Discussion about communication modes

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Discussion about communication modes

Postby Garthhh » Jul 8th, '12, 04:58

why are mailing lists & chats the preferred modes for the development teams?
My best guess would be that the primary reason is mostly tradition at this point [because it's always been done this way]
There would certainly be more transparency on a forum, individual sections devoted to each team, the participants of each team would be the only members able to post on their respective section(s)

I've considered joining documentation & helping with the wiki
the thought of joining a mailing list, let alone an IRC, leaves me cold
Just keeping up with the conversation, tends to require a fair investment of time
whereas a forum, would allow me to only follow the threads that interest/involve me

I do realize that I'm free do some minor edits on the wiki
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby isadora » Jul 8th, '12, 08:31

Have same ambivalent attitude towards those different communication-channels.
For me it is mostly the forum to connect people.
Yes IRC is handy for instant contacts, if there are any. And of course for meetings through the web.
But must say, it is quite some other discipline, which i am not really used to neither.

Anyway, great your considerations about contributing Garthhh!!! :)
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby Max » Jul 8th, '12, 11:00

I think that email is the method of choice because it answers all of the needs.
It is documented automatically by everybody involved (unless you delete emails) and archived on our servers. This makes it easy to go back and look for something, keep notes, reminders, etc'.
It is not instantaneous. The problem with coordinating with people across the world is time zones. Sleep times, work times, leisure times... they're all different all over the world. It is very hard to hold a team meeting with people on 5 continents. Email introduces its own built-in time delay that allows everybody to be connected as soon as they want to be.
Ease of access. Everybody uses email anyway. Personal, work... whatever it is, people are (nearly) always connected to their email. So if a message on the mailing list comes in, people will be sure to see it. None of this "I forgot to check the forum today" or "I didn't feel like logging on to IRC". Yes, sometimes people are away from email by chance or on purpose for extended periods of time, but this is where the automatic self-archiving comes in handy.
The only downside I can see is the fear of clogging up the inbox with unread mails. However, this is why it's a list. Any and all email sent to or from the list has the same email address. This makes it really easy to create a mail filter that will spirit away all email from the list to its own folder. You can go and read it when you have the time.
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby Garthhh » Jul 8th, '12, 16:25

"I think that email is the method of choice because it answers all of the needs.
It is documented automatically by everybody involved (unless you delete emails) and archived on our servers. This makes it easy to go back and look for something, keep notes, reminders, etc'.
It is not instantaneous. The problem with coordinating with people across the world is time zones. Sleep times, work times, leisure times... they're all different all over the world. It is very hard to hold a team meeting with people on 5 continents. Email introduces its own built-in time delay that allows everybody to be connected as soon as they want to be.
Ease of access."


All those points are true for the email lists
& they would be just as true where these exchanges where visible here or on the wiki
I can & do ignore folders on my email, when I don't have the time or energy to deal

the benefit is that the archive would be somewhat more organized & public
as a Community based distro transparency should be encouraged
the process of documentation would be expedited

I've been on lists where the exchanges numbered in the 100's
while I can filter the messages, organizing the content is more difficult
How many hours are wasted on this task?
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby doktor5000 » Jul 8th, '12, 16:58

Garthhh wrote:Just keeping up with the conversation, tends to require a fair investment of time

Think about it the other way, from the point of view of developers - it takes much longer for them in forums to get the information they need, to filter out relevant threads and also looking at the needed bandwith, mails & irc clearly wins over forums. So they will use what is more effective and works for them.
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby Garthhh » Jul 9th, '12, 00:16

Think about it the other way, from the point of view of developers - it takes much longer for them in forums to get the information they need, to filter out relevant threads and also looking at the needed bandwith, mails & irc clearly wins over forums. So they will use what is more effective and works for them.


I suppose that an argument could be made that Chats are faster
Organizationaly any time saved on the front end of a chat is lost if you are trying save [document], there is a certain charm to the unique social aspects
I understand that chats have a long history in dev world

Limited access forum sections are not uncommon, nor are read only posts
the personal filtering would be less
forums are a very powerful collaborative tool

is bandwidth for simple text communication really an issue?

manhours wasted on maintaining duplicate personal archives would be reduced
big picture, bandwidth would be consumed more efficiently

I understand that it's difficult to examine traditions
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby wobo » Jul 9th, '12, 10:15

We've had this discussion multiple times,
- at the beginning when people in the Mandrake newsgroup complained that no Mandrake people communicated there.
- in the Mandrake/Mandriva forum people are always complaining that the devels only communicated in mailing lists and chats
- in Mageia the same.

