[swift-evolution] [Discussion] mailing list alternative

Charles Srstka cocoadev at charlessoft.com
Wed Jan 25 15:06:20 CST 2017

> On Jan 25, 2017, at 2:05 PM, Ted Kremenek via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> I’d like to understand more the subjective comments on this thread, such as "may intimidate newcomers”.  This feels very subjective, and while I am not disagreeing with that statement I don’t fully understand its justification.  Signing up for mailing lists is fairly straightforward, and one isn’t obligated to respond to threads.  Are forums really any less “intimating”? If so, why is that the case?  Is this simply a statement about mailing lists not being in vogue?

Signing up for mailing lists is straightforward, yes—but that’s only a small part of it. Signing up for a mailing list is a *commitment.* Once you do it, your inbox will be inundated with mailing list posts, making it difficult to find messages that actually have been intended for you personally. Therefore, you’ll have to deal with that somehow. You can set up rules in Mail to route mailing list posts to a separate folder, but that won’t help you if you access your webmail from a public machine. Therefore, you pretty much need to go set up a separate e-mail address for the mailing list, and then wade through the topics, 99% of which might be things you don’t care about, in order to follow the 1% that you do. Oh, and you’d better remember to clean out your folder/separate mail account every once in a while, or before long there’ll be 10,000s of messages in there, and your Time Machine backups will take a geological age.

What if you just wanted to show up and ask one question? Suppose you had one certain problem that you wanted to ask swift-users for help on. In order to post, you have to sign up. In order to sign up, you have to create the separate aforementioned e-mail address or mail rule. Then, once you’ve signed up, you have to keep track of your question among all the active threads going on at the moment, and the e-mails will keep coming in indefinitely. Sure, you can unsubscribe once it seems like your thread has run its course. But what if you’re wrong? What if, shortly after you remove yourself from the list, someone posts some really helpful bit of information to the thread? You’ll never see it. Even if you stay subscribed to the list, you may never see it, because unless you’re setting up special Mail rules for every thread you’re interested in, a new message in that thread might get buried in the noise of other threads which aren’t interesting to you (and even if you do make a rule, it may fail if, for example, the participants end up changing the thread subject header).

With a web forum, you just sign up for notifications on the threads you want, and get notified when something happens in that thread. You don’t have to get any notifications/emails for irrelevant threads. It’s simple, easy, and with much less of a commitment, which makes it *much* less intimidating.


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