[swift-evolution] [Discussion] mailing list alternative

Jacob Bandes-Storch jtbandes at gmail.com
Wed Jan 25 23:26:19 CST 2017

On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 8:28 PM, Chris Lattner via swift-evolution <
swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:

> On Jan 25, 2017, at 6:57 PM, Xiaodi Wu <xiaodi.wu at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.
>> FWIW, I subscribe to many mailing lists in gmail and have it auto filter
>> emails to mailing lists into a separate mailbox (well, really, tags) for
>> each list.  It works great for me.
>> This doesn’t detract from your point about it being a commitment though.
> It does kind of imply a follow-up question, though: is it _undesirable_
> that signing up for a mailing list is a modicum of commitment?
> I’m mixed on that.  On the one hand, it is great to have some level of
> commitment before people inject their opinion into the mix for some
> discussion.  OTOH, I’m sympathetic to the desire that a lot of people want
> to just “follow along” without participating, and the mailman web interface
> is pretty uninspired.

...not just uninspired, I'd go as far as saying it's hostile to discussion
— due to the way messages are (or aren't) organized in the pipermail
archive, it's often impossible to get a single link that encompasses the
entire discussion so far, so linking between threads is painful, not to
mention properly threading discussion in the first place. Quoting other
messages is left up to individual mail clients, which don't agree with each
other on formatting, and code blocks are similarly tragic.

On the other hand, I can link you directly to an individual post in a
231-message discussion thread about a Rust feature:
...glance through it for some great expandable inline quotes, syntax
highlighting, etc.

IMO, the only thing that makes the mailing list more of a "commitment" than
a forum is that the sign-up interface is harder to use, so it takes more
effort up front. Once you've signed up, it's not that much *extra* effort
to set up digests, or cancel your list membership, which might both be
viewed as "lower-commitment" options.

> -Chris
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