Why you won't find me in the forum much

marcus.3.fletcher at bt.com marcus.3.fletcher at bt.com
Thu Jul 26 12:13:44 CEST 2007

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller [mailto:hns at computer.org] 
> Sent: 26 July 2007 07:49
> To: OpenMoko community
> Subject: Re: Why you won't find me in the forum much
> Am 26.07.2007 um 08:06 schrieb <marcus.3.fletcher at bt.com>:
> > "
> > ...
> > So when an official forum is blessed by someone, please 
> make sure it 
> > is a forum that has a *bidirectional* email gateway.  
> Anything else is 
> > simply sub-standard for my usage patterns.
> > ...
> > "
> > -- Rod Whitby
> > -- MokoMakefile author
> >
> > Mail2Forum sounds like it could help:
> > http://mail2forum.com/forums/index.php
> >
> > "Mail2Forum (or M2F) is an add-on software to the phpBB 
> forum system.
> > M2F combines the functionality of a mailing list system and a phpBB 
> > forum in order to add bi-directional 'email to forum' and 'forum to 
> > email' communication."
> I can hardly imagine how this really works?

For each section, I believe there's a separate 'list' to subscribe to.
Eg hardwarehack at lists.openmoko.org, software at lists.openmoko.org etc. I
have no interest in hardware hacks so wouldn't subscribe to the former.

If you look at the forums at http://www.mail2forum.com/forums/, you can
see the Mail2Forum testing is bound to the mailing list
'forum at mail2forum.com'.

> Firstly, please take a look at http://www.oesf.org/forums/ 
> and count the subforums there.
> In a forum system you have main forums and subforums, i.e. 
> tons of different boards where each one runs one or more 
> threads (topics).  
> Ususally you can subscribe to e-mail notifications for each 
> subforum.  
> This is the main benefit of a forum over a single e-mail list 
> where everything is thrown in (compare between a large hall 
> where everybody cries what he wants to say vs. a set of small 
> rooms with special topics discussions).
> Now, should all new messages of all subfora be mapped to a 
> single e- mail transmission? Or should each subforum have its 
> own mailing list?  
> For an unidrectional mode (forum -> list) this could work 
> (even if new subfora are created).
> But how to respond? How do you want to specify to respond to e.g.  
> "Developer", "Hardware", "Smalltalk", "First Aid", "Sell&Buy" etc.  
> through E-Mail? Or even worse: how to create a new thread 
> which should just go to a specific subforum. On the single 
> mailing list you would simply drop it in between completely 
> unrelated messages.

> My conclusions is that by this requirement "Anything else is 
> simply sub-standard for my usage patterns. " some of the 
> special usage patterns of a forum system have to be given up 
> (i.e. the hierarchical grouping of different 
> topics/rooms/subfora or however you will call it).

I believe you could have a mailing list for each subforum, with the
Topic being auto-generated (or replied to) via the subject. A compromise
on the numbers of subforums (and therefore mailing lists) would be
required to avoid excessive subscriptions. It's also possible to  bridge
mailman and the Mail2Forum software (though it is not in the Wiki as
yet) so the current mailing list folks would not lose out.

> For me, a single mailing list carrying all topics of 
> everybody is "substandard"...
> And, another issue is IMHO substandard with mailing lists: it 
> is the citation style - everybody has a different way of 
> citing previous e- mails. This is a lot of waste of 
> eye-movements to find the relevant references. A forum system 
> forces to use a single citation style.

I heartily agree. For this message I had to reconfigure my mail client
so as to not top post and to indent your comments in order to match your
quotation style, since your style differs from our corporate standard.
Noone's fault - just the nature of the beast.

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