Zwiki comment and mailout mechanisms enable a simple, lightweight mailing list. This document describes how a Zwiki page serves this need and fills a unique niche.

The siblings to the simple mailing list (page list) are an email carbon copy list (cc: list) and comprehensive mailing lists (complex lists) (such as PiperMail?, Yahoo Groups and UseNet?).

Email CC: lists are hard to maintain, tangent and re-assemble with eratic continuity and timeliness of an office grapevine. There is rarely a public record of members and openness and membership generally follows a members pattern. The final annoyance of cc lists fall under archival and summary. Archival is disparate and rolled up summaries are individualistic.

Complex lists require complex setup, multi-step subscription and unsubscription, and content is usually on a message per page view.

Page lists allow

  • Member list is viewable
  • Membership as simple as subscribing
  • summarizing current topics, scope and archive pages are on the page.
  • Association with rest of Wiki documentation
  • Mail client optional
  • Email-in optional


  • New release of..
  • Next activity scheduled..
  • Topic News/Status
  • When the second wave of emails rolls in, create the page based on current discussion, and send everyone a message that the converstation has been moved.


  • Although mail links are available, this functionality is primarily realized through the use of an extranal Comprehensive mailing list serving as an archive. (Note: This archive usually tracks all discussions in the wiki.)

Rollout Issues...

  • This is a common feeling. It's source lies somewhere between not realizing the extent of current transparency in grapevine communication to aversion to written word accountability.


Other thoughts...

Ideally each page could be published as an RSS feed. I've been contemplating the idea but am struggling with how to represent docuent changes items.

some links on my site --BillSeitz, Wed, 17 Sep 2003 14:59:24 -0700 reply

I'm pretty much in favor of non-Wiki discussions. See BillSeitz:EmailDiscussionBesideWiki and related unresolved BlueOxen? thread

some links on my site --SimonMichael, Wed, 17 Sep 2003 20:10:41 -0700 reply

Thanks for the links, interesting. The discussion confused me a little.. I was unsure if those folks are aware of the wiki-mail symbiosis we have here. What prevents you from using eg this wiki (say) in purely email mode ?

update or delete ? --simon, Wed, 16 Jun 2004 21:10:02 -0700 reply

This one reads like an engineer's notes, I think (surprise). Can we do something with it ?

update or delete ? --simon, Fri, 22 Oct 2004 16:17:40 -0700 reply

> This one reads like an engineer's notes, I think (surprise). Can we do something with it ?

Delete ? Salvage ?