[swift-evolution] [Discussion] mailing list alternative

Jacob Bandes-Storch jtbandes at gmail.com
Wed Jan 25 23:53:45 CST 2017

On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 1:32 PM, Douglas Gregor via swift-evolution <
swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:

> On Jan 25, 2017, at 12:05 PM, Ted Kremenek via swift-evolution <
> swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> I have no problem with the project moving to forums instead of the Mailman
> mailing lists we have now — if it is the right set of tradeoffs.
> My preference is to approach the topic objectively, working from goals and
> seeing how the mailing lists are aligning with those goals and how an
> alternative, such as Discourse, might do a better job.
> The current use of mailing lists has been carry-over of how both LLVM does
> public discussion (which is all mailing lists) and how the Swift team at
> Apple has used mailing lists for discussion.  That inertia has benefits in
> that it is a familiar workflow that is “proven” to work — but the doesn’t
> mean it is the best option going forward.
> Here are some of the things that matter to me:
> - Topics are easy to manage and search, with stable URLs for archives.
> - It is easy to reference other topics with a stable (canonical) URL that
> allows you to jump into that other topic easily.  That’s hard to do if you
> haven’t already been subscribed to the list.
> - Works fine with email clients, for those who want to keep that workflow
> (again this inertia is important).
> - Code formatting, and other tools that add clarity in communication, are
> a huge plus.
> 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?
> I do also think the asynchronous nature of the mailing lists is important,
> as opposed to discussions feeling like a live chat.  Live chat, such as the
> use of Slack the SwiftPM folks have been using, is very useful too, but I
> don’t want participants on swift-evolution or any of our mailing lists feel
> obligated to respond in real time — that’s simply not the nature of the
> communication on the lists.
> So in short, using mailing lists specifically is not sacred — we can
> change what we use for our community discussions.  I just want an objective
> evaluation of the needs the mailing lists are meant to serve, and work from
> there.  If moving to something like (say) Discourse would be a negative on
> a critical piece that is well-served by the mailing lists, that would (in
> my opinion) a bad direction to take.  I’m not saying that is the case, just
> that this is how I prefer we approach the discussion.
> I’ve looked into Discourse a bit, and it does look very promising. One
> *specific* way in which a motivated individual could help would be to take
> a look at Discourse’s import scripts
> <https://github.com/discourse/discourse/tree/master/script/import_scripts> and
> try importing swift-evolution’s mailing archives with them. We absolutely
> do not want to lose history when we switch technologies. Do the messages
> import well? Are threading and topics maintained in a reasonable manner?
> Does Discourse provide effective UI for looking into past discussions on
> some specific topic we’re interested in?
> - Doug

I'd be willing to put some time into trying this. But the relevant import
script is for mbox files
Is it possible to publicly share the data files from the swift-evolution
mailman installation, so someone can try importing them?
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