[OSM-dev] Mailing list -> forum? NO!

Joerg Ostertag openstreetmap at ostertag.name
Wed Apr 26 14:21:42 BST 2006

Short resume:
  +1  : keeping the mailing-list
  +1  : care about your "reply headers"
  +1  : keep the Subjects meaningful and informative
  -10 : having to read a Forum!!

Long Story:

On Wednesday 26 April 2006 12:25, Immanuel Scholz wrote:
> Hi,
> I find it hard to follow diskussions as the volume of the list increases.

Yes it gets more and more difficult every day.

> Sometimes, there are just so much new posts mixed together (people don't
> always use proper header tags for thread-replying) that I am bored to sort
> out the topic's I am interested in.

I think the problem of categorizing stuff is not really a problem of the 
mailing-list. It's a problem of the people handling the medium.
Wouldn't it be better if we all try to:
 - Set our reply headers much more accurate.
 - Start new threads as soon as we start a new subject.
 - Reflect the new subject in the Subject field
 - Keep the Subjects meaningful, informative and related to the content
 - Split threads as it is needed. 
 - Start new Threads if it's needed.
 - Put all development stuff to the dev list

> Also, I have caught me now several times, that I don't write an answer,
> just because I think "someone else is surely already replying just now".

I can't see the difference to a forum. Or do you repeatedly reread all old 
messages in a forum to see if there is still no reply to some questions?
If so; it shouldn't be any difference if you do this with the mailing-list. 
If you think it's easier to look through all the messages in a web-interface 
we have the archive: 
Searching can easily be done with:
 google "bla...  site:lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk/"

> And searching through older posts is not *that* comfortable with my email
> client here.

Sorry, i think this is kind of a problem with your mail-client. 
I myself use kmail:
 - It threads all that stuff really easy.
 - It can fold in and out every thread.
 - It can search for any combination of 
      Subject, message-body, headers, ...; 
   And if this is not enough for searching I even can use 
   regular expressions for the search.
   Just anything I currently can think of for searching.
 - every message read is marked as read
 - any thread without new messages is colapsed
 - any new message in the mailing-list is highlighted
 - If I want to have another look at a mail which sounds interesting 
   or sounds like I maybe should answer it later I can set a marker or 
   move it into a TODO Folder

> We had at least one guy asking for a forum rather than a mailing list yet
> (and not much people ask in *mailing lists* for a forum. If I remembered
> correctly, he would also helping setup and maintaining it :).

This sounds nice, and I appreciate any help for the project. 
But we would need a link between the currently working mailing-list and the 
forum. This link/program has to forward messages from one medium to the other 
AND back. If wou don't have something like this it would split the people 
between the mailinglist and the forum into two fractions.

> It is very time consuming to me, to even sort  
> out all new threads that don't interest me. 

As already stated; i think you'll have this problem even more in a forum. 
I just remember using the forums which are provided for DAoC players(I had to 
read them some time ago to stay up to date). I really had some problems: 
Always having to click through all the subthreads regularly. And then have a 
look at all those to see if something new came in. Then I always was able to 
have a look at all the dump^h^h^h^h^h interesting avatars, footers, ... 
almost everyone seems to be proud of. These sometimes even took a complete 
screen (and mine is 1200px in height with a 8pt Font). If this is no useless 
waste of time and Bandwidth? I really don't know.

> For my case, happily this 
> currently leads to the fact that I read almost every thread. 

I think currently we have many many changes in any part of OSM. So we 
naturally have really many threads and rely much traffic on the list. 

> But if the 
> volume increase futher, I will surely don't have the time to do so and
> maybe tempted to just ignore most new threads. I know of at least one guy
> who didn't join the list because of the volume and the inadequate ways to
> filter out threads of interest.

Hopefully the mail volume will decrease again as soon as we have settled some 
stuff here.
And hopefully the people are taking much more care on there Subjects and reply 
behaviour after this thread.

> Mailing lists are to me more a thing of "wakeup call", to announce
> something or for things that really need to reach the people. I would not
> classify much of the current traffic under this category.

No; most of the stuff here is not really an announcement. I think a 
mailinglist "osm-announcements" would make sense. This way everyone 
interested in everything new can join this list. 

> I assume, that with a forum scales better in terms of lucidity and is much
> more efficient for people in handling different discussion threads.

   I disagree with your opinion completely !!

> So my question is: How much traffic is tolerable until we close the
> mailing list and switch to a forum?

Please don't close the mailing-list. Keep your Headerfiles clean by replying 
correctly and really start new threads for new subjects!!


So my personal conclusion is:

 -10 : having to read a Forum (in addition)


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