Message boards via e-mail, not Gemini

cmccabe at cmccabe at
Fri Jan 8 14:17:24 GMT 2021

Hi All.

On this topic, yet digressing a bit from Gemini, I started working on a
bulletin board (and more*) system that supports full interaction via email --
and only via email. The system is called friSBEe, where the SBE stands for
service by email.  I created it at the beginning of this year but haven't
touched it much since.  It's pretty raw, but also very flexible and could
easily be extended to support Gemini connections.

If you're interested in this, check out:  And
feel free to contact me if you would like to test it out.

* features include a BBS, a blog system, a choose-your-own text adventure,
  messaging between users (yes, text messages on top of text email), and a few


On Fri, Jan 08, 2021 at 03:02:41PM +0100, nothien at wrote:
> I've been reading recent threads about message boards on Gemini, and
> thinking about the idea of gemlog-based replies (which have been around
> for quite a while now).  People have been dedicating a lot of time and
> thought to making messageboard-like systems work over Gemini (e.g. ew0k
> and their CGI script for receiving notifications to replies to gemlogs,
> and see the more recent threads), but I don't see the point of doing
> this.  We already have e-mail based message lists, and we've been using
> them neatly for long-form (and to a lesser extent medium-form and
> short-form) discussions for a while now.  E-mail has some of the
> following advantages:
> * decentralized / federated: there's no single source for e-mail,
>   everybody has copies of the entire thing.  People can also make e-mail
>   threads, particularly of messageboards/lists publicly accessible, like
>   the archives for this mailing list, at
> * well-established system: e-mail has been around for way longer than
>   Gemini has.  I know we all here love Gemini, but e-mail is going to
>   work better for a lot of people.  There are already tons of e-mail
>   server setups and mail clients which people use - there's no need to
>   develop more.
> * notifications: people subscribed to a mailing list get mails, and
>   everyone already checks their mail.  There's no need to make new
>   applications to poll gemini pages to see if there are replies or
>   anything.
> * just as much variety in mail content: by default, we use text/plain
>   here, but MIME was created for e-mail in the first place.  If you're
>   in love with Gemtext, just send text/gemini e-mails - we can read
>   them, they're plain text.
> Instead of creating message board systems on Gemini, create servers /
> libraries to view e-mail archives on Gemini.  I argue that Gemini is not
> designed to handle back-and-forth communication, but rather to serve
> information in a single direction.  We must only use protocols for
> things they are well-suited to handle, otherwise we risk losing their
> original purposes and leave behind a fog of unhelpful but deep-rooted
> conventions.
> Of course, I may be wrong.  These are just my thoughts on this.  What
> are yours?
> ~aravk | ~nothien
> P.S: If you don't like e-mail because it's too difficult to work with,
> but you like UNIX / shell scripts, check out leahneukirchen's mblaze on
> github.

More information about the Gemini mailing list