on 09-30-2008 01:36 PM
I haven't done the demo for Lithium yet, however I have a question. Does the forum have a reply by email function? This allows someone that receives a notification of a new post to reply to that post directly from the email.
This was also a requirement we had when we evaluated the tool. Lithium does not offers it for some good reasons mainly around security. Allowing a user to post to the forums via an email reply may open up the forum to all kind of spamming problems...
Thanks, Giovanni. That pretty much covers it.
Lithium has investigated, a few times, the possibility of implementing a feature such as this. Each time, we ultimately rejected the technical workflow for security reasons.
In my experience, whenever I see this feature in other products, it is often combined with either a very loose security model or very tight integration with an internal mail server (and the audience is therefore limited to internal users).
I would like to have this feature too, but just as in life, I have come to realize that software design is a series of tradeoffs. We try to make the best community software that we can. But we've realized that you can't put every feature on one platform and expect for it to be bulletproof. If we had every single feature that everybody wanted, we would not be able to pass the stringent security audits that we continue to pass, year in and year out.
I think there is another facet worth consideration too. Encouraging members to log in to participate, immerses them in the community and increases the likelihood that they will interact with other threads or at least read and be influenced by them in some way.
Email interaction would encourage a kind of tunnel vision, whereby an answer is provided to a particular subscribed thread, but the responder may miss out on seeing the larger set of activities and context.