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

Tom H. Lautenbacher mailinglists at lautenbacher.biz
Wed Jun 30 10:14:31 MDT 2010

Hi  Norberto,

> You cannot have an offline archive of a forum. That makes forums
completely useless (at least for me.)

Well you can, but I agree that it is very inconvenient to do so.

> There's no way someone can delete emails from my machines.

I agree.

> Forums admins can -and actually DO- delete offensive messages from forums.

This depends the admin and the forum. If we would do our very own
Samba-Forum it would be up to us witch rules we play..

> Forums require more resources.

Well yes, but I think that this someone can neglect because the need for
resources is quite limited.

> Why do you want a forum?

My arguments FOR a forum are:

1. If you come to Samba (or any other community project) as a NEW user, you
could find all the previous information and communication nicely organized
in the forum. The forum serves as a knowledgebase, which helps new users to
integrate quickly and supports them in getting the things setup without
pain. You can find the threads sorted in different subject-categories and
start browsing them, or you can start a forum search, which has a much
higher relevance of results, than a global google search.

Opposed to this: If you join NEW to a mailing list initially you do not find
ANYTHING, but have to start collecting emails in a personal archive over the
years (as you do). But if you need certain information NOW, the only
alternative is to do a Google-Search which is very sub-optimal to do,
compared to a forum search, or the logical division of subjects in a Forum.

As a result what a mailing list does is: It servers super for long-time
members of a project, who have collected all emails over the last past years
on their private harddisks and it makes it very difficult for new users to
access information. It serves well to the hard core of a project but makes
unnecessary barriers for newcomers.

2. Forum software commonly enables the threads to be enriched with binary or
with html-code. Thus explanations/help/etc. can be enriched with
screenshots, photos, links, diagrams, etc. 

3. A Forum has the advantage that I can subscribe to certain subjects! E.g.
I can say: Send me all future postings about "Windows 7 & Samba PDC".

4. And last but not least: Since a forum does not only gather messages but
also users, with profiles, maybe even pictures, etc. helps
community-spirit-building, a subject that gains importance those days.

As for the CONS:
I know them all. It is exactly the same discussion as with the never-ending
comparison of Usenet ("News servers") and Webforums.

As for hybrid solutions: Also for newsservers there are exsting
webfrontends. But it remains to be sub-optimal, because if you keep all the
restrictions of the mailinglist (e.g. no binary) then also the forum losses
it's sense.

My preferred solution would be:
Many people - many different needs and preferences - many means of
communication. Some use email, some use telefax.
Why not have a mailing list AND a forum? Some other user claimed that this
would divide the users. Well yes, it would. It would divide the users in
mailinglist-users, forum-users and both-users.
This is not optimal, I know.
But for the moment the mailing-list divides, too! It divides in
mailing-list-users and users that walk away again from Samba. Think about

All the best,

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