On this page
- What is reply by email?
- How does it work?
- Setting up a mail account
- Enabling the required modules
- Configuring a Mailhandler mailbox
- Configuring Mail Comment
- Sending e-mail comments
- See also
Conversations happen on an Open Atrium site in the form of comments. When a comment is posted to a piece of content you are subscribed to, you will receive an e-mail with the content of the comment. Typically, you would need to then follow a link in the e-mail to the content in order to post a response. When you have reply by email configured, you can reply to the comment via e-mail and your comment will get posted to the site and send out any notifications to subscribers. In effect, an entire conversation can happen via e-mail without ever going to the site directly, allowing for more rapid discussion.
- When a new comment is posted to the site, an e-mail goes out to the subscribers.
- A recipient can reply via e-mail and the message will get sent to a dedicated e-mail account.
- When a cron job runs on the Open Atrium site, it will check the account for new messages.
- If it finds new messages that are sent from e-mail addresses associated with user accounts on the site, it will read a special signature in the message and associate the comment with the correct page, parent comment and user.
- Messages in the email account are deleted or marked as read to prevent re-importing them.
The first step is to set up a gathering place for emails. The easiest method is to use a dedicated email account, though you can also use a combination of message filters and email account folders as well. If you are setting this up for the first time, we suggest using a dedicated email account to simplify the process. Gmail is free and works great for this.
The reply by email functionality is supplied by two modules that come with Open Atrium, but are disabled by default. The first step is to enable these.
- Enable the Mailhandler and Mail Comment modules
- Go to Administer > Messaging & Notifications > Mail Comment
These instructions assume you're using a dedicated email account.
- To begin, you will need to associate your site with an email account so that new messages get pulled in during cron runs.
- Go to Administer > Content > Mailhandler > Add
- Because each mail provider works slightly differently, there is not a single method of adding a new account that will work in all cases. However, several scenarios (including Gmail) with applicable settings are listed here. Find the option that best matches your setup and fill in the form according to the suggestions there.
- Towards the bottom of the form is a Message authentication method. Set this to MailComment Default.
- Once the form is filled out, click the Test connection button at the bottom of the form. This will check to make sure that Mailhandler can connect with the account.
- If you get a positive result, you're ready to set up Mail Comment. If you get an error message, see the bottom of this section of the Drupal.org handbook page on setting up Mail Comment for troubleshooting suggestions.
There are only a couple of settings that you will need to adjust in the Mail Comment module to get it working.
- First, navigate to Administer > Messaging & Notifications > Mail Comment
- Select the mailbox you just set up for Mail comment-enabled mailboxes.
- Select which content types you would like to enable mail comment for in the Mail comment content types setting.
- Everything else can stay at its default setting. You can learn more about each setting and why you might want to adjust it later on by hovering over it.
- Submit the form to save the settings.
With Mail Comment enabled, a notification is sent from Open Atrium will contain a string towards the top of the message that by default reads ((( Reply ABOVE this LINE to POST a COMMENT ))). As might be expected, when you compose an e-mail in response you should put any new text above that line.
Because there are so many variations in email providers, it's possible that you might run into issues when setting up Mail Comment due to mis-configuration.
- First, read the README.txt files for both the Mailhandler and Mail Comment modules, which contain basic information about requirements and setup. They can be found in the /profiles/openatrium/modules/contrib/mailhandler and /profiles/openatrium/modules/contrib/mailcomment folders.
- Next, take a look through the How to install Mail Comment page on Drupal.org. There are several sections marked TROUBLESHOOTING at various points in the set up process which may be helpful.
- Review the page on Drupal.org regarding which settings to use for various email providers.
- Review the Mailhandler issue queue and the Mail Comment issue queue on Drupal.org to see if you find any issues like the ones you are experiencing. If you don't find any matches, feel free to add an issue.