[Community Tools] Re: Why you won't find me in the forum much

Steven ** montgoss+openmokocommunity at gmail.com
Thu Jul 26 17:59:51 CEST 2007

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller <hns at ...> writes:
> Well, there was already the hint that gmane or Google Groups can do  
> exactly that *or even do it* (mirror the mailing list in a Web based  
> forum-like view). But apparently it did not find enough acceptance  
> (including myself).
> My main objection is that a mailing list is inherently not  
> structured. And automatic structuring by threads (common subject  
> title) is not enough - it is just one level. And the main argument  
> for a forum is to have a better structure for newcomers so that they  
> find solutions more easily. So I doubt that it works in practive.
> And it would enforce all mailing list proponents a new habit: e.g. to  
> add a [Subforum] to new posts. From my impression, they do not want  
> to do that because they are completely happy with what they already  
> have!

So, I've been looking at gmane a little bit.  It may actually be useful.  The
author does provide source (with the caveat that it's very rough).  With some
work, gmane could be exactly the merged idea people are talking about.  The only
thing I find lacking is the web interface.  But it does have several key
features that I think make it a good starting point.
It already has:
1. Bi-directional connection between mailing list and web-based forums (at least
they appear like forums to a user in a browser)
2. Threading and indenting by replies (like standalone mail readers) and sorted
by date of last response (just like forums)
3. It does remember what messages you read from any particular machine (I assume
it does this with cookies since there is no login)

I propose a project to modify and setup a OpenMoko specific gmane.  It would
need the following changes:
1. Improved GUI
   a. First view should not show all messages with all thread already expanded.
Should instead list threads from the mailing list like a typical forum does.
   b. When a thread is clicked, all messages in the thread would be expanded on
a new page.  The replies would be grouped and indented with unread messages
   c. Each message in the thread would have a few actions typical to forums
(maybe just a "reply to this" link).
2. User accounts
   a. Forums users are used to logging in. We can make account creation
essentially non-existant by making their login ID their email address (necessary
in order to tie it to the mailing list).  In order to create an account, they
simply type in their email address.  The "moko-gmane" sends a confirmation email
to that address with a randomly generated password.  The user logs into the
"moko-gmane" and would be prompted to change their password.  That email address
and new password would be their login from then on.
   b. Forum users also expect the forum to remember what they've read and other
settings regardless of what computer they logged in from.
3. Subforums
   There would only be as many subforums as mailing lists.  I assume we will get
a support mailing list and may some others when the Neo gets close to consumer

There is one possible issue.  The "moko-gmane" users would not want to receive a
copy of all messages to the mailing lists.  I know you can post messages without
being subscribed, but the messages have to be approved.  I don't think this will
work.  So, essentially, the user needs to be subscribed but not get an of the
messages.  How do we solve this?  Have the "moko-gmane" server be subscribed to
the list and all messages posted through the web interface would actually come
from the server?  But the server would have to somehow make the email appear to
come from the actual user so that it appears correct to the mailing list users.
 How do we resolve this?

Are there any objections to this idea?  Anything else I'm missing?


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