TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

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TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

adamengst
Administrator
Hi folks,

I haven’t set a firm date, but my goal is to shut this TidBITS Talk Mailman list off within a week or so. Because of the necessary DNS transitions that direct tidbits.com traffic to our new site, the Mailman software is starting to break. I noted already that I can no longer moderate posts through from people who haven’t posted before, and I just discovered that I can’t unsubscribe people either. Much of the admin interface is broken, and I don’t have time to waste trying to fix it when it’s all going away soon.

You can see TidBITS Talk on Discourse now at https://talk.tidbits.com/c/tidbits-talk Please feel free to start using it in advance of this list being shut off!

What does this mean for you? In short, once TidBITS Talk exists only on Discourse, you can continue to read TidBITS Talk discussions on the Web, but if you want to receive them via email, and be able to respond via email, you must have a TidBITS account on our main site (Discourse uses single-sign-on with WordPress on our main site). Many of you undoubtedly have accounts and have received the welcome message I sent last week, but if not, you’ll need to create a new account. 

Start by going to https://tidbits.com/wp/wp-login.php?action=lostpassword and entering your email address. If it says “There is no user registered with that email address.” you’ll need to create a new account, which you do by clicking the Register link under the login dialog. It should be self-explanatory — it’s similar to all other Internet account creation processes, where you’ll give it a username and your email address, and it will email you a confirmation link that you’ll need to click to verify the account.

If you do have an email address that’s already in our system, the welcome message I sent last week has the full instructions for resetting your password. (You must reset your password; they’re encrypted such that they can’t be moved over from the old system.) In essence, you enter your email address, it emails you a link to reset your password, you click that link, it suggests a password or lets you create your own, and once the password is reset, you can log in.

As far as Discourse goes, it’s primarily a Web-based discussion system, but it allows you to use in mailing list mode, where you receive all posts via email and can also post new ones or reply to existing ones via email. Honestly, the Web interface is brilliant, particularly for replying to particular bits of previous messages, inserting links, and adding graphics. I particularly like the quoting — you just select the relevant line or two in the previous message, and click the Quote button that appears above the selection. You can use Markdown or HTML to style your message, and you can add screenshots and other graphics just by dragging them into the editor.

I suspect the main problem people here will have with Discourse is the notification options, which I’ve written about in a post on Discourse. 


I believe the main solution to those problems for those who just want to deal with TidBITS Talk in email will be “mailing list mode,” which you enable by clicking your avatar in the upper right corner, then the gear button to get to Preferences, then the Emails link in the sidebar, and then the “Enable mailing list mode” checkbox. Once you do that, any category you’re “watching” (see the post above) should send you all messages in email.

Discourse will run you through a new user training when you first get in — I recommend going through it all, since it will introduce you to the system. I can’t remember all the details since I did it a few months ago, but it’s an interactive thing with “discobot.” Eventually, I hope to document the entire process better, but I don’t have time for that right now.

All that said, I’m new to Discourse, so I’m still learning how it all works. I’m happy to answer questions and try to figure things out, but be patient — I’m also juggling a thousand cats with the rest of the TidBITS infrastructure transition.

cheers... -Adam



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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

John Ferman-2
Does this mean one will have to log into something to read and post. What I like about Tidbits-Talk is the convenience and the ease of posting questions and knowing about important stuff. Maybe at some future point Talk will reincarnate. It has been a great run and I have learned a lot.

Sent from iPad
John Ferman
Minneapolis, MN

My doctor says I have a malformed public-duty gland and as a result have a severe morale fibre deficiency, so I should not be expected to save the world."


> On Apr 13, 2018, at 11:00 AM, [hidden email] wrote:
>
> TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse



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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

Marc Zeedar-2

> On Apr 13, 2018, at 10:40 AM, John Ferman <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Does this mean one will have to log into something to read and post

As the article said, you can log into the website and turn on a setting so you're emailed every post.

My only frustration so far is that for reasons I don't get, the messages are not grouped together in Mail as one conversation as they were on the old list. The "ipad for kids" thread showed up as about six different conversations in Apple Mail. Makes it very hard to follow the thread.

I haven't tried posting via email yet, but I think that's supposed to be possible. Posting via the website is nicely done, but I hate being shuttled from email where I'm reading to another program to post.

