The migration happened fairly recently for a variety of reasons. The
biggest concern was to move away from Google Groups as a proprietary
solution for hosting community discussions (amongst other concerns about
if Google was planning to pull the plug or not). The move to Discourse
was an attempt to find a middle ground between an open source solution,
a friendly user interface, and backwards compatibility with older methods.
For example, for the Open Labs Discourse, I have enabled mailing list
mode for how I use the forum. This allows me to receive all threads to
my email client just like I would with a normal mailing list. I can
reply to emails from my mail client and they will go to the thread as
expected too. I can also start new threads from email by sending an
email to email@example.com (as I have done with this email). It
took me maybe five minutes to set up new filters to sort and categorize
the Discourse posts to my folder for Open Labs mail.
If you prefer to use email, I would recommend you to enable mailing list
mode and set up your filters that way, and you’ll hardly notice a
difference. I rarely log onto the Discourse site and do most of my
replying / discussion from my email client.
Just as an afterthought, I think it’s important to be cautious about how
we look at things like communication platforms and associations about
why someone does or does not use them. I think calling it an age thing
is missing the mark. With IRC, for example, it has many issues and
usability issues for people who are not on reliable, persistent Internet
connections. There’s not an effective way to ensure the delivery of
messages, and IRC is a barrier for involving more people with open
source when they can’t stay connected for longer than a few minutes if
there happens to be something like a storm or electricity flashes that
prevent them from remaining connected.
This is why I am excited about things like Matrix / Riot, which provide
a modern solution to these problems by building on top of IRC and
integrating effectively with it. I have an article coming out on
Opensource.com in the next week that introduces Matrix / Riot, and I
will be sure to share it here once it is public!
However, I would like to end on the note of being cautious about how we
draw conclusions or make assumptions like this. They can have the
accidental effect of being demotivational and discouraging to people who
are actively trying to participate and get involved, but might have
factors outside of their control that make this a challenge. I would
encourage us to be supportive of this transition to an open source
solution and find ways to make this work for our existing setups, like
mailing list mode.