Mailing list and fora are both text media, supporting branching
conversations. The only difference is the method of delivery and reply (email
vs. web). As mailing list/ forum software continues to be developed, the
distinction between the two is breaking down, because it makes sense to use a
package that allows people to participate through either email or web
interfaces, as they prefer.
Many modern mailing list server packages (like GroupServer) support
forum-style subcription management, message searching, and direct replies.
Many modern web forum server packages (like Discourse) allow for email
delivery and replies. Loomio enables text discussions through both web and
email, as well as decision-making using a variety of poll types (so more
suited for teams than casual, open-ended discussions).
I think it would make sense to have a unified set of software freedom fora,
on one website, with a range of topic-based fora, and help fora for specific
projects (eg libre distros, specific applications and so on). The question is
how would we get a critical mass of people together who have time to admin/
moderate/ participate, and how would we make decisions about where to host,
which software to use, what to call it etc?
Maybe, if we want to get really ambitious, we could try to create a federated
set of fora? Could ActivityPub or another standard(s) be used to federate
multiple forum packages on multiple hosts, so that people can read, join, and
post to the Trisquel-users forum from any of those hosts? The could help to
solve the problems of fragmentation (different groups silo'd on different
hosts), without trying to herd everyone onto one host.