[kwlug-disc] Posting without subscribing to the KWLUG-Help list

John Van Ostrand john at netdirect.ca
Wed Jun 2 15:11:38 EDT 2010

----- Original Message -----
> John Van Ostrand wrote, On 06/02/2010 2:19 PM:
> I don't think either is easier. But an e-mail list requires an e-mail
> signup procedure, and a web forum is a web interface. Does that matter
> / is that 'harder'?

I signed up to kwlug-help by web form: http://kwlug.org/mailman/listinfo/kwlug-help_kwlug.org

> > I mean, lots of people
> > need help with FOSS and may litter Internet forums and other lists
> > with questions replicated across many sites.
> And the nuisance questions are a whole lot easier to ignore on a web
> forum than in e-mail.

Except I think just the act of requiring subscription will reduce the nuisance posts.

> > I think the idea of a
> > forum has some merit, since it can be joined and left without the
> > day-to-day deluge of messages. For me they are not very helpful
> > since I rarely can remember to visit often enough. The push
> > technology of mailing lists works way better.
> You don't find optional equivalent e-mail / push technology within
> forums today?

Most of the forum email functionality I've seen are just notifications. If they allowed email replies to be posted I might agree.

Didn't we once have a forum<->email gateway? Didn't it have problems?

> I dare say you're different than the average new user. You know to ask
> very specific questions, regardless of the mechanism, and know to
> quickly search the available help facilities before posing a question.
> Presumably not true of the new user, yet.

But these are skills that work for FOSS users and should be encouraged. They are community skills.

Are we supporting the community or the software? Give a person a fish or teach him to fish?

> OTOH, your role here would be as answerer - would the usual forum
> e-mail notification that a question has been posed be sufficient to
> remind you to go to the web? Typically the notification e-mail has the
> link right in it.

Being a Blackberry user emailing from my device (although top posting) I do respond while away from my desk.  Having to go to a forum to do so would be much harder.
> > I also know from personal experience that non-subscriber posts to
> > mailling lists invariably results in lots of spam to be deleted.
> Which is much easier to ignore on the web than in e-mail.

But it never makes it to either if the user is forced to register (forums) or subscribe (lists).

> > It's also a role where quick turn-around is expected. I like my
> > lists that require membership to post, that way my admin duties
> > involve deleting those messages in bulk when they begin to use too
> > much disk space.
> Does this not all really bring us back to a central question - what
> kind of new user are we trying to provide for? What are their
> characteristics? Mom, who has never used a mouse or e-mail before, or
> the new linux user brave enough to chance having to use a command
> line, or somewhere in between. The latter implies Windows / Internet
> experience, to search, and familiarity with keyboard and mouse use.
> Even better - someone trying a Live CD, or trying a linux vm?

I think we are trying to help someone who has at least enough commitment to join or register. If the user doesn't isn't that committed to change, then (s)he's future has already been determined.

John Van Ostrand 
CTO, co-CEO 
Net Direct Inc. 
564 Weber St. N. Unit 12, Waterloo, ON N2L 5C6 
Ph: 866-883-1172 x5102 
Fx: 519-883-8533 

Linux Solutions / IBM Hardware 

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