Adding other systems from my long Linux experience, I am almost sure that this issue can not be solved. I've been using usenet, mailing lists and forums extensively. I've been at home in all 3 systems and I have not found any technical or logical reason to prefer one over the other, only individual preferences.

Developers claim that forums are hard to follow or it would take them longer to find an information, why? It's just the opposite. Both systems use a section -> thread organisation. In forums they even will not face broken threads like in long mail threads. They will not find such disturbing things like top posting which makes it hard for mail users. Forums are even more developper-friendly because
- they are not bothered by typical non-devel stuff because they can ignore threads or even whole sections they do not want to read (the main reasons they keep telling)
- they don't have to worry about any list management/subscriptions or mail system or mail-archive
- forums can also have different sections like different mailing lists (like: i18n, sysadmin, dev, etc.)

Still they stick to avoiding forums. :) Makes me believe that they prefer lists because of only one reason: lists are generally not used by many "normal users".

OTOH, imagine doing all the discussions we have in the forum via mailing lists! We would need a couple more mailing lists instead of the one we have (-discuss) to resemble the organisation of the forum. And users would have to subscribe to all of them - that's simply not user-friendly at all.

That's why I believe that there will not be a solution to this forum/list issue.

I did not mention IRC because it is a totally different platform. Different to lists and/or forums IRC discussions are not saved to later referral (except for meeting logs). In IRC if you are not there at the right time you will miss whatever will be discussed at that time. OTOH in mailing lists or forums you can go online any time, you will never miss a discussion or information. People in different time zones will almost never meet in IRC but in lists or forums they can participate and discuss a topic together.
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby Max » Jul 9th, '12, 10:25

Garthhh wrote:All those points are true for the email lists
& they would be just as true where these exchanges where visible here or on the wiki
I can & do ignore folders on my email, when I don't have the time or energy to deal

the benefit is that the archive would be somewhat more organized & public
as a Community based distro transparency should be encouraged
the process of documentation would be expedited

Ah, but they are visible and transparent.
On the Community page, there is a link to both mailing systems, where archives can be found for each list separately. The archives update themselves several times a day, so it should be pretty up to date.
There is also a Wiki page describing everything one needs to know about the mailing lists. https://wiki.mageia.org/en/How_to_subsc ... ling_lists
It doesn't get any more public than that.
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby Garthhh » Jul 9th, '12, 15:51

Still they stick to avoiding forums. :) Makes me believe that they prefer lists because of only one reason: lists are generally not used by many "normal users".

:D

I understand that the feeling of exclusivity is one of the forms of currency with which devs get paid

everyone must be paid
the payment can take many different forms...

there is a certain elegance to the super secret, yet public back channel
hide in plain sight ;)
good to maintain plausible deniability too

thanks to Max for pointing out that there is an archive available
the time penalty on the front end will keep most away
which on one level is the intent
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby wobo » Jul 9th, '12, 16:11

Garthhh wrote:thanks to Max for pointing out that there is an archive available
the time penalty on the front end will keep most away
which on one level is the intent

Of course there are archives for all lists, you reach (and read) them on the mailing-list's websites: https://ml.mageia.org/wwsympa-wrapper.fcgi/lists and https://www.mageia.org/mailman/listinfo/ (older lists which were created before Mageia had their own list orga).

Many of the lists are also accessible vie Gmane (so you have a forum like feeling).
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby Garthhh » Jul 19th, '12, 08:13

as I look around I see some threads about this forum, which highlight some of the work to be done to improve the usability
as forums go this is somewhat below average
that the posts aren't numbered makes following the fibers of the subthread challenging
which is why one of the guidelines is discouraging "fullquotes" [without defining what that is]

Maq's should be a section on the wiki
pretty much all the documentation should be on the wiki
tricks, tips & tutorials
once again on the wiki
if it's a sticky, not about the forum, on the wiki

this
https://wiki.mageia.org/en/Forums_todo_ ... oints_list
is a good sign
baby steps towards more fully using the wiki

the insistence on participation in BS team meetings that occur in real time is exclusionary
we should strive to be inclusive
the definition of moderator is wrong
while it's helpful for a moderator to be familiar with the subject at hand, it's not required for most of the day to day
easy enough to keep things moving forward & leave the workhorse members solving problems [see Dok]
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby spiderman5712 » Nov 18th, '12, 22:53

wobo wrote:Still they stick to avoiding forums. :) Makes me believe that they prefer lists because of only one reason: lists are generally not used by many "normal users".


