I prefer e-mail lists and netnews. Here's why.

C├ęsar Espino cespinoq at gmail.com
Thu Sep 30 02:42:18 UTC 2004

My 2cents, I use gmail to reciebe the mail from this list and if I
want to know some theme in particular only have to search the theme
I'm intresting,


On Wed, 29 Sep 2004 21:31:10 -0500, J.B. Nicholson-Owens
<jbn at forestfield.org> wrote:
> list wrote:
> > It seems that for this sort of heavy traffic, it would be better to have
> > a  forum that people could easily search, post, browse, etc. I get some
> > of my  best tech support on forums, and it seems like it would seriously
> > cut down  on redundant mail list questions.
> I'm sure if you're talking about augmentation or replacement.  I guess I'll be
> the lone voice of dissent in this thread; augmentation sounds fine but I differ
> on replacement.
> I doubt it would cut down on redundancy.  I have yet to see any forum in any
> medium which accomplishes this.  FAQs in plain text strike me as the most
> reasonable attempt of achieving this because it's easily replicated anywhere in
> any medium, but ultimately I believe the problem is not technological.  There
> are more people arriving to the group who are not being taught how things work
> and that means multiple people asking the same questions.  I don't think a
> change in the technology used to read the text is going to produce less redundancy.
> As for the jist of the post regarding setting up a web forum, I don't care for
> web forums.  Here are some of the reasons I don't find web forums as handy or
> worthwhile as e-mail lists or netnews:
> * Posts can be disallowed or edited with little to no opportunity for anyone to
> have received a copy of what was said before.  This can be done either by
> monitoring a queue of posts yet to be made available to others, or after the
> fact by retro-moderation.  E-mail lists are typically handled so posts go out
> the instant someone posts to them, so retro-moderation is ineffective.
> Monitoring the queue could be done but isn't (not here or on any of the other
> lists I subscribe to).
> * Searching (via Google) can be accomplished with anything mirrored to the web.
>   Google also has facilities for browsing netnews which offer some nice search
> qualifiers, but nothing special for web forums.
> * Web forums require yet another login and password (which, in turn, means yet
> another cookie) for me to lose when I post from some other web browser or from
> a computer I don't keep my cookie file on.
> * I can't use the editor I prefer with web forums.  Any editing is prescribed
> for me by the web browser (or, if I have Javascript enabled, by the forum
> software).  I'm currently surveying graphical e-mail clients (I'm using
> Thunderbird now, I'll try Evolution later), but lack of editor flexibility is a
> real problem if I become a more frequent poster.
> * Some web forums don't tell you when someone has followed up to your post so
> it's hard to follow a conversation thread.  Marking interesting threads is also
> unevenly possible.  In general, I'm restricted to whatever the author of the
> web forum software decided would be appropriate, not what I deem worthwhile.
> * I dislike moderation by one's peers on the web forum.  Slashdot's karma
> system, for instance, often produces predictable results which tilt toward
> posts I don't find funny, insightful, or interesting despite their being
> moderated as such.  Insightful follow-ups and corrections go underrated and
> moderation by sorting the posts by previous moderation (thus biasing what gets
> modded further) is too easy.  Moderation can be completely ignored by me, so it
> doesn't adversely affect my reading until interesting questions don't get
> moderated up and (because so many read by sorting threads or posts by scores)
> don't get answered.
> * Forums typically offer a single point of failure: when the forum goes away
> for whatever reason, so does all the wisdom posted there.  All sorts of links
> pointing to posts there will go bad with no hope of pointing them somewhere
> else equivalent.  By contrast, netnews is mirrored by design, e-mail storage is
> up to each mailing list participant.
> * Netnews and mailing lists are far more offline-friendly than web forums.
> It's hard to participate in Slashdot offline, for example.  Mail-to-web
> gateways are clumsy.
> So if we're talking about a mailing list/netnews hierarchy/web forum that all
> mirror to each other and allow participation via any of those points, I say
> that sounds fine.  But if the idea is to switch to a web forum because it
> ostensibly scales better, I disagree.
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