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Mailing lists vs forums
Posted Mar 19, 2010 11:54 UTC (Fri) by jengelh (subscriber, #33263)
At a good mailing list, you can just say "now I'm in" and "now I'm out". There is usually no password (or you can ignore it). You don't have to remember your username after three years of inactivity (I think I now have four accounts at the gcc bugzilla).
Posted Mar 19, 2010 17:59 UTC (Fri) by man_ls (subscriber, #15091)
Posted Mar 20, 2010 7:39 UTC (Sat) by robla (subscriber, #424)
So, mailing list process:
1. Send mail to mailing list
2. Watch it bounce because I'm not a member, or worse, see it get held in
the moderation queue which may very easily also have 600 pieces of spam
that the administrator is never going to read.
3. Grudgingly sign up for mailing list
4. Send email
5. Filter out 15 pieces of email on the latest flamewar to erupt over the
new variable naming standard
6. Get response
7. Filter out 20 more emails because I forgot to unsubscribe
8. Go to the unsubscribe link...realize that I forgot the throwaway
password I used
9. Do the password recovery dance and unsubscribe
Compare that to forums:
1. Get an account
2. Check "[x] No email"
3. Ask question
4. Check back a few times over the course of a couple days
5. Get response
6. Forget my password, which is ok because I'm not sure I'm ever going to
need it again.
It's all a matter of taste, but as a community manager, I got schooled on
this one. I was a big mailing list bigot myself, and had to be convinced
to use forums for some things. Having the forums turned out to be a better
way to communicate with users of the project. Mailing list subscription
just has more perceived friction than forum signup, even if they're roughly
Posted Mar 20, 2010 7:54 UTC (Sat) by man_ls (subscriber, #15091)
There is something I dislike about mailing lists which is having to decide each time if I send mail to sender, to list, to sender cc list, to sender and everyone else cc list... Each list has its own policy (which I can't find anywhere) and each subscriber has a different policy too: "Don't CC me, I'm on the list", "Please CC me as I'm not subscribed" and I can't ever remember which is which. Hey, get a good mail reader which keeps threads together and ignores duplicates!
Posted Mar 20, 2010 11:58 UTC (Sat) by jengelh (subscriber, #33263)
You are being unfair on the mailing list process. Sourceforge for example is a large platform that uses Mailman, and so even trying step 1 and 2 is like people sending "unsubscribe" messages to linux-kernel@ rather than majordomo@. To unsubscribe from Mailman, you don't need a password that is, if you do the unsubscribe by mail rather than going through the extra hassle of the web interface.
Compare with forums:
7. Iff you need it again, you'll have to do the password recovery dance.
8. Filter out all the newsletter stuff they send you anyway.
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