.

    grep is your friend.

  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    What do you mean reduce traffic?

    lessen their interest in participating in real time on a site. As opposed to posting remotely and not visiting the site.

    If you mean SEO, traffic

    I did not think about seo, just interest in participating online in real time.

    It is a great convenience to have, like email was vs real mail but destroyed the printed card industry and people just don't write real letters anymore.

    Or the cell phone. Great until text messaging replaced real time talking.

  • x00x00 MVP
    edited December 2014

    I think this is supplementary, really, becuase there are still reasons to go back.

    People have used mailing list for years, people still visit forums.

    Email replies are more about quick and convenient, it doesn't replace the community centre itself.

    grep is your friend.

  • I think the very same people that visit may use this at times when they can't visit, and want to offer a quick reply.

    grep is your friend.

  • Also people who rarely visit, to keep them engaged.

    grep is your friend.

  • hgtonighthgtonight ∞ · New Moderator

    I just want to say that this looks amazing! :)

    The only thing I would prefer is not requiring users to add /eom after their message.

    I suppose you could set up your email story definitions to start with the /eom string. I don't know if that is configurable, but you could then use something that is hidden by default, like <div id="replyPushMarker"> </div> as the demarcation symbol. I suppose this would require an extra setup step on the forum side, but I think it would be worth it from a UX if you could use an invisible marker that doesn't require user interaction other than reply and send.

    Is this a terrible idea?

    Search first

    Check out the Documentation! We are always looking for new content and pull requests.

    Click on insightful, awesome, and funny reactions to thank community volunteers for their valuable posts.

  • The problem is, there is already a marker, but it gets trapped within quoted message which has extra markup.

    If I was able to detect the quote format perfectly I could do away with it. But I can't know how every email client chooses to do it.

    I could do a comparison like a diff, but email client do a fair amount of their own reformatting of the messages you receive, so this is not reliable.

    It is something I want to work on, I can't rely purely on methods of detecting specific markup.

    This detection has to be efficient. The email message specs are tricky to work with especially as html is an afterthought. One method would be to work backward find the end. This assumes that the email client puts all of the quoted message within a single block (it doesn't), and it doesn’t have malformed markup.

    The reality is it can annotate the quoted message in a number of ways with markup or text.

    I can't force the email client to behave in a certain way, and there is no standard for communicating to an email client how to behave.

    I think it may possible through advance analytical methods, which has a level of understanding of the layout an textual content, which is beyond raw markup, it still has to be efficient.

    grep is your friend.

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