Current State of the mailing lists & potential move to another platform

Hi Everyone,

As you might have noticed, the mailing lists currently get much fewer messages than in the past. We think that this is directly related to most of the community using Slack to communicate.

However, while it is great that our community likes to communicate on Slack, Slack is not very good as a longer-term resource collection. It is difficult to find old messages on Slack, pointing users to specific messages is not easy, and Slack is not optimal for more complex long-form discussions.

Some members of the Zeek LT expressed that other open source projects have had good experiences with using Discourse (, which provides a forum-like discussion platform that also can be interacted with via email.

We are considering whether it might make sense to convert from using mailing lists to using Discourse or another similar project. We’d like to hear any of our community members who’ve had positive or negative experiences with using Discourse, or if you happen to know another project that might work well.

If you have any feedback on this – please either respond to this message, write the Zeek LT at, or send an email directly to me.

Thank you,
  Johanna (for the Zeek LT)

Hi Johanna,

IMO any option that provides same functionality as mailing list does, it is valid.


This would be discourse replacing the ML and Slack?

This would be discourse replacing the ML *and* Slack?

No, just the mailing list. Slack will remain.

— Vern

I have experience using Discourse in a couple of music-related communities, one of them devoted to open-source tech. Here’s an example, for those who have never seen the platform:

Generally I like it very much. Engagement and searchability are much improved, compared to a mailing list. Categories and tags make customization easier, if you’re interested in only a subset of conversations. Note that active moderation is important, so that redundant threads are merged and community cultural norms are maintained.

  • Greg

Not only is Slack difficult to search or archive from the perspective
of participants, discovery of prior discussions becomes completely
impossible for outsiders.

For a project which (in my experience) is in many ways deeply reliant
on the incidental generation of documentation in the form of
troubleshooting discussions, example configurations and the like the
lack of discoverability and archivability is a major loss.

Also, an ideal solution should be considerate of people who utilize
screen readers and other adaptive technologies.

FWIW, I’m not sure how we have the Zeek Slack configured, but you can enable new members to see all previous messages.



FWIW, I’m not sure how we have the Zeek Slack configured, but you can
enable new members to see all previous messages.

We do have Slack configured like that. From my point of view, it is still not a great platform for search/discovery of prior discussions.

I admittedly am not sure how the accessibility of discourse is - if anyone has feedback on that, that would be very interesting.


I think when we first went down this path we had tested linking up slack to discourse, which worked, but I don’t recall if that made the slack messages more searchable.