[typo] Typo Forums?

Victor Jalencas victor-typo at carotena.net
Sun Dec 4 08:26:35 EST 2005

Freedom Dumlao wrote:
> The mailing list may be *easy* to sign up for, but it is a pain in  
> the neck to find information on. If you want the answer to one  
> question, you must *subscribe* to the mailing list.
Unless you respond directly to the user. Of course, if you know what to 
respond, chances are you are already subscribed.

> You may decide to  
> do a google search for your answer, but I will tell you that every  
> question I have researched this way has returned results for several  
> different rails apps, and not just typo specifically.
You should restrict the scope to the typo list archive then

> It's  
> frustrating. And when the question is one you are SURE has been asked  
> before, a person is not likely to feel that the question is welcome  
> on the mailing list.
If it's so commonplace, chances are a) the answer is in the archive
b) the answer is published on some blog somewhere

> Another disadvantage to the mailing list is that I have to receive  
> EVERY thread, regardless of weather or not I give a crap about it.
The inverse is true of forums: How do I know I am not missing anything 
interesting? How does the forum keep track of which threads have been 
already read by me, and how does it notify me of new posts? How does it 
know if I'm accessing anonymously from an internet cafe?
Also, do I really need to open a page full of answers to a poster, when 
by looking at the first post I would already know that I am not 
interested? Or, do I need to download and read through the whole thread 
just to read a couple of new messages (one of them being 'me too') when 
a few mail bytes would have sufficed? Yes, of course, you can paginate 
the posts, but I don't call that accessible.

> Yes, all of my typo list stuff is filtered to its own box, but still,  
> watching one thread is not convenient.
I am not sure what you mean by convenience of watching a thread here

> As far as the gmane thing, its nice to have them suck up the info,  
> but the fact is the info is re-displayed in a flat out ugly way. For  
> a piece of software that is so beautiful to use, it sure is ugly  
> trying to get support for it. 
I would say these two statements are unrelated. No one here can control 
how gmane looks like.
> There is just no elegance in a mailing  
> list/NNTP/gmane support system, backed up by Trac, which while a good  
> ticked and development tracking system, is certainly not the ideal  
> solution for a primary website for something like typo.
I disagree. I think mailing lists are more elegant than forums, for 
certain purposes. And this is one of them. But then again, you are 
presuming the main website should be devoted to support. Why not devote 
it to promotion, or to development, or to the community?
> I don't really know what Typo's plans are as far as what it wants to  
> become. With the recent theme promotion and contest, it really seemed  
> like typo was trying to reach out to the masses and say, look at me!  
> But many people will be discouraged by the current support system,  
> especially if they are used to the much more popular support system,  
> the forum.
More popular according to who?

> If Typo wants to become the popular blogging system it deserves to  
> be, it is going to need a more available format. NNTP is nice, but  
> still requires news software to access. I can't get to it from the  
> office at my day job, or from an international internet cafe.
Don't you have outlook express? I thought it still came bundled with 
(which I assume is what most offices and internet cafes use today)
In any case, I wouldn't expect my boss to tolerate me browsing typo 
posts while at work.

> My point is this: a forum is plain EASY to use and everyone is  
> familiar with the concepts. Patching together multiple various  
> technologies and relying GOOGLE to be the lists search engine (which  
> of course wont index every day) is not strong enough to escalate Typo  
> to the usership of other popular systems. Unless the idea is to keep  
> out everyone except those who are already rails initiates, I cannot  
> think of a good reason not to use a forum.
Well, a forum has also certain disadvantages:
* If the forum server falls, you need to use google cache or something 
like that. While I will be able to access my mailing list archive in 200 
years (provided I'm still alive) and see the latest posts in my 
blackberry or PDA (if I had one)
* You need to register (and sign in) when you want to answer a question, 
even when you want to respond individually to a poster. If not 
necessary, forums soon become spamfected
* You need a web browser to access them, with good table support. So, 
lynx is ruled out when you're in a system with shell only access (yes, 
this is far-fetched)
* There's always the need to nominate forum moderators, which need to be 
managed by the maintainer. This reeks of elitism to me (but that's just 
me of course)
* Forum maintainers always find the need to put google ads somehow. I 
respect their need to offset the costs, but then, they shouldn't offer 
to donate resources if they can't keep them up.
* Mail messages are easier to parse.

If you want to devote a forum for support, by all means do so. I don't 
want to appear as if I want to prevent you from doing it, just answering 
your points here. I expect the developers will keep posting on the 
mailing list as well, though.

> On Dec 3, 2005, at 5:57 PM, Justus Pendleton wrote:
>> Freedom Dumlao wrote:
>>> Why don't we have any typo forums?
>> Gmane has a mailing list gateway that presents the list via NNTP  
>> and two
>> different web interfaces.  You can see it here:
>> http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.comp.web.typo.user
>> If the list admins for this group don't mind I'll send email to the
>> gmane people today or tomorrow and have them import the typo list
>> archives into gmane.
>>> I think a forum might be easier to access than the mailing list
>> I think that might be part of why there isn't a forum ;-)  Is figuring
>> out how to subscribe to a mailing list really that big of a hurdle for
>> someone who wants to run a commercially unsupported blog system that
>> depends on a web framework that hasn't had its official 1.0 release  
>> yet
>> and is written in a language that a lot of hosting providers don't  
>> support?
>>> would be much easier to search through and access for new users?
>> You can search the mailing list pretty easily with google right now.
>> Try "site:http://rubyforge.org/pipermail/typo-list/ truncate table
>> users", for instance.  Of course that could be made easier by adding a
>> simple form to the typo website.  If gmane imports the archives  
>> then you
>> can search them from there, as well.
>> --
>> Justus
>> _______________________________________________
>> Typo-list mailing list
>> Typo-list at rubyforge.org
>> http://rubyforge.org/mailman/listinfo/typo-list
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