Reply by Email

I was more approaching it from, there are thousands of Yahoo/OneList/eGroups/etc. mailing lists out there with some members who want to go to a forum, but a majority want to stick with reading and replying by email. This is a market that, so far, all forum software has ignored.

I won't lie and say I know all of the technical requirements and development pitfalls of supporting and integrating these communities into a XenForo install. But it's worth a serious look. At the very least, a PHP POP3 or SMTP client would be required to capture and manipulate the emails.

Mailing lists are guilty of cyclical discussions where the same topics and same questions are rehashed over and over every few months. This may sound familiar to forum users, but it's much much worse, because there's no decent archive, and no way to point someone to a "definitive" discussion on a specific topic. You can't do sticky threads.

Ultimately it's up to Kier and Mike to decide what features XF has, but post-by-email is not a fad. These communities have been going for 12 years now.
I agree with this. I'm on several Yahoogroups groups and have been for years. One in particular is so active that I couldnt cope with the number of posts it generates to my email client and divert them directly into a separate directory within MS outlook where I scan and respond to them when I have time (still easier doing this in Outlook rather than on Gmail which is the mail server I'm on). A couple of groups within Yahoogroups have said to us that they'd like to move over to our forum provided they can send and reply via email and as long as there's no possibility of anybody blogging these posts. So these people want to communicate via email and they want to do it in private. I run a vB forum and I could easily envisage running both vB4 (which I like) and Xenforo for different groups of people. In fact I'd be happy buying more than one copy of Xenforo and attaching each copy to a different TLD if this feature were available.

So the reason I'm interested is I've got people that like it, want it, and are asking for it. My own preferences are irrelevant. I tried the mod in vB 3.8 that offered this feature but couldn't get it to work consistently. The issue as I recall was something to do with email parsing.
And everyone of the yahoo groups I have found is either
  • non-public, need to 'join the group' & be approved to see the emails & post, and has a moderator, or
  • public, do not need to join, and collects spam
I have yet to see a yahoo group that has moves at a rapid pace. A few emails a day at most is what my experience has been, and each email had the content of what they were replying to included.

That's entirely the point :) ..... the really active groups are private. The main one I'm on is very private, they don't want their stuff blogged or forwarded. Advertising revenue via page impressions is not the only viable business model....
For anyone media's great...but email isn't dead. Admittedly the attached link is from an organisation with a bias but the numbers you see elsewhere back up what these people are saying. Email isn't just convenient, it's cheap. Any software provider that can enable people to manage their own email contacts so that they get want they want and aren't bombarded with spam will have an advantage. If they can log on to a Xenforo or other forum and either opt for no email alerts, RSS feed, or send and reply via email that provides the forum owner with an economic advantage provided that there is a good subscription manager either in Xenforo or in MySQL. A lot of the people on the Yahoo Groups groups I'm on know what email is and use it all the time but have no idea what an RSS feed is, and they are turned off by advertising.
A big YES vote from me.

For years I ran a very active YahooGroup and was only able to move to VB when the email integration add-on became available. The bulk of my traffic is via email posts and replies, I am able to append ads to the emails if I choose. The lack of this feature in VB 4 is what keeps me from moving from current platform, my users would revolt. As noted, the lack of this feature is what keeps many groups stuck in Yahoo. BTW, I have no more issues with spam via email than via normal posts.

While xenforo looks great, it needs something that differentiates it from the crowd and gives VB and Yahoogroup owners a compelling reason to switch. Email integration could be just that thing. For those admins who do not want it, it could be a configurable option. I iwould migrate today if this feature were offered.


Well-known member
id like more email functionality, even registration via email.
i know many people dont see the usefulness, but if you think in terms of vrml and how one communicates with simulators via email... it becomes clear. the idea of an avatar being able to interact with an in-world object to auto-register is pretty exciting. all it would require is the ability to tell xf what to look for in the email (such as username).


Well-known member

I hate email-lists with a passion and I would never ever subscribe to such a list. I guess because I know the huge benefits of sophisticated forums by now after having used vBulletin for 10 years now.

However. I am aware that there are a huge amount of people who think totally different (hence the success of Yahoo Groups). And it's not only Yahoo Groups who understands this, but the ever growing success of Posterous ( is solely based upon the fact that people can update their Blog or contribute to a Group just by sending an email.

A new potential client of mine is now using Posterous for (private) Group Discussions for their organization: and my opinion (knowing the fantastic functionality/benefits of webforums) is that it obviously totally sucks. However, I wonder what would happen if a state-of-the-art product like XenForo (which obviously doesn't suck
) would allow replying by email indeed. Not that I would ever use it or allow my members to, but I can certainly understand that co-admins have this need.
I am also for this. It's a pain to load up a site on my iPhone just to reply to a thread or a PM, incorporating this would be a lifesaver. I haven't seen any forums actually having this feature.
I am also for this. It's a pain to load up a site on my iPhone just to reply to a thread or a PM, incorporating this would be a lifesaver. I haven't seen any forums actually having this feature.
This feature is available in vb 3.x as a 3rd party modification. I use it and it works great. Only downside is that my users will revolt if I migrate and they lose this feature. Right now, xenforo can not even send out the content of new messages via email, let alone allow for replies by email. :-(

Again, I think it could be a real differentiating capability for xenforo. The problem today in this space is that everyone is doing the same "me too" feature set.