Setting up a xubuntu-team mailing list

Pasi Lallinaho pasi at
Sat Apr 26 14:16:51 UTC 2014

More comments and replies inline.

On 2014-04-25 20:26, Elfy wrote:
> Some comments in line
> On 24/04/14 23:26, Pasi Lallinaho wrote:
>> Hello there,
>> during the meeting today [1] there was some discussion to set up a new,
>> low-traffic, high-importance list for the Xubuntu team. Only team
>> members could post to the list, but everybody could subscribe to read
>> the list.
>> Topics and tasks for the list would include:
>>   * Voting on project-related questions (currently done during the meetings)
> This should only be members of -team anyway (relates to a later point) 

I'm bringing this up because with a mailing list where only team members 
could send email, votes would be much saner to run than in a list where 
everybody can have an email.

The reason we might want to use a mailing list instead of voting during 
a meeting is that in that case, everybody in the team would have an 
equal opportunity to vote regardless of their timezone.

>>   * Announcing meeting minutes and monthly team reports
> Shouldn't those be for the Xubuntu Community 

As said, everybody should be able to subscribe (think: read) the list. 
There are many -announce lists in the Ubuntu ecosystem, and IMO, they 
work pretty well.

I would imagine there are a lot of people who want to follow the Xubuntu 
development, but would not like the occasional outburst of borderline, 
or way irrelevant mails to this list. The new list would allow this.

>>   * Calls for testing, or request for other input
> This will not work with regard to -qa - we use more than just the dev 
> list to call for testing. Also get more response to calls from testing 
> from those people than anyone in -team.
> We'd have to get people to subscribe to a new list - that likely 
> wouldn't be of much use - just to get testing calls. 

I guess I expressed this in a bit awkward, and incorrect way.

What I was thinking at was mostly developer input for any issues some of 
the team members would like to get, eg. about implementing a specific 
feature. If we need commentary from outside the team, we can always 
temporarily allow certain more people to post to the list, or 
alternatively, manually moderate and accept those emails.

The testing I was referring to was mostly preliminary testing for stuff 
that is about to land in an official testing PPA, or the archive. Though 
I also had in mind the same thing as with the previous question: Some 
people want to follow Xubuntu development, but would prefer a low 
traffic list.

>>   * Other important project announcements
> These should be announced to the Xubuntu Community, 

Again, read the stuff above. Also, nothing stop us from posting to 
multiple lists. Mails to the -team list would be good for searchability 
and completeness.

>> Some of the pros of setting up this new list include:
>>   * The team is currently heavily organized in IRC, moving more of the
>> important communication to a low-traffic mailing list could make
>> contributing less exclusive
>>   * A low traffic list would be easier to read for the team members as
>> well as other people digging up decicions and important milestones later
> These points are the ones that made me think of this in the first place.
> Communication between us in the last cycle left something to be 
> desired - my original thoughts re this new list relate to that only, 
> side benefits being inclusiveness re meetings - during the last cycle 
> we were lucky if we got a third of the team there at meetings.
> Though opening up a new list to more than the things that -team need 
> to discuss will soon negate that 'pro'

I think this is a good point.

However, I don't think the "pro" will be negated. Think it the other 
way: the list should only have things that the -team needs to discuss. 
Announcing meeting minutes in the list as well as some other, but rare, 
pieces of information is also helpful for the team members.

Ultimately, having it all in one place increases searchability and, more 
importantly, transparency.

>> There are some potential caveats to the new list:
>>   * Subject/topic partly overlaps with the current developer list
> Not if we work it properly it won't.
>>   * Not allowing people who aren't team members could make the list seem
>> exclusive (though commenting on issues would still be possible on the
>> development list)
> Some things are exclusive
>> Alternative options include:
>>   * Start using a speficic "tag" for the aforementioned communication
>> (and possibly automoderate non-team members' posts with that tag)
> Not at all sure how a tag will help.
> All that means is that a mail that people are ignoring has a tag - and 
> it's still hidden in the list and the mists of time.
>>   * Increase the strictness of the moderation in the developer list to
>> make it lower traffic and more relevant (con: probably affects list
>> atmosphere and makes the thresold to post too(?) high)
> I'm not sure that this will help to increase communication - which 
> /is/ what my proposal was about.

Agreed, it's not a perfect solution.

Especially considering that it might not be possible to filter out mails 
with that tag sent by non-team members, and/or would face us with more 
moderation work.

>> I hope we can get all the issues raised before the next meeting, and
>> that everybody would have some kind of opinion before the next meeting
>> in two weeks. Start discussing!
>> Cheers,
>> Pasi
>> [1]
> This does all I suppose depend to some extent on what we do with 
> regard to Trello, if we go that way then a mailing list will likely be 
> unnecessary.
> It's certainly a lot easier to work with that - and see the current 
> status of something that trawling a mailing list.

I do agree that these two are partly related, but ultimately, I don't 
think we can compare them.

AIUI, emails from Trello are like notifications of new messages/changes, 
and you would need to use a browser to see the actual changes. Emails to 
the -team mailing list would allow to have the content in your email. I 
would also imagine the content in the emails would be more thought out 
than a quick comment in Trello.

That leads us to the next thing: we need both quick commenting and more 
thought out emails/commentary. This leads me thinking maybe we need 
both. At the end of the day, the new mailing list should be low-traffic. 
Daily communication should still happen in IRC, Trello, or other live 

> Elfy.
> -- 
> Ubuntu Forum Council Member
> Xubuntu QA Lead


Pasi Lallinaho (knome)                      »
Leader of Shimmer Project and Xubuntu       »
Graphic artist, webdesigner, Ubuntu member  »

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