I'm an another ancient mailing list that did a similar switch from mail to web and my participation dropped about 90%. It's just so much more trouble to have a browser window for the list and it uses a ton more RAM (typically as much as a gig for that one tab). I really don't know how people incorporate such things into their workflow. I'm trying to eliminate tabs from Safari, not add more.


Marc Zeedar
Publisher, xDev Magazine and xDevLibrary
www.xdevmag.com | www.xdevlibrary.com







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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

adamengst
Administrator
In reply to this post by John Ferman-2
Does this mean one will have to log into something to read and post.

No, as I said in that message, once you’re set up in Discourse, you can check a Mailing List Mode checkbox to interact entirely via email. But you do have to log in, just like you had to subscribe to TidBITS Talk in Mailman at one point in the past.
 
What I like about Tidbits-Talk is the convenience and the ease of posting questions and knowing about important stuff. Maybe at some future point Talk will reincarnate. It has been a great run and I have learned a lot.

TidBITS Talk is about technology, technology changes all the time, and we have to change with it.

Otherwise it’s just sitting in rocking chairs talking about the good old days.

cheers... -Adam



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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

Louise Olson

On Fri, April 13, 2018 1:53 pm, Adam Engst wrote:

>>
>> Does this mean one will have to log into something to read and post.
>
>
> No, as I said in that message, once you’re set up in Discourse, you can
> check a Mailing List Mode checkbox to interact entirely via email. But you
> do have to log in, just like you had to subscribe to TidBITS Talk in
> Mailman at one point in the past.
>
>
>> What I like about Tidbits-Talk is the convenience and the ease of
>> posting
>> questions and knowing about important stuff. Maybe at some future point
>> Talk will reincarnate. It has been a great run and I have learned a lot.
>
>
> TidBITS Talk is about technology, technology changes all the time, and we
> have to change with it.
>
> Otherwise it’s just sitting in rocking chairs talking about the good old
> days.
>
> cheers... -Adam

I think, following the instructions you gave, that I merely reset the
password on my Tidbits account because it looks exactly like what I saw
the last time I was logged in after changing my password.  I've tried to
do what you said and am trying to understand how this works, but there's
nothing to indicate to me that I have succeeded.

I'm feeling pretty sad because it seems that something that worked
flawlessly now requires much more work on my part to understand how to
keep this resource.  Right now, I'm very sorry that there was any change
at all.  Am I the only one having this problem?

Louise


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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

Marilyn Matty
In reply to this post by adamengst

A question...if I sign up, will my posts be public like on a message board? Or will they be difficult to sift though like they are now. This would be a game changer for me. 

Marilyn 

On Apr 13, 2018, at 1:53 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:

Does this mean one will have to log into something to read and post.

No, as I said in that message, once you’re set up in Discourse, you can check a Mailing List Mode checkbox to interact entirely via email. But you do have to log in, just like you had to subscribe to TidBITS Talk in Mailman at one point in the past.
 
What I like about Tidbits-Talk is the convenience and the ease of posting questions and knowing about important stuff. Maybe at some future point Talk will reincarnate. It has been a great run and I have learned a lot.

TidBITS Talk is about technology, technology changes all the time, and we have to change with it.

Otherwise it’s just sitting in rocking chairs talking about the good old days.

cheers... -Adam


____________TidBITS Talk Participation Guidelines____________
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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

Chris Poterala
In reply to this post by Louise Olson
Louise,


Click on "Log In"

If you signed up for Discourse, try your email address and password.

If it says it can't find you, click on Register and sign up.

You will get an email asking you to confirm the account and set a password.

go to talk.tidbits.com after setting your password and login.

You can go into your account settings after logging in and select the option to keep getting posts as emails.

<a href="https://talk.tidbits.com/u/[your">https://talk.tidbits.com/u/[your username]/preferences/account

and then select Emails and then click on the check box under Mailing List Mode.

Chris







On Fri, Apr 13, 2018 at 2:14 PM, Louise Olson <[hidden email]> wrote:


I think, following the instructions you gave, that I merely reset the
password on my Tidbits account because it looks exactly like what I saw
the last time I was logged in after changing my password.  I've tried to
do what you said and am trying to understand how this works, but there's
nothing to indicate to me that I have succeeded.

