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Agaric and lots of others need: an open source, modular messaging framework

In the context of an e-mail / mailing list manager:

Every news organization, every nonprofit, every community-oriented business or organization needs e-mail that allows personalization and tracking of recipient actions in response. Another common need is for mailing lists, which allow group participation in e-mail conversation, and for forums, which allow group conversations online.

Neither need is met well currently, particularly when it comes to integration with web sites, custom processing, and (for multiple mailing lists) prevention of duplicate messages.

For community-building purposes the ideal e-mail system combines both needs in one - messages initiated by normal people, sent to groups of subscribers, that can be personalized and tracked - and nothing like that exists yet. And all e-mail solutions need bounce management, subscription management via e-mail, etc.

A modular messaging system would allow each component to be improved independently. It would also allow the use of services providers for sending, and/or bounce management, etc. Most importantly it would allow a rich API that provides ways to add interactive elements (one-click voting or other online action) and store and send messages in different ways.

Many of our plans ultimately rely on a robust, flexible solution to sending and receiving e-mail (and other forms of messages) that integrates with web sites and, crucially, introduces a hook for sophisticated management of messages. We consider this therefore a foundational need, and one with very broad applications, that may attract the most interest, and for which we need help developing technical estimates of cost to begin raising financial support.

UPDATE: The content management system Drupal may have a good solution (and a start on a full solution) with the Notifications module. See Jose Reyero's post on the web-to-mail submodule. Bounce processing and other matters still need to be brought into the fold.

If we choose to pursue building on a Drupal solution, we can submit to community review and possible funding from the Knight Drupal Initiative.

Note: This was originally posted to a Basecamp project which can't be open to public inspection. Contact me to get in that group, though I hope to ultimately move the group to Drupal which truly allows the discussion to be public.



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