The new Northwestern Sports list is ready.
For those of you who only want to read the posts, relax–you don’t have
to do anything at this time! Your posts should continue to come to you
from the old listserver, though they may look a little different and
might take a little longer to arrive.
You may want to sign up for an account on the new site at some point to
participate in the discussions, the URL is http://nu-sports.tssi.com.
See ‘HOW TO GET AN ACCOUNT’ later on in this post.
You may also want to read on to learn about differences in how discourse
works from Mailman (the previous list package.) See ‘HOW IT ALL WORKS’.
For those of you who want to post, you will need to take a few
steps before you can post. Posts to the old listserver site will
get a message saying the post is being held for moderation.
First, you will need an account on the discourse server, which is at
The good news is, you’ve probably already got an account there, maybe even
more than one account! In the process of porting around 50,000 posts over
for the new site’s archives, I had to set up accounts for nearly every email
address that had posted since 2004.
But you need a password to access that account. I used random long
passwords when setting up new accounts, so you’ll need to change your
If you go to the discourse server and try to log in under your email
address, there’s an ‘I forgot my password’ link you can click on and
if your email address is on file, it’ll send you a link to reset the
If it doesn’t find your email address, you can either contact me
(firstname.lastname@example.org) to see if I can find out what email addresses
the new system has on file for you or you can just go ahead and register
for a new account.
Discourse is pretty fussy about email addresses. For example, my posts
may have come from email@example.com or they may have come from
firstname.lastname@example.org and possibly other variants. Discourse
considers email@example.com to be a separate email address than
firstname.lastname@example.org. (You can set up alternate email addresses to post from,
more on that later.)
Once you’re in, you should be able to post using the online interface.
You should also be able to reply to posts received via email and
start new topics via email, the latter requires knowing the right
email address to send it to, details on this are in the ‘Member information’
You should already be added to the ‘Northwestern University Sports List’
group. But you might want to modify the settings for your account,
see the SETTING UP YOUR ACCOUNT section for some of the options available
HOW TO GET AN ACCOUNT
For now this is a closed site with open enrollment. That means
nobody can read it or make posts unless they have an account. I may at
some time open the site to public read-only access. (The archives on
the previous list site were open, though seldom used.)
For now, new accounts have to approved before they are finalized, that’s
just me being cautious, that will probably change soon.
To get an account go to http://nu-sports.tssi.com and click on the
‘Sign Up’ button, fill out the fields and hit ‘Create your account’.
You should get a response from the discourse server to complete the
process of creating your account, though it may not be finalized until
it has been reviewed and approved.
But you’re not done quite yet.
The new server is set up to run multiple independent groups. (Most of
you already know I’ve been running both the Northwestern Sport List and
the Husker List since the early 90’s, and I may create a few more
at some point.)
SETTING UP YOUR ACCOUNT
You’ll need to choose what groups you want to join if you don’t have
any groups selected yet. Click on the ‘Groups’ tab on the left sidebar.
(You might have to click on ‘More’ first.) Then select the groups you want
There are currently 4 groups:
Northwestern University Sports List
The ‘Historian’ groups are for archives of the list before 2022, if you
don’t have any interest in them and don’t join that group, they won’t clutter up your searches.
Posts made this year are in the Archives category that is part
of the Northwestern Sports group, along with 3 active categories for
your posts, a general topic, one specifically for football and one specifically for basketball. (Other categories may follow.)
You’ll probably also want to add the categories from your selected groups
to your list of categories in the left-hand sidebar. Click on the pencil
next to the word ‘Categories’ towards the top of the left hand sidebar, then click on
the + sign in the ‘Categories Section’ box to select the categories you want to show up in
your left-hand sidebar. The other categories in your groups are still
available, just not as convenient to access.
Your profile is controlled from the icon in the upper right hand corner
of the screen. It should have a letter in it based on the first letter
of your account ID. The profile button is at the bottom of the right
hand pop-up list, then click on the ‘Preferences’ gear to edit your
You can add a picture for your profile, add multiple alternate email
addresses and even change your username from the ‘Account’ tab if
you don’t like the one that was pre-assigned during archive transfer.
The ‘Email’ tab allows you to select whether or not to get emails directly
from the discourse server. The lists are in what discourse calls
‘mailing list mode’, which makes it easier to forward posts on to the old
listserver system, but you can opt in or opt out of that. (For accounts
set up by me, your default is to be opted out of emails, for new accounts
you set up yourself, the default is to be opted in to emails.)
It is possible, perhaps even likely, that emails from the new discourse
server will have many of the same issues with email providers that
the current listserver has.
There are many other options discourse offers, I’d try to explain them
all but I probably don’t know them all yet myself.
HOW IT ALL WORKS
This section goes into some of the details behind discourse and the
transition. (The title for this section is a bit of hyperbole, it would
take many pages to explain everything about discourse, and I doubt I
know all the things it can do.)
Discourse is mainly designed for web-based users, but does support mailing
lists, though as I understand it there’s no option to get your own posts
emailed to you, just those of others. I’m using the mailing list mode
to facilitate relaying posts to the old listserver. I don’t have any
immediate plans to shut that server down, but it is very old and might
just fail at some point.
If you have an account that was set up during the transferal of the
archives from the old list site to discourse, you should not be in
mailing list mode. You can opt in to that in your profile.
If you created your own account, then you will be in mailing list mode
by default. You can opt out of that in your profile.
You can post graphics, videos and other cool stuff, but please remember
to respect the copyrights of those who created them. Short excerpts
from other sites with a URL to see the rest are preferred.
Subscribers on the old listserver site may not see graphics and other
things in your posts, though.
Discourse has several real-time features, somewhat similar to Slack.
There are message options (similar to slack channels, I believe) and
real-time one-on-one chat options. I haven’t used them much yet myself,
we’ll probably have to figure them out as we go.
People getting posts from the old listserver may notice some delays.
There are some built-in delays and queues in the server, so it may take
10 minutes or longer for a post that was just made on the discourse site
to be sent out to the subscriber on the old listserver, and for posts being
made by email there’s another built-in delay of about 5 minutes before
those posts even get to the discourse system.
Replies via email should be working, as should creating new topics by email,
but for the latter you’ll need to know the posting email addresses for
each category. These can be found online in the ‘Member information’
You will notice that I’ve put in placeholders in the online interface
for ads, but for now the only ads will be in-house ones.
Discourse’s formatting options can result in things not appearing quite how
you expected them to appear. You can edit your posts if you don’t like
how they came out. There’s a 10 minute grace period on new posts before
they’re sent out via email to anyone.
Don’t be surprised if there’s some tweaking of the settings for a while, I’m
still figuring out what discourse does and how. The ‘Site Feedback’ category is
where you can make suggestions. This category is open to all subscribers.
Mike Nolan, List Manager