[swift-evolution] [Discussion] mailing list alternative
kremenek at apple.com
Thu Jan 26 00:34:04 CST 2017
> On Jan 25, 2017, at 9:45 PM, Jacob Bandes-Storch <jtbandes at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 12:05 PM, Ted Kremenek via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>> 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'm interested in hearing more about the needs you feel the lists are meant to serve. I'm guessing some of this is a strategic matter for the Swift team, not something that all of us here on the list could fully articulate.
> The valuable things I see are:
> - anyone with an idea can discuss it with the community, regardless of their experience with PLs and compilers.
> - multiple community members, and core team members, can collaborate in a discussion or author a proposal.
> - the community can watch and learn from discussion and implementation processes amongst the core team.
> - the core team can disseminate strategic vision and internal decisions that otherwise would have to wait for the release notes or WWDC, or at least a blog post.
I think all of these are important.
> None of these seem specific to any particular message board/system, except that they are much more easily attainable with a highly asynchronous system, like you mentioned.
The current set of lists serve different purposes for different audiences.
I suspect those participating on the *-dev lists are mostly fine with keeping those as mailing lists. Those lists are for individuals who want to be continuously plugged into the conversations regarding the development of Swift's implementation, and the volume of discussion there has tended to be far more manageable than on swift-evolution.
For swift-evolution and swift-users, I suspect forums would be a better model. It allows people to jump into specific discussions more easily, especially if a discussion has already started but they aren't permanently subscribed the feed of all chatter on the list. The Mailman archives aren't "interactive" in that one can jump in on a thread; if you missed the thread you essentially missed participating in it, and have to start a new one if you want to continue a topic. Forums like allow participation on swift-evolution to be more intermittent — facilitating (temporary) wider participation on topics that have broader interest to more of the community because of the (possibly) lower barrier to entry the ability to jump in on an ongoing topic without needing to always be subscribed to everything. I see some huge advantages there; if we think there is a topic that is of particular interest to the community one can (say) tweet about it to advertise the discussion and draw more immediate participation.
OTOH, I see mailing lists being attractive to those who really want to get the entire feed of discussion, apply post-hoc filtering or other management techniques to prioritize looking at the discussions that interest them.
I'm keenly interested in seeing if we can get both the benefits of forum and mailing lists. If Discourse provides a nice way to integrate into the current email workflow that many of us use — and like — then that seems really promising. The questions that come to mind is whether or not using email would really feel second class or awkward. This includes the formatting of the emails, how easy it is to organize topics, etc.
>>>> On Jan 23, 2017, at 3:18 PM, Ole Begemann via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>>>> Obligatory prior discussion sheds, er, I mean threads:
>>>> / https://lists.swift.org/pipermail/swift-evolution/Week-of-Mon-20160801/thread.html#25765
>>> I haven't followed the previous discussions closely. As someone who mostly follows the discussions passively and only rarely posts something to the list, I have two major complaints with the current situation:
>>> * The disconnect between the messages in my mail client and their URLs in the list archive makes sharing or bookmarking messages a major pain in the ass. If it were possible for each message to contain its own permalink in the footer, I would be much happier. It seems this feature is available in Mailman 3 , but the Swift lists seem to be running on Mailman 2.x.
>>> * The web archive has very bad usability. I suppose design is a matter of taste, but having the archive organized by week is just wrong. This means that readers will regularly miss significant parts of threads that cross week boundaries without even noticing it.
>>> I don't like the mailing lists (and hadn't subscribed to any for close to a decade before Swift), but fixing the above two points would go 90% of the way for me.
>>> If you're counting votes, I'm also +1 for trying out Discourse.
>>> Another, less important complaint:
>>> * Readability is inconsistent because people use different formatting and email allows full control over HTML. I assume a forum that allows Markdown strikes the ideal middle ground between some control over formatting but not needlessly messing with font sizes etc.
>>> I can understand if the Swift team is hesitant to switch to a forum. If you have a working mailing list infrastructure everybody at the company is used to, migrating to a forum is a pretty big undertaking and potential disruption to the workflow. I'm not certain conversations will be much easier to follow in a forum.
>>> I found it very uncomfortable to read the mailing lists in my normal mail client because I want a totally different UI for the two tasks of reading swift-evolution vs. reading my regular mail. But this can be solved pretty easily by using a separate mail client only for the lists. I actually ended up reading the lists in Thunderbird via NNTP on news.gmane.org. Since Gmane is currently reorganizing and not adding new lists, this means I can't do this for new lists like swift-server-dev, but other than that it works well. The biggest downside is that I am limited to one device because read status isn’t synced across devices.
>>> : https://mail.python.org/pipermail/mailman-users/2011-October/072379.html
>>> swift-evolution mailing list
>>> swift-evolution at swift.org
>> swift-evolution mailing list
>> swift-evolution at swift.org
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