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 PublicLab.org have been from an address called email@example.com -- how unfriendly! But it's because, unlike a mailing list, you couldn't just write a reply email. Remember this?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
This means that, soon enough, we will be relying more on the PublicLab.org 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 PublicLab.org!):
Lots of changes & activity
You may have noticed a lot of changes on PublicLab.org recently -- this has been made possible by a dramatically growing community of software contributors, joining us through our new coding Welcome Page at code.publiclab.org, 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 code.publiclab.org) 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!
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.