W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > January 2012

Re: Forums

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Thu, 05 Jan 2012 19:39:01 -0500
Message-ID: <4F0642A5.9070203@mit.edu>
To: www-style@w3.org
On 1/5/12 5:54 PM, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> I would also like to take argument against one (strange) assumption that's been made in this thread: forums are not about people randomly entering in to follow one topic and then bugger off again.

I think you misinterpreted my comment on the matter.

None of the forums I have encountered have had a way to automatically 
follow all discussion threads on the forum, all in a threaded way, 
without polling.  If you just wanted to follow _some_ of the threads, 
they were OK: you could just follow per-thread RSS feeds.  But following 
all threads including any new threads that might come up has been a huge 
pain point for me.

Now maybe there are forums that make this possible somehow, but I don't 
see how given the basic design and premises of forums.  If such things 
_do_ exist I'd love to see an example.

So forums tend to more or less enforce an opt-in model, where you have 
to explicitly opt in to follow a thread.  That model works great for 
some people and some situations, but I'm not sure it's the right one for 
this mailing list and it's current membership.  It _would_ be the right 
one for many people not currently involved in this list.

> They are intended to do what mailing lists do, better.

Mailing lists do many different things, depending on context.  Forums do 
some of them better, but others worse...

> But, there is a very big reason why there are a lot of forums in the owrld and not very many mailing lists.

Because setting up a forum tends to be easier for one thing, from what 
I've seen.  And can allow anonymous posting (though few do).

> Your preferences may be different, but you're statistically outnumbered if you prefer mailing lists (which doesn't mean mailing lists are wrong for www-style, I'm specifying a trend for general web users).

The interesting thing is not general web users but people who would be 
interested in participating in www-style and have something useful to 
contribute, who would tend to be a radically different demographic from 
"average web users", I suspect.

Again, I agree that _starting_ to use www-style is harder than starting 
to use a forum.  But using it day in and day out is, imo, easier.

-Boris
Received on Friday, 6 January 2012 00:47:02 GMT

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