Mailing lists vs Forums



  • Hi All,

    Recently I noticed that popularity of Qt Forums increased while (at least) Qt interest mailing list decreased. So I'm wondering:

    • Which one is better?
    • Why the community split in two (nearly) different communities?
    • Why Qt project don't use news group just like eclipse.org which can run in web interface (just like forums) and uses just like mailing lists ?

    PS
    Personally I prefer mailing lists because:

    Readable perfectly by e-mail clients (threading, tagging, stars.. etc)

    Read the content at once (no need to notification)

    Attach files

    Good enough for old school dudes :) (that's me voila)

    While forums pros

    Vital for getting point specially for who wants to edit wiki pages

    Solid editor for source code (no one will nagging you please e-mail in plain text & html format)

    Easy to index (nearly in real time) by search engines



  • Forums are far more visibly indexed via Google and a forum thread is also far more useful when linked to from search results. The ideal would be a forum that included mail like the Github Issues tracker where every posted message is also an uncluttered email (not just a spammy half useless notification) and replying to the email appears on the Issues tracker. Best of both worlds!



  • A great deal of programming related concepts appear to be hopelessly stuck in the past, such as mailing lists. I really don't see what kind of an advantage do mailing lists offer, while the downsides are pretty much obvious - abysmal formatting, terrible readability, poor navigation, underwhelming publicity.

    Any feature, be that subscriptions, attachments, user access and whatnot - all of this is perfectly doable in a forum style manner. Better publicity, better visibility, better formatting, contemporary adequate features - all of those can result in improvements in the collaborative process.

    The big question is: "Can an old dog learn new tricks and shake off the old ones?"



  • Mailing-lists have one overwhelming advantage, for me anyway, over everything including the typical social network interfaces (which I do not use) is that the ONLY medium I monitor with any regular reliability is my Inbox. So the advantage mailing-lists offer me is that they appear in that trusty Inbox, so take away my Inbox and I may as well not exist (on the internets) and vice-versa. In 20+ years I haven't seen anything come close to the usefulness of my Inbox despite its shortcomings.

    The answer to your "big question" for me is: when something allows me to emulate what I get out of using Thunderbird with the Conversations add-on on my Inbox then this old dog will happily roll over and wag its tail.



  • Ummm, RSS anyone?


  • Moderators

    The regular Qt contributors need to monitor the bug tracker, gerrit, the mailing list, IRC and also gitorious (not so important anymore!). Some have company-internal services to monitor as well. From my experience a few do read the forums, some check in occasionally, and most simply ignore it completely.

    This is why reporting bugs to the bug tracker is so important: Most devs will simply miss things posted here and the bug report will be lost. Even I am way more likely to respond on mailing list/bug tracker/Gerrit than here and I am by far the most active reader of the forum inside Digia:-)



  • @utcenter: totally agree, RSS feeds ftw.

    This forum has one good feature in that unlike some forums that only send a single message until you revisit the website, chasing adclicks no doubt, this one keeps sending postings to an email address until one unsubscribes. The message that arrives is still rather dumb with useless meta-info but if the thread topic was used as the email Subject, perhaps with a [forum tag], and just the content of the posted message as the email content then receiving emails from these forum threads would be way more comfortable. Some site admin could probably do that in less than a man hours work. Now, if someone could contribute a email2forum filter for replied email messages that auto submit them back into the right forum thread then we'd almost have the idea system... assuming associated per forum thread RSS feeds as well.

    Then it would be super simple to feed bug tracker, gerrit, commits and the mailing-lists into various forum threads (via email) and allow most folks to use this interface to manage how and what they want to follow, either on the web via the forum itself, or via emails from forum threads, or via read-only RSS feeds.

    Spending a few dozen man hours to create an email2forum filter and then channelling most non-IRC communications through this enhanced forum/email/rss system would help pull together and centralise all the otherwise fragmented Qt comms channels.



  • [quote author="markc" date="1359177286"]The ideal would be a forum that included mail like the Github Issues tracker where every posted message is also an uncluttered email[/quote]
    +1 although I mentioned that above

    [quote author="utcenter" date="1359180514"]I really don't see what kind of an advantage do mailing lists offer, while the downsides are pretty much obvious - abysmal formatting, terrible readability, poor navigation, underwhelming publicity.[/quote]
    All that can be fixed in case of using modern mailing lists which they can work as forums & mailing lists.

    [quote author="utcenter" date="1359180514"]Any feature, be that subscriptions, attachments, user access and whatnot[/quote]
    Oh stop there, Qt forums don't allow users to upload any kind of attachments while you can do that in mailing lists.

    [quote author="utcenter" date="1359180514"]The big question is: "Can an old dog learn new tricks and shake off the old ones?"[/quote]
    I'm absolutely agree with you but until now Qt forums don't give me the complete freedom as mailing lists do, specially with the strange rules which they are different from other forums!

    [quote author="utcenter" date="1359180514"]is that the ONLY medium I monitor with any regular reliability is my Inbox. So the advantage mailing-lists offer me is that they appear in that trusty Inbox, so take that away and I may as well not exist[/quote]
    +1

    [quote author="Tobias Hunger" date="1359190645"]I am by far the most active reader of the forum inside Digia:-)[/quote]
    Well is there any way to discuss this with a decision maker(s) in Qt project because until now I can see that merging mailing lists with forums will help the community to be more active... what do you see?



  • bq. Oh stop there, Qt forums don’t allow users to upload any kind of attachments while you can do that in mailing lists.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I never said it should be exactly like this particular forum. There are plenty of forums out there that do allow uploads.

    Also, pointing out one's personal preferences as an "advantage" is hardly substantiating - poor villagers only use shovels, but this hardly gives the shovel an advantage to an agricultural tractor. More like a case of limited choice...



  • [quote author="Tobias Hunger" date="1359190645"]The regular Qt contributors need to monitor the bug tracker, gerrit, the mailing list, IRC and also gitorious [/quote]

    Any particular reason all those cannot be substituted by a single and more scalable solution, version control aside? More expressive, under one roof, more accessible, more informative... I bet it won't hurt.

    There is a fine line between simple and primitive, there is nothing simple in scouring across vast piles of ill-formatted ASCII.


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