sympa to comment blog posts: why ?

I maintain websites since 1997 and my motto always was "as static as possible". I run my own "static web" engines, used open source ones and ended with a simple Makefile.

The very important missing part was blog comments but it's not only about serving static pages: we're in year 2014 and still, the web failed to provide tools that can approach the productivity of mutt when it comes to share thoughts about a post: editing in textareas, navigating in the thread, tagging, archiving, ... all those basics are just jokes in a webpages! Trying to compare wikis to just editing files in your filesystem (then share them with git, rsync, seafile, whatever ..) also is.

But i didn't carre for a while because i had a bigger plan (my beloved mindpipe) so asked commenters to send me mails instead of expecting a "comment" textarea. I miss usenet.

Years ago, i came at a French Perl Workshop and spoke about a subset of what mindpipe could be. Then i learnt (thanks to BooK and Franck) about disqus. i also was aware of gname.

Finally, i'm now convinced that the technical roots of mindpipe was invented in a 80's OS named Plan9. What i want is just piping, copying and editing 9p served files thru vim, acme) or emacs.

I know web browsers are bloated enough to serve as a base of very handy editing application (cloud9 or etherpad are some moving tries to render edited content in a web page) but they need a 9p support (maybe servo could have one?) and i think plan9 ideas are finally spreading (i remember how sarcatic were people about linux or open source just ten years ago, they just heard about it).

Nevertheless: ten years later, mindpipe is still just an idea and i changed my mind about doing software. I really think that

  • nothing is perfect
  • starting small is better than not starting at all
  • the best code is the one you don't have to write

thinking the unix way: what is the best tool to provide simple ways to

  • subscribe a discutions that can be seen as emails?
  • make discutions and archives public, private, moderated?
  • avoid spams and robots using bayesians and sending scenaries to check the validity of your posts?

I i need a battle tested, highly configurable and extendable but just a "mailing list manager"! I know it's not perfect but it's way better than running yet another anoying web forum.

And i know the beast: sympa is way the best mailing list manager i ever seen. Yes, i have tons of grievances about it but in the end, it's much more superior than everything i saw and is in a constant evolution since 1996 (AFAIK). Plus: it's written in Perl! not a so modern one but you don't carre if you just have to write plugins.