I'm feeling pretty sad because it seems that something that worked
flawlessly now requires much more work on my part to understand how to
keep this resource.  Right now, I'm very sorry that there was any change
at all.  Am I the only one having this problem?

Louise




____________TidBITS Talk Participation Guidelines____________
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Be polite and constructive, and comment on posts, not people.
Quote sparingly, if at all. We all read the previous message.
Start threads with a new message to [hidden email].
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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

adamengst
Administrator
In reply to this post by Marc Zeedar-2
My only frustration so far is that for reasons I don't get, the messages are not grouped together in Mail as one conversation as they were on the old list. The "ipad for kids" thread showed up as about six different conversations in Apple Mail. Makes it very hard to follow the thread.

Hmm, that’s odd. The messages thread properly for me in both Gmail and Apple Mail.

I haven't tried posting via email yet, but I think that's supposed to be possible. Posting via the website is nicely done, but I hate being shuttled from email where I'm reading to another program to post.

Yes, Discourse allows that. I’m trying to figure out all the various settings around it still, but will post more when I know it.

I'm an another ancient mailing list that did a similar switch from mail to web and my participation dropped about 90%. It's just so much more trouble to have a browser window for the list and it uses a ton more RAM (typically as much as a gig for that one tab). I really don't know how people incorporate such things into their workflow. I'm trying to eliminate tabs from Safari, not add more.

<tongue firmly in cheek>Yeah, it’s one of those new-fangled Web things. If only we had a decent Web browser from a top-tier technology company like Apple or Google, or a solid open-source option from the likes of Mozilla. But luckily, we’ll be able to use elm and pine for email forever. ;-) </tongue firmly in cheek>

cheers... -Adam




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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

adamengst
Administrator
In reply to this post by adamengst
I think, following the instructions you gave, that I merely reset the
password on my Tidbits account because it looks exactly like what I saw
the last time I was logged in after changing my password. 

If you’ve already changed your password once, you don’t need to do it again. Discourse uses your TidBITS account.
 
I've tried to
do what you said and am trying to understand how this works, but there's
nothing to indicate to me that I have succeeded.

 Do you have a Login button at the top right in Discourse when you go to:


Or do you see an avatar for your users. If the latter, you’re logged in.

I'm feeling pretty sad because it seems that something that worked
flawlessly now requires much more work on my part to understand how to
keep this resource.  Right now, I'm very sorry that there was any change
at all.  Am I the only one having this problem?

No, you’re not. Change is hard. I’ve put in 10-12 hours days for the last three weeks straight, including weekends, trying to get all this new stuff (of which Discourse is only a small part) working. And that’s on top of the six months it has all been in development and the many thousands of dollars it has cost. But change is also necessary — without this new infrastructure, TidBITS was going to become entirely irrelevant.

Did you know, for instance, that Google has just switched to mobile-first indexing, so if you don’t have a mobile site, you don’t rank as high in the searches? And Google has long been deprecating TidBITS in searches because our site wasn’t mobile friendly at all. Without a new site, we would have just disappeared from searches entirely.

Making TidBITS Talk work “flawlessly" (which it hasn’t, not by a long shot) has meant vast amounts of work for me for many, many years. I’m not willing to fight with Mailman anymore, and I don’t want to run a mailing list.

cheers... -Adam



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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

adamengst
Administrator
In reply to this post by adamengst
A question...if I sign up, will my posts be public like on a message board? Or will they be difficult to sift though like they are now. This would be a game changer for me. 

Yes, your posts will be public, just as they are now. There have been two sets of TidBITS Talk archives for many years, one built into Mailman and the other at Nabble.


I have to assume that both of those are indexed by all the search engines.

Most public mailing lists have Web-accessible archives.

cheers... -Adam




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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

Marc Zeedar-2
In reply to this post by adamengst

> On Apr 13, 2018, at 11:46 AM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Making TidBITS Talk work “flawlessly" (which it hasn’t, not by a long shot) has meant vast amounts of work for me for many, many years. I’m not willing to fight with Mailman anymore, and I don’t want to run a mailing list.

That's a great point, Adam, and I apologize if I came across as "grumpy old man" for wanting to preserve the old ways.

From the user's perspective mailing lists seem "simple," but we're not the ones dealing the with the back end. We really do appreciate everything you do and it's often hard for outsiders to realize how much work goes on behind the scenes to make tech work "flawlessly."

