[Samba] Samba Forum vs. Mailing List?`!

John H Terpstra jht at samba.org
Wed Jun 30 09:42:50 MDT 2010

On 06/29/2010 07:01 PM, Tom H. Lautenbacher wrote:
> Hi Linda!
>>> I wanted to ask if there is an official Samba Forum

No, but there is a WiKi: http://wiki.samba.org

There are also the #samba and #samba-technical IRC channels.

>> 	No need?
>> 	Why do you need a forum with a mailing list?
> Because a forum IMHO has certain advantages over a mailing list.
>> Forums are non-standard.  Mailing lists have software to process
>> them in many ways.  Many are archived -- not something you get with
> forums.
> @Standard: Yes, I agree. This is a disadvantage for forums in comparison to
> other means of communication, such as mailing lists or usenet-news.
> @Software: What software is there and in which ways can you process mails?
> @Archive: Anybody running a forum can decide on his own, if he wants to
> archive things or not.
>> Forums seems to be a 'windows' thing for users when companies want
>> to be able to ignore their user base.
>> Emails cause the companies too much headache because the user's
>> emails
>> end up in employee inboxes and cause distractions from doing "real work",
>> so they
>> try to put users in forums, so they won't distract the companies'
>> employees.
> Uffff, well.. I am self employed and feel distracted and annoyed by all
> those useless emails from all those mailing-lists that I have to attend,
> too.
> My opinion is:
> Every means of communication has it's functional range.
> Mailing lists are existing since many years. They were perfect in those
> pioneer years, when a small group of people worked together on a small
> thing: Everyone needed to be informed about everything and everybody had to
> discuss everything. Until today mailing lists serve such small development
> groups very good.
> But as projects grow bigger and the group of users with them, IMHO there
> arises the need for further means of communication.
> Speaking for me: I am a Samba user since about 2002, using Samba as
> Administrator of some small-midsized Networks. I do not contribute code or
> help developing. From time to time I am having a problem with implementing
> Samba and need quick advice and help.

I guess that what you are really arguing for is a quick, free, source of
advice that meets your preferences for format and communications method.

There are plenty of commercial support providers for Samba from whom you
could almost certainly obtain quick and accurate advice.  That is a key
difference between free advice sources and commercial ones.

By definition, in a communications world where everyone's voice is equal
there is a mass of mis-information.  The challenge faced by the consumer
of free information is the burden of filtering out the noise. That
burden applies to a mailing list as well as to a forum or a WiKi.

In addition to the mass of incorrect information, most public and free
information sources (for example Google search) will readily help you to
locate people who have a problem, but few who post the solution.  There
are two key reasons for this:

a) By the time the problem has been solved there is pressure to move on.
Problem gone, so forget the agony - move on.

b) Realization that the problem was caused by an embarrassing mistake.

> For me now to get help, I needed to subscribe to this mailing list. From
> this moment on I received approx. 20 emails which do not concern me or my
> problem. I do not know the answer to all of those questions either, so I
> can't help anybody. I am just annoyed and bothered by my mailbox getting
> literally spammed. Since Samba is not the only open source community who's
> mailing list I am attending, I am receiving daily approx. 30-40 of those
> emails.
> For my case a forum would server much better. I could go there, post my
> question and subscribe to my thread, getting email-notification just about
> my question. Furthermore I could quickly browse the forum to see, if there
> are any open topics where I think that I could help someone else out.
> Given that the forum settings are saving all postings for ever, the whole
> forum would serve everybody as a very valuable knowledge base, making it
> easy to find answers for common problems, without bugging anybody or
> spamming everybody with the 10,000 versions of the same question.

I participate in several forums. I also receive approx. 500 emails per
day (at one time this was more like 3000 per day). In all cases the
noise level is over 90% - its the nature of the beast.

> Both means of communication can easily live in harmony! Developers or hard
> core members, who need to stay in touch very intensively and want to
> participate to ALL communication can continue participating at the mailing
> list (although it would be easily possible to just subscribe to an analogue
> topic in the forum and get automatically all messages, but anyway..).
> Another great plus of Forums is the possibility to use HTML and other
> "functionality". Well I know guys, all hardcore old-school guys among you
> roll their eyes, because you love plain text stuff.
> But the reality is that it does make sense and does bring communication
> again to a much higher level of productivity, when you are able e.g. to
> implement screenshots or diagrams to your answers, instead of having to e.g.
> draw a network diagram with ASCII art...

That's why we have the WiKi. http://wiki.samba.org

If you want editing rights - just ask.  I would strongly encourage you
to get active in maintaining a Samba FAQ that is current and complete.
This is much more work that you might imagine.

> Well there are many pros and cons to everything.
> Fact is, that I am having a problem with Samba to that I can't find any
> information, but instead get "spammed" with 30 emails that do not really
> concern me. Fact is that although Windows 7 is out for a long time now, I
> had to find all the information about the needed registry patches in some
> other forums or spread over some archived mailing-list fragments, hard to
> read and difficult to find. A decent userforum/knowledgebase would have
> served in a much more efficient way!

Have you read the on-line documentation from the Samba web site?

> So my final question:
> If I would help making a Samba-Forum, would there be anybody here who would
> appreciate and would like to use it? Would the "official" guys among you
> want to implement it to the samba-homepage?

Firstly, you do not need permission to create a Samba-Forum.  If that is
your passion - just do it.

Secondly, what do you mean by "official" guys?

Send me the link to your Samba-Forum and I will add it to the Samba web
site. If you really need a blessing we can arrange that, but it will
cost extra. :-)  (Joking!!!).

John T.

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