Forums vs Mailing Lists

Scott angrykeyboarder at
Fri Dec 23 22:18:33 GMT 2005

Michael Shigorin wrote:
> Forums being quite ineffective, it's no surprise.

How do you find forms ineffective?  I'm curious.  I find many of them 
quite useful. in particular is quite good.

Unlike some, I don't find fault with the forums attracting 10 X as many 
new users as do the Gentoo forums.  After all, Ubuntu is targeting new 
(to Linux) users, Gentoo is quite the opposite.  At least this is the 
perception,  anyway.

>> 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'd conclude a few things on Gentoo community if they prefer
> forums as the discussion medium... but folks tend to be offended 
> for a few years

Offended by what?

 >..... -- until they actually find out the scalability
> of forums vs mail/news ;-)

I find forums and mailing lists both have advantages and disadvantages. 
  There are a lot of things you can do on a web forum, because it's the 
web.  You could probably do most of these things on mailing lists, but 
since mailing lists tend to frown on HTML, it makes it difficult.

The forums have been a great source of information for me as well. 
There are a lot of great howtos that have been posted there.  I've not 
seen such activity on mailing lists.    It's not the same as a howto on 
say a wiki, because users can follow-up to the howto in posts, which is 
rather nice.

BTW, what do you mean by "scalability"?

As far as news is concerned, that's what I really miss from "the old 
days".  Usenet is almost forgotten now. At least compared to 5-10 years 
ago anyway.  ISPs keep dropping it (mine is rumored to be considering 
dropping it now as well).

Frankly I'd like to see Usenet expand.  One nice expansion would be 
something on the order of Linux.ubuntu.* or ubuntu.*

As online discussions go,  nothing beats Usenet.  I find it more 
manageable than mailing lists.  I realize the Ubuntu lists can be read 
via feeds to, but that's not the same thing as reading 
them from say, news.

> Actually there *are* a few management things that are possible
> with forums and are hard to impossible with "proper media" (TM)
> but I can't recall exactly what it was (and it's not generally
> available feature(s)).

See above

>> 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.
> It's harder than just dumping stuff into a forum, and a bit "less
> intuitive" to the Pepsi generation than singing up onto a forum.

Uhh.. I'm of the "Pepsi Generation".  I think you're referring to the 
"@" generation. ;-)
Most anyone who first got Internet access after the new millennium began 
knows nothing about mailing lists, or Usenet.  Why? Because the media 
doesn't either.  All they talk about is "The Web".   Therefore 
"help/discussion" only = web.
> There's one constructive bit on this: Mailman badly lacks proper
> MLM features like single sign-on possibility.

Single sign-on for an admin for for a user?

 > That's exactly why
> we're striving with Sympa even if 4.x got broken wrt a few things
> that worked flawlessly in 3.x -- it's actually *easy* there to
> register *one* email address and then pick up the needed number
> of fine-grained mailing lists to one's taste.

I do use a single-sign on for all the lists on  I 
recall having been able make global changes as well.

> Getting lists to helps with those who feel
> incomfortable with this mailman's misfeature to some degree
> though ;-)

The only thing I like about gmane is that it offers Usenet feeds of the 
lists they subscribe to.  Other than that, I find it a bit awkward to 
deal with.  You might as well be using the actual mailing list instead. 
I've tried it a few times and not had much luck getting my posts to make 
their way to the lists.

© 2005 angrykeyboarder™ & Elmer Fudd. All Wights Wesewved

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