Can we mirror, or move, all newsgroups and mailing lists into Discourse?

I’ve been poking around what Discourse can do, and it appears there is a plugin that will mirror newsgroups: The last commit is a bit old, but maybe it just doesn’t need anything new?

It looks like you can easily import mailing list archives if they are in mbox format.

It looks like there has been some discussion here on about replacing mailing lists with Discourse. Use Discourse as a replacement for mailing lists


Consolidation of content. With all the various discussions around Thunderbird happening in multiple locations, it’s hard to get a good feel for what is actually going on. Mirroring the newsgroups and mailing lists onto Discourse fixes that. It will be especially helpful for anyone who starts looking for help on Discourse first. They will be able to search all the archives at once, instead of having to find the Google Groups mirror (if it exists) to search. (Or download all the messages from the list…)

Beyond that, I would also encourage moving away from mailman and entirely onto Discourse. Discourse can emulate the essential features of mailman that fans of mailmain like (at least I think, I am not a mailman fan…), while also offering a much friendlier entrance for new users.

Migrating would also avoid having to figure out how to enable two way mirroring between systems. We’d just have to figure out how to import all the archives.

Anyway, what does everyone else think?

I wonder why they haven’t made much progress? At least, based on what I see in Use Discourse as a replacement for mailing lists

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I agree with this statement.

To be honest, I’ve only just discovered ‘discourse’ exists due to receiving an email from a tb-support-crew mailing list on this topic.

I would much prefer to read through the content on Discourse. I’m not sure, however, how popular this move would be. Ironically, this might be a good tb-planning discussion. One problem I see is that mailing lists are much more passive streams than Discourse. You have to be involved with a conversation to see updates, or you have to subscribe to summaries (vs getting everything, of course you can change those settings on a mailing list too).

Another point in favor of mailing lists and newsgroups is that a major part of Thunderbird is about reading and subscribing to them. So having the developers use them helps make sure they don’t get left behind.

That’s part of why I really like the idea of a two way mirror.

I think given that the subscriber base for tb-planning is also used to define the community for voting purposes, I think you might be looking at some significant governance issues as well as just discourse.

I thought I saw something about emailing someone proof you’ve contributed 20hrs if you wanted to vote.

For reference, MDN actually migrated all the way onto Discourse: Use Discourse as a replacement for mailing lists

I’ll also volunteer here to help out any way I can with implementing a move/mirror. I’d love to set up a proof of concept two way mirror. And if it’s needed, I’d be happy helping administer any needed Linux servers.

Are all Thunderbird lists running on mailman? What’s the difference between a news group and a list? Are there any specific settings I’d need to make sure to copy if I set up my own mailman list/newsgroup to test with?

The lists in the main are already mirror on NNTP new groups and or google groups. the relationship is a little vague really as Mozilla shut down their news server so I am not sure what happened with the mirrors after that.

Mozilla shut down their server?

I’m subscribed to 19 newsgroups there and receive posts everyday on most of them.

I would rather they not be moved into Discourse. That would be one less reason to use Thunderbird.

A newsgroup is an online bulletin board, that works similar to email. You compose a message and format it the same as email, except instead of using the To header, the newsgroup header is used. Messages are kept on the server, and each subscriber can only post new messages, not delete old messages from the server. Messages are transferred over NNTP, instead of IMAP or POP.

Newsgroups predate the world wide web. in 2001, Google bought an archive of usenet newsgroups, which became Google Groups, and has sense been used as a searchable web archive of newsgroups.
There are some great old posts, like this one in 1983 talking about the upcoming film “Return of the Jedi

To subscribe to a newsgroup in Thunderbird, check on the instructions at

The Mozilla forums are an amalgamation of a mailing list, newsgroup, and google group. Every message sent to the mailing list (hosted by Mozilla) is fed to the newsgroup (hosted by Giganews). Every message posted to the newsgroup is sent to the mailing list, and fed (along with messages from the mailing list) to the Google Group (hosted by Google). Every message posted to the Google Group is fed to the newsgroup, which then sends it to the mailing list. Using this method, people can subscribe and post messages via whichever of the three access-points they prefer, and still get the benefit of community members from other access points. Basically, instead of being three separate forums, it appears as one. (hosted by Giganews, not Mozilla) has not been shut down.

As a matter of fact, most of the forums at still have newsgroup links.

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That is actually really interesting. It sounds like there is a desire in the Mozilla community to make multi-way syncing of different communication channels work.

That said, when I did a search for ‘firefox’ here it returned zero results.

Another search for ‘linda’ on that page also returned 0 results.

Searching ‘ linda’ on Google itself returned the topic I saw when I went to the Google Group directly, as the 6th result.

I’m guessing I either have to be subscribed to the groups already, or Google Groups doesn’t support the “groupname:mozilla” feature anymore.

I do think there’s value in mirroring things into Discourse for the searchability. How many user questions might be answered as they type because Discourse was able to search all the old archives?

Even better would be if we could get to search everything as well. Unless it does already? The few searches I just made didn’t seem to pull results from anywhere but

Edit: Ah, search each individual Google Group does work. But I’m really after being able to search everything from one place. :slight_smile: