Why you won't find me in the forum much

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at computer.org
Thu Jul 26 08:49:06 CEST 2007

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?

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).

For me, a single mailing list carrying all topics of everybody is  

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.

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