As a developer on other projects using mailing lists I don't think this is the reason. There are technical reasons to prefer mailing lists. Mail is a simple and standard protocol with a lot of existing tools available. There is a lot of things you can do with mailing lists that are not possible with forums :
- read or write messages using the interface of your choice
- read your messages offline
- filter your messages the way you want, there is a lot of mail filter tools available
- archive, index your messages
- add someone or an other mailing list in copy to your message
- pipe a message containing a patch to git to easily apply the patch. Some projects like the linux kernel use mailing lists as the primary tool to receive contributions.
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby Garthhh » Nov 28th, '12, 19:22

I do hear what you are saying about protocols & tools
so on a micro [personal] level, you're right
but what's lost?
a common database that could be used for documentation in a nearly automatic way...
mail is a way to keep information hidden beneath layers of obfuscation, raising the minimum amount of time needed to participate
one of the many ways all linux disrtos basically shoot themselves in the foot & assure no real gains in market share are possible
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby oj » Nov 28th, '12, 22:25

"Full quotes" is quoting all of the entire prior messages in a thread. By the time you'd get to a 10th post, the prior 9 messages would be reposted in the body of the 10th. The original post would be reposted 10 times, the second post nine times, the third would be copied 8 times etc. Each message would get huge and hard to read. This is especially true in mail lists, and can be made much worse if there's no standard for whether a new post goes at the top of a prior message (so-called "top post") or after the previous, quoted text.

Needless to say it consumes server space as well as everyone's time.
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby doktor5000 » Nov 29th, '12, 22:59

Garthhh wrote:a common database that could be used for documentation in a nearly automatic way...

Which rules out forums, too. Hint: a wiki does not fill up automatically, and not everybody takes a look in a wiki,
many people like forums and person-to-person contacts/troubleshooting.

By the way, rereading your posts, you complain quite a lot, but miss the major parts with the constructive criticism
and proposals for solutions (except for the wiki part, which is disputable -> https://wiki.mageia.org/en/Wiki_and_Doc ... iki_is_for )
If there are no proposals for every point you mentioned, even if that is a valid point, then that is useless.

On a related note, you cannot force people to like the "communication modes" or ways you like, the same as you don't
want to be forced. And even more so, you cannot force people to communicate the way you want them to communicate.

@oj: Good mailreaders can be set up to not show quoted parts ...
F.ex.: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunde ... ecollapse/
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby wobo » Nov 30th, '12, 11:34

doktor5000 wrote:On a related note, you cannot force people to like the "communication modes" or ways you like, the same as you don't
want to be forced. And even more so, you cannot force people to communicate the way you want them to communicate.

That's the well known end of each discussion about this topic I ever read.

@oj: Good mailreaders can be set up to not show quoted parts ...
F.ex.: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunde ... ecollapse/

Isn't that true for all mail clients? I never thought about this because I am used to see icons in the display of Googlemail web application, clicking on an icon displays the quoted text.

My long experience with all 3 platforms (usenet, mail, forum) shows that each mode has pros and cons.
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby Garthhh » Dec 6th, '12, 21:12

doktor5000 wrote:
Garthhh wrote:a common database that could be used for documentation in a nearly automatic way...

Which rules out forums, too. Hint: a wiki does not fill up automatically, and not everybody takes a look in a wiki,
many people like forums and person-to-person contacts/troubleshooting.

By the way, rereading your posts, you complain quite a lot, but miss the major parts with the constructive criticism
and proposals for solutions (except for the wiki part, which is disputable -> https://wiki.mageia.org/en/Wiki_and_Doc ... iki_is_for )
If there are no proposals for every point you mentioned, even if that is a valid point, then that is useless.

On a related note, you cannot force people to like the "communication modes" or ways you like, the same as you don't
want to be forced. And even more so, you cannot force people to communicate the way you want them to communicate.

