Fw: [clug] Flirting Techniiques For Men (Paul Wayper)

David Schoen neerolyte at gmail.com
Sat May 2 06:29:51 GMT 2009

Hi Dan,

Thanks for your great response, more below.

2009/5/2 Daniel Pittman <daniel at rimspace.net>

> David Schoen <neerolyte at gmail.com> writes:
> <snip>
> That is kind of sad — not in your specific case, but because it says
> that there is a perception that the group is rather elitist. :/

This wasn't a reflection on this group in particular, I had a number of bad
experiences just a few individuals on a couple of newsgroups, but once
bitten it's hard to just go on asking questions that are so obvious to
everyone else.

> <snip>

> However, GMANE do archive public lists, and do make available an RSS
> feed of the content, if that is what people really want.

I only mentioned this in passing seeing as someone else had asked about it
earlier. I wouldn't use it but I'm all for giving people the ability to use
things the way they want to.

> The first is that you are trying to split into categories a much more
> general set of discussions — the CLUG content has a lot of cross-over,
> and a lot of the value comes from being exposed to things that are not
> directly interesting.
> That is where the idea will not scale: it requires a good deal more
> planning ahead, adaption to the gradual changes in the body of the
> membership and much, much more active maintenence to work as well as the
> list does today.

True. I never really thought about it that way but I have definitely learnt
a lot from the emails I haven't really been involved in.

> The second is that your model embeds privilege and power into the
> system, as well as removing the requirement of being at least
> pseudonymous for participation in the community.
> This, generally speaking, discourages community and replaces it with a
> brief period in which people can establish themselves followed by a long
> period in which the "old guard" have power, while new participants are
> relegated to the role of hanger-on in a much more formal way.
> This is made worse by the habit of forum packages to assign "ranks"
> based on participation in the forum: it substitutes the passage of time
> for any actual skill, resulting in acknowledged experts in the field
> being descibed (by the software) as "lowly neophites", while people who
> have little real skill but plenty of time are "acknowledged masters".[2]

Some (and yes I admit not all) of this would be solvable by keeping the
process of setting up and maintaining a forum as open as possible. We could
have votes, with whoever cares to share their opinion, on what features
should be enabled, what sections should be available and whatever else
anyone wants to suggest, complain or otherwise be vocal about about.

Also being a LUG we could probably have a few people get together and put in
new features, e.g. don't like having "rigid sections" maybe we should have
tags for topics and you can opt to either always receive or always not
receive topics with certain tags.

I know this will never be perfect, but I do believe as long as the process
is kept open so that everyone can see what's going on and anyone can get
involved I think it should be at least worthwhile.

> Finally, you also have the lesser technical problem that using a web
> based forum is going to drive away technically skilled people because it
> increases the cost of dealing with CLUG.
> Personally, I get an average of between 500 and 800 emails a day from
> various sources, including CLUG and other LUGs.  These are easy enough
> for me to deal with because I have a set of tools that handle that
> volume well — they make it efficient for me to sort, search,
> machine-filter and otherwise manage that volume of traffic.
> When I am faced with a web forum I am stuck: unlike a mailing list,
> where I am handed the data and allowed to deal with it however I please,
> a we forum requires me to use the web interface to that information.
> My ability to search is limited by what the designer envisioned.
> I can't, for example, automatically score up responses to my comments,
> down topics that are not of interest, up various experts, and end up
> with an automatically filtered and highlighted set of high and low
> priority items to address myself.
> I am also forced to use the web system to respond: I can't, easily, use
> Emacs to edit my response, cross-refrence with my notes on various
> topics, edit the message I am composing or otherwise integrate it
> outside the web browser.

I'll admit I've never seen anything that would solve this (at least not out
of the box). How about something custom though? Perhaps it would be possible
to embed a code in emails sent out and have a reply address that the forum
can read, when the forum gets an email it works out what thread/username it
belongs to and it just gets inserted as a normal (which would then email
anyone else with the right subscription settings). I know this is very
custom, but I also know there are a lot of smart people on the list (some of
them may be interested in helping). Maybe CLUG could pioneer the first
hybrid mailing list/forum which would tie in with your point [3].

> For me, those considerations actually make the "discussion" part of most
> web forums sufficiently costly that I just /can't/ participate.  I could
> manage literally a tenth or less of the same work — and, then, only when
> connected to the Internet, not while travelling, or in a batch
> operation.
> The same is true of others, as is the simple matter that many of the
> more experienced peolpe in the area just don't /like/ the new web forums
> very much.[3]
> Web forums certainly offer some technical advantages, but they also
> offer a lot of technical drawbacks, and generally they don't work well
> to build the sort of community that has historically been found around a
> LUG.
> Oh, and a parting thought for you:
> Like elsewhere in the Open Source Community, code talks; if you think
> that a web based forum system is going to be better for the CLUG
> membership than a mailing list, set one up.[4]
> If you are right then the community will flock to it, and it will become
> apparent to everyone that the forum solution is the better solution.
> Plus, you know, if you put in the time, effort and money to run the
> forum then it becomes hard for anyone to use the need of them as an
> excuse to run it down. ;)

I will, but only if at least a couple of other list readers want to get
involved first, preferably someone willing to help with development/testing
if we decide that only a custom solution will do.

I can supply hosting space for free that should be suitable for ruby, php,
python or perl (I also have MySQL and PostgreSQL). DNS may be a slight issue
but I think I still have a voucher somewhere that would let me register
something like clugforums.org (or maybe the current clug.org.au DNS setup
would be able to point something like forums.clug.org.au at my host). I'm
happy to donate my time setting up and customising whatever the group
decides is good, so it's really just down to someone other than me liking
the idea and being willing to help.

So does _anyone_ other than me think this is worthwhile?

Anyone willing to help?


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