[sf-perl] seeking recommendation for discussion SW, 2-way email access

Vicki Brown vlb at cfcl.com
Sun Mar 18 11:48:25 PDT 2007

I am noodling around on an idea for improving discussion and communication
at my Job.

Summary: I want a threaded, easy to install and use discussion package
that can be read/posted to via the web or email (not just email
"notification")  and which will retain archives until we delete them. The
capability of email in/out is a requirement.

Background: We have several mailing lists in the group, including two
discussion lists - one for the full group and one for a smaller subset
(aka "council). All of our lists are internal only, company hosted via
"SYMPA" and archived for no more than 60 days.

Because we do much of our work via shared discussion lists, everyone gets
a LOT of email. This causes tension between the people who are following
and participating in a discussion and the ones who aren't. The latter
would like the email to disappear. "Too Much mail on this topic!" they
cry. Those who are actively participating don't want the conversation shut
down arbitrarily.

I've been thinking that it would be useful to have an online collaborative
"forum" with two-way email gateway capability. People who want email could
post/read via email. People who don't want email could post/read via the
web or ignore a conversation entirely. As a useful side effect, we could
have discussions archived for longer than the company standard 60 days.

We have TWiki and I've thought of using this, but TWiki doesn't accept
posting via email. I'd like to avoid writing gateway software myself.

Because we'd be hosting this within the group (i.e. I would be hosting
this, on my desktop system), any solution needs to be easy to install and
manage. My day job does not include playing sys admin for a special

In addition, I have no budget for this. If I find something terrific for
under $50 I might buy a license myself. Or, if management likes proof of
concept, they might pay for something. But currently this is my own
half-baked idea. So I need freeware or inexpensive with a free trial

Any solution needs to run on a Unix-based system. The machine under my
desk runs Mac OS X, so that's the easiest.

Suggestions welcomed.
- Vicki

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