Forums vs Mailing Lists

Daniel Robitaille robitaille at
Fri Dec 23 04:06:52 GMT 2005

> Ubuntu is a them, us and the others distro.  The developers (them) are
> sacrosanct and even e.g. questioning the BS sudu policy of Ubuntu will
> get a flame war and a thread locked.  Then there are 'the users'  ...
> and finally the others are the Debian developers.  end of the day the
> users are not in the same community as the developers or the debain
> developers.
> Lets see:  Most or many of the Debian and Gentoo developers are
> programmers and package for Debain as well.  Most Ubuntu 'developers'
> seem to spend more time as hackers modifying packages to work on
> Gentoo.  Fine they are needed too but not exclusively.  Ubuntu couldn't
> exist without Debian.... (this will also be expanded) however what
> really sucks about Debain and what keeps it back is lack of a proper
> forum.  The community is distributed in the mailing lists and so its
> inclusive/exclusive more than distro's with well organised forums.
> Unfortunately Ubuntu has inherited this problem too.  These forums are
> the worst of any MAJOR distro.  The ratio of questions to answers and
> noobies to guru's is astounding.  Gettign an answer to a real question
> here is almost impossible unless you bump the post every day for a
> month until someone who knows more than a complete noob finally sees
> the post and even then you need to write in baby language ... you can't
> just write the question succinctly like you could on the Gentoo forum.

That posting from a Forum user raises all sort of issues in my mind:

a) the disconnect between the Forum and the Developers.

It seems there is perceived gap between users of the forum  and the
"developers", and an apparent feeling that developers ignore the

Personally as an Ubuntu user, I very rarely use forums.  Maybe it's
because I'm old school, but I'm not comfortable with the medium.  I'm
a lot more organized via mailing lists and the search button in gmail
or my mailer.  And if I really need to talk to an Ubuntu developer,
i'm sure I can reach him relatively quickly via emails, IRC, of one of
the mailing list.  But I guess my personal opinion that the Ubuntu
developers are very easy to reach solely based on the fact that I'm
usually on this  side of the forum/mailing list fence.

b) the lack of quality of the Ubuntu forums versus others like Gentoo's forums

It is because developers and some of the Ubuntu users are ignoring the
forums that the quality is apparently low?  (obviously I cannot
comment on this quality of the forums due to my lack of forum history)

I find it interesting to see that someone can think that because
Ubuntu activities are mailing list based, that create an
"inclusive/exclusive" separation; anyone can join the lists.

I'm not sure it is a good thing on the long run to have a growing
resentement that we have 2 separate community, one mailing list based,
and one forum based, and the developers tend to hang in one side of
the fence.  But is there anything we can do?  It's not like we can
force people to join the forums, and we cannot force people to join
the mailing lists.

Daniel Robitaille

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