A proposal/idea was put forward from the WordCamp community for us to provide a shared open-source FreeScout instance, in addition to GSuite accounts, rather than every event which wishes to use it setting it up themselves.
Using HelpScout for these is not currently viable due to the cost of provisioning accounts for all events, although larger events may already budget for it themselves (Such as WCUS, WCAsia uses a self-hosted FreeScout instance).
Before any further investigation is put in from our side, I’d like input from Systems on whether this is something that we can provide on our infrastructure, if there are any security concerns, or if this is something we should look at hosting outside of the primary WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ infrastructure/domains.
Ideally, we’d probably want to host it on a wordcamp.org subdomain, but wordpress.net, or a new domain such as
wordcamp-email.com wouldn’t be out of the question.
Authentication would likely be handled through WordPress.org/WordCamp.org, rather than duplicate accounts. We could potentially limit all access to the host with an authentication check that requires a WordCamp.org role, limiting any potential security aspects to those we trust to have WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. access.
FreeScout would require an often-run cron task (PHPPHP PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. http://php.net/manual/en/intro-whatis.php. CLICLI Command Line Interface. Terminal (Bash) in Mac, Command Prompt in Windows, or WP-CLI for WordPress.), php (with IMAP), and mysqlMySQL MySQL is a relational database management system. A database is a structured collection of data where content, configuration and other options are stored. https://www.mysql.com/..
Email ingestion would be similar to how SupportPress/SupportFlow used to work, the cron task uses IMAP to poll the accounts. This could become problematic if we have a lot of inboxes provisioned. It remains to be seen if this is viable with how Google Inboxes are configured as to how IMAP access works.
Email sending would either be direct from the host, via Google SMTP, or via WordPress.org SMTP.
Ongoing maintenance, such as software upgrades, would likely need to be handled by the WordCamp development team. Systems involvement would hopefully be minimal.
This isn’t intended on replacing our usage of HelpScout, unless it proved to be as stable and feature-complete, then that may be looked at later on.