Cheers to the new infrastructure and I hope things will be much less of a burden for you in the future.


Marc Zeedar
Publisher, xDev Magazine and xDevLibrary
www.xdevmag.com | www.xdevlibrary.com







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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

Marc Zeedar-2
In reply to this post by adamengst

> On Apr 13, 2018, at 11:31 AM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> My only frustration so far is that for reasons I don't get, the messages are not grouped together in Mail as one conversation as they were on the old list. The "ipad for kids" thread showed up as about six different conversations in Apple Mail. Makes it very hard to follow the thread.
>
>> Hmm, that’s odd. The messages thread properly for me in both Gmail and Apple Mail.

Interesting. I do have a TidBITS filter which colors TT posts (I had to modify it for the new system). I wonder if that is somehow messing up the threading?

It also could be I was just confused. I saw a bunch of new messages this morning when I checked my email and I just realized another annoyance: since I used the dual-pane system in Mail, with a narrow column for the email list and a wide column for the selected email view, all TT posts show up with this subject line:

        [TidBITS] [Article Comm...

So all TT posts look exactly the same to me regardless of the topic since the actual subject line is cut off.

I assume there's no way for a user to modify that default subject prefix to make it shorter? (I don't think the "Article Comment" portion of the line is necessary at all. The TidBITS one is useful for filtering.)


Marc Zeedar
Publisher, xDev Magazine and xDevLibrary
www.xdevmag.com | www.xdevlibrary.com







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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

adamengst
Administrator
In reply to this post by adamengst
I assume there's no way for a user to modify that default subject prefix to make it shorter? (I don't think the "Article Comment" portion of the line is necessary at all. The TidBITS one is useful for filtering.)

Not at the user level, but I can modify all sorts of stuff at the admin level. Here’s the string for Subject lines right now:

[%{site_name}] %{optional_pm}%{optional_cat}%{topic_title}

I’ve just changed that to

[%{site_name}] %{optional_pm}%{topic_title}

as per


The “Article Comments” was the category that goes with, well, comments on our articles. TidBITS Talk is its own category. But I agree, it’s totally not necessary in the Subject line.

cheers... -Adam



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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

adamengst
Administrator
In reply to this post by Marc Zeedar-2
That's a great point, Adam, and I apologize if I came across as "grumpy old man" for wanting to preserve the old ways.

Thanks for understanding! I’m really fraying around the edges a bit since I have literally hundreds of details buzzing around in my head — things that people have reported or I’ve noticed, things that we’ve fixed, things that still need to be done, and more.

This transition wasn’t so much pulling a tablecloth out from underneath a fully laid-out dinner; it was building an entirely new table underneath a dinner party and replacing all the flatware and dinnerware underneath all the food. While everyone is eating.

cheers... -Adam 




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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

Marc Zeedar-2
In reply to this post by adamengst

> On Apr 13, 2018, at 12:14 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> TidBITS Talk is its own category. But I agree, it’s totally not necessary in the Subject line.

Sweet! Much better.


Marc Zeedar
Publisher, xDev Magazine and xDevLibrary
www.xdevmag.com | www.xdevlibrary.com







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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

Hector I Macedo-3
In reply to this post by adamengst
I was trying to log in to the link provided, but all my attempts to do it failed. It even responded that my email address was not recognized. 

On Apr 12, 2018, at 5:43 PM,4/12/18, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi folks,

I haven’t set a firm date, but my goal is to shut this TidBITS Talk Mailman list off within a week or so. Because of the 
You can see TidBITS Talk on Discourse now at https://talk.tidbits.com/c/tidbits-talk Please feel free to start using it in advance of this list being shut off!


Hector I Macedo

"The trout do not rise in the cemetery, so you better do your fishing
while you are still able." 
- Sparse Grey Hackle




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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

Curtis Wilcox
In reply to this post by Marc Zeedar-2
On Apr 13, 2018, at 3:03 PM, Zeedar Marc <[hidden email]> wrote:


On Apr 13, 2018, at 11:31 AM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:

My only frustration so far is that for reasons I don't get, the messages are not grouped together in Mail as one conversation as they were on the old list. The "ipad for kids" thread showed up as about six different conversations in Apple Mail. Makes it very hard to follow the thread.