@oj: Good mailreaders can be set up to not show quoted parts ...
F.ex.: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunde ... ecollapse/


Whatever Dok....
I get it I'm not welcome to have an opinion or try to have a discussion on any matter involving Mageia, without being subject to your royal decrees

I'm not trying to force anyone to like anything, I'm trying to discuss what could be
I've seen similar behavior to your's many times over the years
it is an effort to protect one's place in an organization...

a personal data base is of limited use to the overall project, there is an enormous amount on time & effort wasted....

that there is a fullquote issue is due to this forums poor design
each post should have a unique identifier, so a user can reply to a specific post & nested display so one can follow the individual fibers of a thread
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby wobo » Dec 7th, '12, 00:40

Garthhh wrote:I get it I'm not welcome to have an opinion or try to have a discussion on any matter involving Mageia, without being subject to your royal decrees
You are welcome with different (even new) opinions and ideas. That's what the doktor had asked for.
that there is a fullquote issue is due to this forums poor design
each post should have a unique identifier, so a user can reply to a specific post & nested display so one can follow the individual fibers of a thread
No problem. You may not know that in a forum such as this one each single post does have a unique identifier and nobody is forced to quote. But sometimes you only want to reply to parts of the previous post or even to parts of a yesterdays post. So he has to quote what you want to comment or reply to.

Anyhow, different people have different opinions how a forum should look and work. All such ideas have been reported and discussed, I haven't seen any new idea for a long time.

Another old idea is to stay away from personal offenses like your first sentence - but you see by yourself that not everybody likes the idea. :)
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby Garthhh » Dec 12th, '12, 20:36

"Another old idea is to stay away from personal offenses like your first sentence".

The phrase you are looking for is ad hominum

while there maybe a unique identifier on each post, it is not visible or useful
there is no way on PHP forums to follow a conservation backwards to see the origin of a notion within a thread, other than slogging about to figure out who said what [let alone why]
here's an example of a forum that works a bit better in this regard
http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/81997/ ... hone-to-PC
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby wobo » Dec 13th, '12, 07:46

I see your point (at least parts of it) and now lets think about how to do that in phpBB or any other free forum system.
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby Garthhh » May 26th, '13, 18:02

I've looked around for different forum software that would be user friendly in the ways I'm interested in
what I'm told is
ya can't get there from here
something about the way the database is constructed
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby Garthhh » May 26th, '13, 18:09

there is a very large duplication of effort maintaining
documentation
wiki
dev channels[irc]

it's the alcoholic thing
you can't help someone with a problem
they don't feel they have

thanks to Wobo taking the time to at least consider what I'm saying...
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby doktor5000 » May 27th, '13, 00:58

Well, where are you proposals for different forum software, or how to improve existing platform, and minimize duplication?
There's one forum software you proposed, the only thing i've seen there is the rating of posts.
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby tux99 » May 27th, '13, 01:26

Mailing-lists and forums don't have to be separate, there are forum packages (for example FUDforum) that allow to set up a bidirectional forum to mailing-list gateway, which means that everyone could choose whether to follow the discussions on the forum or on the mailing-list.

Early Mageia followers might remember that I set up such a forum<>mailing-list gateway in the early days of Mageia (2010) for demonstrative purposes, but the Mageia 'leaders' (at least some of them) didn't like the idea, they feared it would make it too easy for noobs to 'invade' the mailing-lists (despite my demo showed that that wasn't the case, very few people used it to post to the mailing-list, most users simply used it to read the mailing-list discussions in a forum format).

Basically the artificial separation between the Mageia mailing lists and the forum is a conscious decision to keep the Mageia users separate from the Mageia 'makers'.

BTW, I'm not making a judgement by saying this, I'm only providing this info for the benefit of those who don't understand why the forum and the ML are kept apart.

For anyone who wants to read up on what was said about the Forum<>ML gateway read these old mailing list threads:
http://archives.mageia.org/zarb-ml/mage ... .html#1828
http://archives.mageia.org/zarb-ml/mage ... .html#2086
http://archives.mageia.org/zarb-ml/mage ... .html#2184
http://archives.mageia.org/zarb-ml/mage ... .html#2240
(BTW these pipermail ML archives are horrible, it's very hard to follow a thread over several days...)
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Re: Discussion about communication modes

Postby Garthhh » May 27th, '13, 04:16

doktor5000 wrote:Well, where are you proposals for different forum software, or how to improve existing platform, and minimize duplication?
There's one forum software you proposed, the only thing i've seen there is the rating of posts.


The forum I linked to numbers every post & Allows the user to have nested or chronological display
Users can reply to the entire thread or an individual post
It's custom

There's 3 systems[the actual number is a matter of perspective] to be maintained instead of 1 more unified platform,
The reason is entropy
It would be a big job to come up with such a thing

In the end devs don't have any inclination to expend resources on such a project...

I wonder who will?
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