[typo] Typo Forums?

Freedom Dumlao freedom at freedomdumlao.com
Sun Dec 4 09:29:20 EST 2005

On Dec 4, 2005, at 8:26 AM, Victor Jalencas wrote:

> 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.
If I were a *new* user, I would have no idea *who* to ask.

>> 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
While this may seem practical, the exact scope is not immediately  
obvious, not to mention that Google does not index frequently enough  
to make this really practical.

>> 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
Once again, the archive is not easily searchable, and why on earth  
would we want to rely on Google and other bloggers for our support  
system, its like saying "if you need help, go somewhere else!"

>> 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,
phpBB keeps track of this for all registered users

> and how does it notify me of new posts?
it notifies you by email if any thread or forum has been updated, or  
you could log in

> How does it
> know if I'm accessing anonymously from an internet cafe?
you log in, just the same as if you were checking email

> 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?
most forums allow you to simply go to the last page automatically

> Yes, of course, you can paginate
> the posts, but I don't call that accessible.
Obviously, the concept of accessible is *relative*, I have no problem  
with pagination. Also, this format would keep all the contents of one  
thread in one easily accessible place so someone new who hasn't yet  
joined the mailing list can easily get the info.

>> 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
For example, if I only wanted to see this thread

>> 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.
Yes but you *can* opt not to use it as your sole source of archives

>> 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?
No that is not my presumption at all. I think it would be nice to see  
a main website that would connect you to the various parts of the  
community, for example, link me to trac for development, link me to  
forums for support, link me to downloads for a list of them, etc..

>> 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?
More popular as far as *userbase*.  While mailing lists are quite  
common in developer communities, they are largely unknown amongst end  
users. Head over to MT or WordPress or even TextPattern's site and  
find the mailing list. These are the 2 most popular blogging systems,  
and less popular one, all with forums available for support.

>> 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
> windows
I dont use windows. I do have a news reader however and I am  
comfortable using it.

> (which I assume is what most offices and internet cafes use today)
This is a terrible assumption. My office uses Outlook, but is  
filtered exclusively to our exchange server. Internet cafes more  
often then not do *not* provide an email client at all. Only web.

> In any case, I wouldn't expect my boss to tolerate me browsing typo
> posts while at work.
Im sure your boss wouldn't. Mine does. But the corporation is not  
going to relax its filtering system for a couple of end users.

>> 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)
My webserver has 99.9% uptime. If its ever down, it will be up again  
within 5 minutes. Not to mention it is backed up nightly.

> * 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 must register for the mailing list, and sign into the email  
server. And you are correct that it would be undesirable to allow  
anonymous posting as that does generate spam. But what is stopping a  
spammer from signing up for this list...

> * 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)
Actually, I am a frequent user of Lynx, and I am happy to report that  
it has EXCELLENT table support.

> * 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)
I agree this is a forums biggest challenge. The best way to solve it  
is relatively unkown,  but I believe this is a challenge that is  

> * 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.
I agree. And truly if an opensource forum is running ads, they had  
better be donating proceeds to the development of the project. IMHO.

> * Mail messages are easier to parse.
Sure, but why do you need to parse them, when they are already in an  
easy to use format.

> 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.
I appreciate that. I certainly would like to provide a support forum  
for the community, and am fully willing to do so. I however could not  
offer the bulk of support myself. Someone earlier on made the  
statement that we should link up the forums to the mailing list, and  
this is *very* easy to do. This would allow both options to exist in  
tandem, both carrying the same information. This could give those who  
want it choice. I would not think of making such a move without  
approval from the community though. Because the community would be  
the sole source of support for the forum.

>> 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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