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The Longest Now

sjmail : email that anyone can respond to
Tuesday July 07th 2009, 1:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m working on the gmail-to-wiki idea, since I’m trying to minimize my use of private channels and want to be able to truthfully say “for fastest response time, please use my [public|wiki|shared] email address”.  (Note to linguists : we lack the right word to fit in those brackets.)

How it might work:

  • you write to wikisj@gmail .  It posts to the sjmail wiki : subject becomes title [or dab], metadata gets put in a wiki-template (or sem wiki form) .
  • a mwiki extension adds a “reply” button at the top of main article namespace pages.  this appends the reply in its own section on the article page, and emails the result to the original sender and cc list [you get normal options of reply, reply-all, &c].
  • the response email that senders receive looks like a normal email, with a footer saying “sent by user:hill  at <site url> via sjmail”
  • senders who care can log into the sjmail site to set their preferences — they can opt to get aggregate updates rather than every email response, or just abbreviations of the response with a link to the full page.
  • repliers can use the system to send a private email as well : it would note a reply was sent with timestamp somehow in the thread flow of the page but not show or store the contents.  Of course if you know the email address of the original correspondent (which wouldn’t be directly visible on the site, only stored internally), you can write them out of band.  But that’s true too if you see an email printed out or read it over my shoulder.
  • wikilinks [between messages, to wp, &c] used in the reply gets converted to URLs when sent via email.

Thoughts?  Naturally this idea came from the success and scalability of user talk: pages, which are nothing but a simplified public messaging system where anyone can come and modify, wikify, or reply to my message to you.

If you’ve done gmail-to-site hacking and are interested in the project, let me know.

I’d like to see this expand to be a useful service, with individual namespaces for any number of people.  I can see the resulting body of correspondence being an interesting store of public knowledge; perhaps individual user namespaces matched to target email address ‘recipients’, RC by user, and a shared common namespace not unlike everything2 in feel — everything one might want to say about “getting around Boston” might be linked from [[getting around Boston]] in someone’s reply.

What do you think?  I’m also looking for better ideas for a name!

How would this work if people started corresponding with one another via the mail system?

For a name… how about metamail? That seems fitting, despite being claimed by other small (obsolete?) mail projects.

Comment by Maren 07.18.09 @ 9:33 pm

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