Public Lab Research note

Reply-by-email: a new way to use

by warren | October 04, 2018 21:52 04 Oct 21:52 | #17227 | #17227

warren was awarded the Basic Barnstar by singhav for their work in this research note.

Today we're announcing a new feature you may have noticed over the past few weeks! For a long time, emails about new posts or comments on have been from an address called -- how unfriendly! But it's because, unlike a mailing list, you couldn't just write a reply email. Remember this?image description

Now you can reply by email!

Thanks to amazing work by a number of Google Summer of Code fellows (#soc), but primarily by Naman Gupta, you can now just write back a reply email, as long as you're sending from the same email you're signed up with. (log in and check this here)

(This will work for any email you get from that has a post id in the subject line, like this: Title of the email (#1234) -- that's most of them!)

It's a new feature, so give it a try, and report back if you have any trouble!

Looking ahead

This means that, soon enough, we will be relying more on the website as a forum, rather than on our old Google Groups. To stay in touch with others working on topics you care about, be sure to SUBSCRIBE using the many prompts on the site, for example at the top of any topic page (linked to from your dashboard, or the front of!):

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Lots of changes & activity

You may have noticed a lot of changes on recently -- this has been made possible by a dramatically growing community of software contributors, joining us through our new coding Welcome Page at, as well as through programs like Rails Girls, Outreachy, Google Summer of Code and Google Code-In -- and with support from the DIAL Open Source Center and the Schmidt Foundation's 11th Hour Project.

Hundreds of new people (see the bottom of have started showing up to help fix bugs, implement new features, and help others in turn join in our efforts -- a very Public Lab spirit! And we've made serious efforts to reach out to and welcome members of groups that are under-represented in open source. You can read about our outreach work here. The result is that the collaboration systems we use across this community are getting refined and improved faster than ever!
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Our code contributor community is built on a commitment to mutual benefit -- we can't create good software without welcoming in newcomers, and we are deeply invested in supporting contributors to learn new skills and grow as coders, designers, project leaders, and "cooperators". Unlike many open source communities, much of our capacity is aimed at helping people become proficient coders, and to learn and apply new skills.

But we also seek to change coding culture by recognizing how important communication, mutual support, and affirmative and welcoming tone are. As part of this, we seek to improve ourselves and help contributors learn how to support one another, welcome in a diverse and inclusive community, and build a more positive and equitable society by doing things a little differently.


Lol, you can reply to this post by email as well!


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Okay, this is an email reply to the notification email I got. Let’s see where this ends up.




From: \<>
Sent: Thursday, October 4, 2018 5:53 PM
Subject: Reply-by-email: a new way to use (#17227)


Reply-by-email: a new way to use was tagged with #blog by warren

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Let's see how this works with images or an embedded video. Is markdown parsed?

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The image was missing, the video embed was broken, and the text which followed the video did not display.

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Is \ *markdown * parsed?


    1. Number 1
    1. Number 4
    1. Number 3


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@singhav awards a barnstar to warren for their awesome contribution!

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Hello Chris - I think you hit on a separate issue of "sanitizing" comment display, which is being worked on by a new contributor in this issue:

I'd like to note to everyone that it really makes a difference to new contributors to be friendly -- that's a large part of why they come to help out. I'm sure they appreciate your testing out new features they've made, but we work hard to be sure people feel welcome -- please don't forget to give these young people an encouraging word from time to time! I'm sure they'd love to hear it.

I've removed the segment of your comment that caused the rest of the page to be hidden and will note the content (saved here: to some of the folks working on it. Thanks for giving it a try!

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