[kwlug-disc] why not pick a kwlug project for the web site?

Andrew Kohlsmith (Mailing List Account) aklists at mixdown.ca
Thu Dec 31 18:30:31 EST 2009


On December 31, 2009 11:24:09 am Insurance Squared Inc. wrote:
> I rarely attend meetings as I work most evenings.  I actively read and
> participate on the email list.   And quite frankly the email list is a
> poor place to create that kind of community.  As Paul noted, we're
> PO'ing people with the volume of email these last few days.  And I
> consider how appropriate my posts are sometimes when I hit the list with
> a stupid how-do-I question.  How many folks are meeting go'ers and how
> many are attached via the email list?  Perhaps I'm not alone in
> suggesting the lug can and should be an online community as well as a
> series of meetings.

Who are we pissing off by having relevant, interesting and sometimes funny and 
offtopic discussion? I would humbly suggest that these people unsubscribe 
immediately.

> So, the email list isn't the right venue for creating a community beyond
> the meetings, and I'm suggesting there may be a need/want for a
> community beyond the web.

I've been on this list for... shoot, my mailing list account expires old 
messages, and the online archive only goes back to 12/2008. The earliest email 
I have is from May 2005. I am a HUGE fan of mailing lists, and was one of the 
very thankful who greatly appreciate the efforts that (I think it was) Paul 
put forward to have new forum postings posted to the list. While I can't say I 
derive GREAT value from this list, I can say that I certainly do follow and 
participate in many different threads on many different subjects. This list is 
the PERFECT venue for creating a community not only beyond the meetings but 
around them as well.

I think you're right; there is too much "OMG commercial interest" paranoia 
going on. Welcome it, leverage their abilities and common interests to grow 
the LUG. The Internet itself was an academic experiment and remained as such 
until it became commercialized. If and when the LUG starts looking more like a 
commercial advertising site we can always scale back the commercial interest.  
Until that actually happens it's all just hand waving and fear mongering, and 
we're hurting not only the LUG but advocacy of Linux in general by trying to 
keep it some kind of purist "hobby use only" interest group.

Businesses such as NetDirect and crashcourse.ca absolutely should be given 
some mention. I don't think I've ever bought anything from either one of these 
businesses in particular, but that's kind of my point: just because they're 
mentioned doesn't suddenly mean that the "icky money" has come into the 
equation. Both of these guys run businesses which support/evangelize Linux and 
are LUG members. Why shouldn't they be able to say "I also run a business that 
involves Linux thusly:" ?

Like you, I do not go to most of the meetings. As mentioned in a previous 
email, I'm very time constrained and often plain old too busy to enjoy Linux 
as a hobby. I think the physical meetings are important but this list has (at 
least in the last few years, not so much so in 2005) also been an important 
part of the LUG to me. I don't think it's up for debate... the LUG *is* more 
than the meetings, and the mailing list is an excellent portal to this 
community.

> And that leads to my first suggestion - a forum on the site.  That
> answers much of the non-meeting folks need for a community.  I can ask

I strongly, *strongly* disagree. Forums are a pox on the Internet, a scourge, 
a terrible hideous wart on the face of information exchange. I do not frequent 
forums because they are an awful, awful way of trying to have or follow a 
conversation. A dozen little "forums" or "sections" which don't ever fit a 
particular question or thread and fragment the community along arbitrary and 
constantly shifting lines, moderators, threads bouncing around different 
sections, "bump" messages, silly measures of post counts or time spent on the 
site, private messages, javascript popups and animated smileys? No thank you!

> my dumb linux related questions.  People can ask me questions about my
> area of expertise.  We can have a thread on 'top 10 linux commands'.
> And so on.  AND this stuff then sits around in the search engines,
> bringing in other visitors, far better than our 1975 version of mailman
> :).

Actually, it's the 1975 version of mailman which makes things EASIER to 
search. Forums are awful, awful things to navigate, and even worse things to 
try and search. Mailing lists are an almost perfect means of communicating 
textual information.

What's wrong with asking the list your same questions? More importantly, 
what's wrong with a read-only kwlug-announce list that has absolutely nothing 
but upcoming meeting announcements? We just got a Twitter feed and an RSS feed 
has been around for a bit. No need to try and dismantle an active, helpful and 
fun list because a few people have decided that it's not what they were 
looking for.

> Get non-meeting related announcements off the list and onto the
> site. Plus, that means there's no more offtopic - just create an
> offtopic section!

No, no, no, and oh my God please for the love of everything sacred and holy, 
NO!

We already have a forum. We already had the fragmentation that got patched up 
when we had new forum posts posted to the list. (and notice how often people 
will jump on to the forum to answer their question versus questions answered 
here.) Compare the use of the forum we already have to the use of the list and 
ask yourself why the list is so much more used. There are very good reasons 
why the list is here.

> Secondly, reach out a bit.  Take some presentations out to places beyond
> us linux geeks.  Many of the presentations are beyond my capability.
> For example, I know there's been presentations on media pc's. Maybe 3-4
> times a year someone does a presentation on media pc's from a user
> perspective - how to start from scratch and end up with a functional
> media PC.  Then contact local groups with an interest in that - some of
> the tech shops perhaps, or future shop, or I dunno. Or how to use linux
> for music production and contact local audiophiles for a presentation.
> Or contact the local chamber and have a presentation on linux in the
> workplace.

I totally agree with you here, but part of "reach out" should be embracing 
businesses who advocate Linux themselves. Both Christie Digital and IMS use 
Linux. Perhaps try to convince someone there to make a presentation about how 
Linux is making their business work.  Did you know that IMS iLane product runs 
Linux?  Did you know that they are giving back to the Linux community through 
GPL code patches? This is advocacy!

> Thirdly, well thirdly it's been a while since I've thanked the folks
> that do keep the lug running so smootly so let me say Thanks!  I
> appreciate the work that you folks do and know there's a lot more going
> on that we even see - your work does help us all :).

I also would like to thank those who go to so much effort to make the LUG what 
it is today. As I mentioned I don't often get out but it's always a good 
evening when I do, in no small part due to all the hard work that goes on 
behind the scenes: getting a place, logistics of power and connectivity and AV 
equipment, making the announcements here, pestering us members to get off our 
lurker behinds and make a presentation once in a while... Thank you.

-A.



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