Update: replacing testpilot-dev with Discourse

Hi all,

Test Pilot dev discussion is moving to a new Discourse-backed mailing list
located at https://discourse.mozilla-community.org/c/test-pilot/development.

Discourse can be used like a regular Mailman list: after signing up, go to
Preferences and check the ‘mailing list mode’ checkbox. The list address is

You can also read or post to Discourse from its friendly web-based UI.

Why are we doing this?

  • Consumer-friendly Test Pilot discussion happens on Discourse, so using it
    for dev discussions lowers the bar to contributing.
  • Discourse archives are searchable and have a nice UI; Mailman archives
    are plain text, organized by month, and don’t provide search.
  • Mailman sends out passwords in plaintext; Discourse doesn’t.

Comments or questions welcome.



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While I’m all for openness, I confess that I’m not a fan of the idea. I
realize my case is not the typical scenario, but I like to keep things
separated, that includes using a specific email address for mailing
lists (where possible).

I’ve already had to switch my email address on Discourse to access NDA
content, now this move is basically going to force me to access a
mailing list on a email address that I don’t want to use for this kind
of things.

The alternative is to have a second account created on Discourse just to
use this mailing list, which is all but convenient.
This is also a test to see what happens replying with a user that is not
known to Discourse.


I’m not sure of your specific needs or use-case, but I went through a similar challenge in another project when moving from multiple mailing lists to a single Discourse site (multiple categories).

For me, my needs were to separate content out by each list, so it wasn’t all in one place and I could keep it separated for ease of reading. Fortunately, I was able to hack a fix to this by having my client use the List-Id e-mail header (which is based on the Discourse category name) to sort emails from Discourse into different folders.

Not sure if that will work for you (or maybe for others) but thought I’d offer it up as a suggestion. :slight_smile:

(Also, given what I know about Discourse generally, it made me wonder if you need to keep your e-mail address changed over if you’ve been already been added into the necessary groups by virtue of having logged in with that specific address. It might be worth asking the experts on that one.)

The good thing is that you can reply with an email address unknown to Discourse, and it will keep sending the replies there (just received your message). Confusing, but useful.

As far as I can tell, the “mailing list” flag in Preferences is a “all or nothing solution”: you need to enable it and select to get notifications for a specific category.

As far as I can tell, the only solution to my problem is to register an account just for the “mailing lists” I’m interested in, and with email address I want to use.

I haven’t messed around with my settings for a while, but I think they are two separate approaches:

  1. “Mailing list mode” in https://discourse.mozilla-community.org/my/preferences will opt you in to get an email from every post in every category throughout the site, unless you specifically “Mute” a category or topic. This could cause much more email than you want to receive.

  2. Categories: Watched” on the same page allows you to manually specify multiple categories where you want to get email notifications for every post in that category. (There’s also a “Watching First Post” option if you only want to see the first message in a thread.)

AFAICT, the notifications will still come “From” a single common address although the sender name will be the author of the individual post. The “Reply-to” address for each notification will be unique so the system knows where to post your reply. Either way, each email notification message should still be flagged with a List-Id header that will show the unique category/subcategory name for rules, filtering, etc.

Hope this is helpful as you think of the best approach for you …

Thanks for clarifying, Michael.

Looks like my original advice was incorrect: users of the old mailing list don’t want “mailing list mode”, they just want to “watch” the Test Pilot Development category in the “Categories: Watched” preferences section.

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Yeah, just tested & confirmed that “mailing list mode” will in fact get you notifications about all new posts (in all categories) that you haven’t otherwise muted. (Some people might want this I guess!)

Hi Francesco,

I dug into the Discourse docs a bit, and chatted with one of the admins.
Here’s what I’ve uncovered:

New users can’t start new email threads, or reply to individuals on a
thread[1]. To progress past the ‘new user’ state, you must log into the
site, view 5 threads, and wait 24 hours. (I’ve filed a bug[2] to remove
or relax the new user restrictions, and another[3] to ask the admins to
document these requirements.)

About email addresses: the main address is only used to start new threads;
replies should use the unique reply-to message.

I’m going to add these facts to the development category sticky post[4].

Note that your new email address (associated with a ‘_flod’ account) has
been bumped to a higher trust level; the admins in #communityIT can do this
on request. In other words, both your email addresses should now be working

Other fun details:

Because you emailed the list from an unknown address, Discourse
auto-created an account with the username _flod. You can change the
username by logging into the Discourse website with that same email address.

New users are rate limited[5] by default. This may also explain why some of
your messages seem to have disappeared.

Apparently Discourse should send some kind of reply email if an email is
blocked; that’s a bug that is being investigated now.



[1] https://meta.discourse.org/t/what-do-user-trust-levels-do/4924/3
[2] https://bugzil.la/1321905
[3] https://bugzil.la/1321890
[5] https://meta.discourse.org/t/description-of-various-user-

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