User:Cmorse/Tasks and goals/Possible goal, email to wiki

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See also: Koch Lab:Research/MediaWiki for Open Science

Steve Koch 02:30, 2 January 2009 (EST): As we talked about a couple days ago (yesterday?), the issue with having an "email to wiki" feature is pretty much with spam. If we have a beta wiki to play around with, it's much easier to test things out and assess this difficulty with this issue. Below are some other thoughts we talked about and which I've talked about previously with Bill Flanagan.

  • Email to wiki would be very convenient for sending in notes and ideas from mobile devices (such as cell phones), where editing the wiki in a browser is cumbersome. Furthermore, there are automated services which can generate email (for example some lab equipment).
  • SocialText has this feature implemented, and it would be worth copying their system. The subject of the email becomes the page name. If the page already exists, it gets appended as a new section.
  • One way to combat the spam issue would be to have a special page where a user goes and "approves" emails to the wiki. This would work especially well if an email address went to a specific area (such as User:Steven J. Koch or Koch_Lab). Spam probably won't be an issue (with a randomly generated email address to the wiki), so approving will be an easy rubber-stamp operation. If spam does become an issue, it will be obvious, and the email address can be changed.
  • restricting the "from" email address may not be necessary and would be annoying since most people have several accounts. I know this foils me all the time when trying to email the oww-discuss list.

Cmorse 12:48, 1 February 2009 (EST) Would you need to be able to append emails to an existing page? Or would just being able to create a new page with the email be sufficient?

Steve Koch 14:37, 1 February 2009 (EST): A major goal is capturing information that would otherwise have been lost. So, creating new pages is sufficient and would achieve a lot. Append may be nice too, but that could wait. Dynamic Page Listing (DPL) could easily be used to aggregate the emailed pages anyway.
Cmorse 20:51, 1 February 2009 (EST) Ok, I can definitely do the single page add for now. It shouldn't take too long to get it working. One caveat of this is that the pages can't be added instantly after they're emailed. But we can choose how often it will check for new emails on the server.