How do I use Discourse via email?

Discourse can be used exclusively via email, much like a Mailman mailing list. Here's how:

Receive emails when active on the site

Head to the email section of your preferences, and set the settings like so:

“Mailing list mode” is a red herring, and will email you for every new post across the entirety of our Discourse instance, so don’t enable it, unless you want that of course!

Mark posts as read when you’re emailed about them

Head to the email section of your preferences, and enable the preference:

Mark posts as read when I'm emailed about them

Now, whenever you’re emailed about a post, Discourse will mark the post as read on the website, ensuring your notifications don’t get cluttered up.

Create topics via email

To create a new topic in a category via email, navigate to that category, and click the envelope button:

This will open your email client, with the “To:” field pre-populated with the category’s email-in address. Make sure you send from one of your account’s email addresses, otherwise the email could get rejected or could get caught in moderation.

Forward emails to Discourse

If you forward an email to Discourse, it will create a new topic out of your email, and attempt to work out which part of your email is forwarded and format it as a quote. This doesn’t always work out perfectly, so please check to see how the post appears on the web interface and edit it if necessary.

Email addresses in the forwarded email header won’t be stripped out, so please remove these yourself before forwarding the email to Discourse if you’re posting to a public category.

Reply to topics via email

Simply reply to the notification email you receive in your email client!

Carry out post actions

You can carry out some actions on posts by replying with a command. Supported operations are:

  • +1 or like: likes the post
  • watch: watches the topic
  • track: tracks the topic
  • mute: mutes the topic

Filter emails

Discourse sets the List-ID header on outgoing emails based on the category a post was created in. It takes the form: <sub-slug>.<slug>.discourse.mozilla-community.org.

For example, emails from this category, #meta:help, will have a List-ID of help.meta.discourse.mozilla-community.org.

Filtering by List-ID varies from client to client. In Gmail simply click “Filter messages from this mailing list”:

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