>Wikis help a little with the later issue --- the "front" of a given
>wiki page will tend to show a derivative of the original question
>(and hopefully its answer) in a vetted, revised, form with the s
>tupidity (ambiguities, tangled semantics, awkward grammar, etc)
This is the "myth of the wiki"; but it just isn't true. The vast vast majority of Wikis are
1.) Many of the kind of people who send e-mail noise simply won't and don't search first;
they will never see or use a Wiki, BLOG, etc... Thus wikis create more work (assuming they get
maintained at all) and don't do anything to solve the problem [at least this problem].
2.) Maintaining a useful Wiki requires maintainers who actually know what the reader wants to
know, for OSS this is usually the developer. So then the developer isn't coding. Even
really successful projects like Samba have Wikis of dubious usefulness.
3.) Wikis, unlike things like e-mail, run the risk [and very frequently do - see n-number of
various Wiki entries about LDAP] of capturing and quasi-canonifying out-of-date, stale, or
I realize the "social networking" is all the craze, but most of the time it doesn't do
anything but raise the noise side of the signal:noise ratio.
Perhaps "dumb" e-mails and the like are just an inherent inefficiency in the Open Source
process. The best practice I can think of is for developers [including me] to get better at
just ignoring them; sometimes being a jerk works.