Hmm, that’s odd. The messages thread properly for me in both Gmail and Apple Mail.

Interesting. I do have a TidBITS filter which colors TT posts (I had to modify it for the new system). I wonder if that is somehow messing up the threading?

I have a custom domain hosted by Gmail that I check through IMAP using Mail (macOS Sierra). My old TidBITS filter doesn't match the Discourse message so they're all going to my Inbox right now. My Inbox is set to Organize by Conversation, which almost always works for the Mailman email threads, but so far isn't working for Discourse emails. Well, it sort of is, if someone writes more than one comment about the same subject, all their messages will collapse under a triangle; that's actually worse than no threading because an old comment by User A could be listed after a much newer comment by User B if User A made another comment after that.

Does someone have a suggestion for a Gmail filter rule to reliably apply a "Tidbits" label to all the messages? I think Subject contains "tidbits" would have false positives; if I forward a Discourse message to someone and they reply, their reply should not get the "Tidbits" label.

I haven't tried replying by email, I'll probably do most replying (and maybe reading) of comments on the web. The email will serve as a notification. I love RSS so maybe that'll be better for reading comments and being notified they exist. Looking at the Latest Posts feed (https://talk.tidbits.com/posts.rss), there's only about 15 messages and I think it's incomplete, the oldest message in the feed is from 11:15am (Eastern time, I think), but there are newer comments than that in the If iPads were meant for kids thread that are not in the RSS feed.

My previous experience with Discourse has been comment threads linked to from articles on BoingBoing and Talking Points Memo. For an Article -> Comment workflow, it works very well, is a natural progression from TidBITS's previous web comments, and very much an improvement. But it's very different from a mailing list. 

Going to the talk.tidbits.com homepage to discover new topics, especially ones not initiated by a new article, is very different from mailing lists; it's more like a web bulletin board forum. I was thinking I had little prior experience following (typically finding my way to a web forum by searching for a specific topic) but I guess I have been in an online class that used Piazza, which has some things in common (though there I was obligated to read everything) and there's a specific service at work that uses getsatisfaction.com for a web forum (though it's something I look at maybe weekly, not daily, and most topics I skim without opening).



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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

adamengst
Administrator
In reply to this post by Hector I Macedo-3
I was trying to log in to the link provided, but all my attempts to do it failed. It even responded that my email address was not recognized. 

Yes, that’s because you don’t have a TidBITS account, at least under [hidden email].  

As I wrote in the previous message:

Start by going to https://tidbits.com/wp/wp-login.php?action=lostpassword and entering your email address. If it says “There is no user registered with that email address.” you’ll need to create a new account, which you do by clicking the Register link under the login dialog. It should be self-explanatory — it’s similar to all other Internet account creation processes, where you’ll give it a username and your email address, and it will email you a confirmation link that you’ll need to click to verify the account.

cheers… -Adam 



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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

Dr Digby L. James
> I was trying to log in to the link provided, but all my attempts to do it failed. It even responded that my email address was not recognized.
>
> Yes, that’s because you don’t have a TidBITS account, at least under [hidden email].  
>
> As I wrote in the previous message:
>
> Start by going to https://tidbits.com/wp/wp-login.php?action=lostpassword and entering your email address. If it says “There is no user registered with that email address.” you’ll need to create a new account, which you do by clicking the Register link under the login dialog. It should be self-explanatory — it’s similar to all other Internet account creation processes, where you’ll give it a username and your email address, and it will email you a confirmation link that you’ll need to click to verify the account.

I’d been trying to login for several weeks without success, including clicking on the link to reset my password. Entered my e-mail address and . . . nothing. But I have now clicked on the link above and I’m in. Perhaps it just needed more patience on my part.

Dr Digby L. James
Quinta Press
www.quintapress.com
Meadow View
Weston Rhyn
Oswestry
Shropshire
England
SY10 7RN
Phone (44) (0)1691 778659
Mobile (44) (0)7970 678144





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Re: TidBITS Talk transition to Discourse

dianed143@comcast.net
In reply to this post by adamengst
OK, I got my account set up and I can see posts. I followed the steps to get setup with email delivery. This was a couple of hours ago and I have yet to see any emails come through and I do see new posts on the site.

What is the email addy to send new emails to (for the list)?

And I never got any info on video training - is there a link?

Thanks and sorry!

Diane




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