Upgrading fsfe.org -- your feedback

allergic-to-spam at karlsen.me.uk allergic-to-spam at karlsen.me.uk
Thu Oct 11 15:50:41 UTC 2007

Hash: SHA1

This is a compilation of my reply to the initial request for feedback, the reply of Matthias
Kirschner, and my reply to that reply. I was requested to mail it to the discussion list so I shall
do so.

############# Initial reply (me) ####################

1 = very low importance, 10 = very high

Blog = 6, Calender = 5, E-mail alias = 2, Instant messaging (jabber) = 7, Mailing lists = 1, Wiki =
8, Forum = 10

> 2. Which features should the tools provide?
The wiki should be one with a sane syntax - MediaWiki or MoinMoin etc

> 3. Are there other tools you would like to have?
Users should have the choice between forums and the mailing list. Whilst I have used mailing lists
when I absolutely needed to in the past (and usenet), I find them obnoxious and very unpleasant to
use. Additionally, following a particular line of discussion is a nuisance. I fully support the
*choice* of using a mailing list but the lack of a forum leaves me feeling 'out in the cold' w.r.t
the fsfe. It's probably not meant in this way, but I always feel unwelcome around mailing-list-only
groups/projects, as if, since I am not elite enough to use them, I should just get lost or

I would use the ubuntuforums.org site as an example of a place where I feel much more welcome. With
just one person feeling like this it could be seen as a minor issue, but perhaps other people will
send in with a similar sentiment, so I send this just in case.

> Please send your suggestions to discussion at lists.fsfe.org and participate in the discussion.
I find it very hard to participate in discussions on mailing lists - I like a 'zoomed-out picture'
which lists cannot give me.

############# Reply of Matthias Kirschner ################

Hello Matthew,

can you resend that e-mail to discussion at lists.fsfe.org? Or can I
forward it, so other Fellows can read it, too?

And one question, because I do not understand it:

* mk00020 <xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> [2007-10-10 23:43:52 +0100]:

> > Please send your suggestions to discussion at lists.fsfe.org and
> > participate in the discussion.  
> I find it very hard to participate in discussions on mailing lists - I
> like a 'zoomed-out picture' which lists cannot give me.  

What do you mean with zoomed-out picture? I thought about something like
the thread view in mail clients http://gushue.net/mutt/mutt02.png or
http://home.arcor.de/david-peters/TB.png (random images from threaded
views), but as you write mailinglists cannot give it to you this seems
to be wrong.  Can you explain it to me, or explain it to the e-mail to
the list?

######### New reply to try to explain/extrapolate ###########

My apologies for that last sentence, it is hard to understand.

The nested-view is undoubtedly better than a purely linear format, and my mail client (claws-mail)
does support such a view.

However, when using a nested view like that I still feel as if I have to view a particular thread
through a 'letterbox' rather than being able to see the whole thread laid out. I strongly dislike
the comment system on /. for a similar reason. Rather than seeing the whole conversation laid out I
feel that I see little 'snapshots' that make it harder for me to follow what is going on.

Other issues that affect me (not everyone) wrt. mailing lists:
* I find things much easier to read in IceWeasel than in claws-mail (partly my fault, admittedly).
* It is much easier to slip up and get spammed to hell when using a mailing list (better on some
lists than others).
* I use IMAP and don't like storing large numbers of mails.
* Poor formatting - eg no [quote], [code], [url] etc
* No avatars - I am very bad with names, avatars help me identify people.
* Steeper learning curve (though I have known how to use them for a while now - I think).
* The archive view is awkward - if you open a thread and view the whole thing you have to click the
back button lots to get back to where you where (forums only need one back button press to get out).

* Partly for the above reason I see mailing lists as largely dynamic, with a poor function as a
store of knowledge, whereas forums are, to me, both dynamic and function as a good knowledge store
(with the right software - eg a free clone of vBulletin 3.6.8 or simmilar) (whenever I get stuck
using Ubuntu the forum search is the first place I look).

I am dyslexic (and somewhat weird) so that may possibly explain it - though I really have no idea.


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