[swift-evolution] [Swift4] Mailing list vs. Forum

Brent Royal-Gordon brent at architechies.com
Mon Aug 1 17:03:16 CDT 2016

> On Jul 29, 2016, at 6:22 PM, Jacob Bandes-Storch via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> We've discussed forums on swift-evolution before. Maybe it's time for another go, with Swift 3 winding down.
> For context, prior discussions are on this thread: https://lists.swift.org/pipermail/swift-evolution/Week-of-Mon-20151207/001537.html
>   (-1 for mailman: it's hard for me to even properly find & link to all the prior discussion about mailing lists, because of how mailman's archive works...)
> News in the last few days is that Gmane is at least temporarily disappearing: https://lars.ingebrigtsen.no/2016/07/28/the-end-of-gmane/comment-page-1/#comment-13502
> I'd just like to vote once again for Discourse:
> - Excellent web interface, from the people who brought you Stack Overflow  (built-in search, etc.)
> - Read via email if that's your thing: it has "mailing list mode" which includes 1-email-per-post, if that's your cup of tea
> - Reply via email if that's your thing
> - It's open source itself
> - I believe it has ways of getting content as JSON and/or RSS, so I'd hardly say "can be adapted into other forms" is an exclusive feature of email.
> And, Discourse provides free hosting for community-friendly open-source projects. I strongly suspect Swift would qualify for this.
> There have been several people on this list arguing in favor of mailing lists — I encourage folks to go read the old thread for themselves.
> It's worth noting there are also plenty of voices that don't get heard on this list, because people just don't like using mailing lists. One example: https://twitter.com/pilky/status/755105431555608580 

I don't think enough has been said in favor of mailing lists. Some advantages for them:

1. Available on every platform.

2. Performant on every platform. (Discourse, for instance, struggles on Android.)

3. Native on every platform.

4. Based on open standards with multiple implementations.

5. Does not require you to proactively check swift-evolution.

6. Supports offline reading and drafting.

7. Supports clients with alternate feature sets.

8. Supports bot clients for both sending (like the CI bot) and receiving (like Gmane).

9. Supports user-specific automatic filtering.

10. Users can privately annotate messages.

11. Drafts and private messages are not visible to any central administrator.

12. History is stored in a distributed fashion; there is no single point of failure that could wipe out swift-evolution's history.

13. Usually the medium of choice for large-scale, long-running open source projects.

I could probably go on, but I'll stop here for now.

I would love to have a great web archive for swift-evolution—something with a really solid search function, good threading, and most of the other niceties of forums. It'd even be nice to have an upvote feature. But these are all things that you could do without taking swift-evolution off of email.

Brent Royal-Gordon

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