Using mailing list for communicating with users

This could be also interesting:

  • Add login to discourse for easy bug report or feature request
  • Sign up to a mailing list of an extension with your email

Yes, these are good additional options for communicating with users.

I guess you did not mean “mailing list” literally (they are really limited compared to forums and social media options). Note that you can ask your users to add a specific tag when they post a topic on discourse and you can subscribe to get email notification about such posts. You can isolate a subcommunity further by creating a new category (see vmtk, radiomics, etc.). Github “discussions” feature is not bad either.

1 Like

I think mailing lists do have a function that forums cannot fulfill, and that is to send reminders and updates to your targeted community.

We maintain one for Slicermorph with about 600 email addresses. We do send them project updates, deadline reminders, polls and probably average around 2-3 emails per month. It will be a big ask (and ultimately would fail) to tell these people to follow these conversations/updates on the slicer forum.

BTW I do.follow the discourse through email, and for whatever reason half the emails go to junk. That’s of course a problem also shared by mailing lists.

I agree that if you only ever need is one-way communication (push out messages to users) then a mailing list may be sufficient.

However, modern forums can do this, too. We use the “announcement” category for this. By default Slicer forum members receive the first post in each new topic in an email. We could send out messages to forum members, but I don’t think we ever needed to use this feature.

The main advantage of forums is that it allows much more refined two-way communication as well. This encourages users to contribute to discussions, help each other, and ultimately to build a stronger community.

This was an initial concern when we switched Slicer from mailing list to forum. There were a few people who rarely used forums before and were very much against the idea. It turned out to vs a huge success. Traffic jumped and is growing ever since. People who were against the idea are still around and participate in discussions.

Transition was smooth, as you can simply add emails to the forum. There is no need to ask people to sign up.

After the successful transition of Slicer, ITK, VTK, ParaView, CMake, and all other Kitware software communities have up on mailing lists and switched to discourse, too.

I don’t say you need to switch to a forum, just that first-hand experience with Slicer forum administrator - and seeing this as member in other communities - indicates that you can achieve a lot more by using a forum.