[swift-evolution] [Discussion] mailing list alternative

Derrick Ho wh1pch81n at gmail.com
Thu Jan 26 12:36:11 CST 2017

I don't like mailing lists since it is very easy to forget about a topic.
What I noticed about mailing lists is that the most controversial topics
live the longest. I think swift-evolution should be able discussing the
stuff that matters for the future of swift.

I think the best choice for that would be JIRA.

The whole swift evolution process can be better streamlined with this tool.
Each proposal goes through different states from development, to awaiting
review, to being approved or rejected.

We can make JIRA a part of the swift-evolution process. By incorporating
the process as part of the workflow. The Jira board allows everyone to see
what stage a proposal is in. You can see which have been rejected,
approved, or defered.

Each proposal can be written as part of a single JIRA story where the story
can be modified after getting feed back. With mailing lists, you need to
pile the most recent thing on the top and hope no one is replying to old
content. The formatting is quite standard and we won't run into weird
formatting issues. People can comment on the issue at hand and not get
lost. People can reference other JIRA tickets which get turned into
clickable links. People can reference other people. This helps when you are
trying to tell one specific person something and not everyone.

JIRA allows you to search for stories. In our case it will be proposals and
we will find an easier time seeing what stage it is in.

Speaking of stages, did everyone know that we are on Swift 4 stage 1? I
didn't I thought we were on swift 3 stage xyz. We can name each board after
the current swift version and stage. Often times a story is not appropriate
for stage 1 and should be discussed again in the next stage. the JIRA board
can be given the current Swift version and stage and anything that needs to
be pushed back can move to a "re-evaluate in next stage" status. Once the
new stage is set, we can simply move the story back in for discussion.

I may not be the best at describing the best parts of JIRA, but i believe
it may make the whole swift evolution process easier.

In summary we should use JIRA because
* Story can be updated.
* No loss in context
* Google searchable
* Story Statuses (i.e. discuss, review, approved, implemented.etc)
* Standard UI
* Stories can reference each other
* Easy sign up
* email support
* attachments

Anyone else +1 JIRA?

On Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 1:33 PM Daniel Duan via swift-evolution <
swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:

I'm actually convinced that I'd rather use an email client. Having to
participate in a web app is a regression in my experience.

Daniel Duan
Sent from my iPhone

On Jan 26, 2017, at 10:15 AM, Adrian Zubarev via swift-evolution <
swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:

Awesome :) Hopefully that will finally convince the people what ‘are
working on this’ to actually make it ;)

I could find some really old threads of mine in just seconds. My mail
client cannot do that job that well.

Cannot wait 🤤

Adrian Zubarev
Sent with Airmail

Am 26. Januar 2017 um 19:03:13, Nate Cook via swift-evolution (
swift-evolution at swift.org) schrieb:

On Jan 25, 2017, at 3:32 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 forged the mighty, turgid rivers of rubyenv, hand-tweaked gem
dependencies, and sed-cleaned mbox files to try this out—you can see the
results of an import (using one or two day old data) at this address:

It looks like the threads were handled properly, though they bear some
obvious marks of their mailing list origins. Users can actually claim their
accounts if they do a password reset. However:
- it's hooked up to a trial SendGrid account, which will top out at 100
- I should probably delete this soon so Google doesn't think it's the real

I might have mentioned this before, but I'm strongly in favor of
forum-based solution over the mailing list (at least for this group), and
Discourse seems to be the best one running right now (and fairly open to
extension and customization). I made a new topic here to demonstrate a
couple features (code blocks and inline images):

Thanks -

swift-evolution mailing list
swift-evolution at swift.org

swift-evolution mailing list
swift-evolution at swift.org

swift-evolution mailing list
swift-evolution at swift.org
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