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

Re: Forums

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2012 11:01:52 -0800
Message-ID: <CAAWBYDBwycsW0eeqvdP-fYtjjWmLfm0Ts4va696GyyY-pVsL_w@mail.gmail.com>
To: Matthew Wilcox <elvendil@gmail.com>
Cc: juancarlospaco@ubuntu.com, "Marat Tanalin | tanalin.com" <mtanalin@yandex.ru>, www-style@w3.org
On Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 10:36 AM, Matthew Wilcox <elvendil@gmail.com> wrote:
> @Tab
> "Because we always have" is not good enough. Sorry, I'm wading in here
> with my newbie boots, but do you realise how incredibly off-putting
> the technology and systems the W3C use for communication are to people
> wanting to get involved?

I'm just explaining why it is the way it is.  Inertia is a powerful force.

> Even for people as passionate and committed as me, it's an incredible
> battle to get involved. I don't think it's a good argument to keep the
> status quo that "it works for now". Horses worked fine too, but we
> invented the car because it was better. The rest of the web are
> driving cars and the W3C is sitting in it's horse-drawn-carriage
> causing irritation with the general population who are sharing the
> same roads and wondering what's going on.

While I appreciate the car metaphor (there is no subject where a car
metaphor is inappropriate), it's not accurate.  Forums aren't a strict
improvement over email.  They're better in some ways, and worse in
others.  For example, another useful benefit of email is that I can
subscribe to a bunch of mailing lists and see them all in one place.
Multiple forums make that impossible - I'd have to visit multiple
websites each day to read all the messages.  Personally, I've dropped
forums from my daily rotation simply for that reason.  (At this point
I visit a single forum regularly, and then rely on a whole bunch of
RSS for most of the rest of my daily reading.)  Forums also require
yet another sign up, with yet another username and password pair to
remember.  Hopefully the various WGs would share a login system with
their separate forums.

Again, I think the primary problems with our email system are (1)
signing up is a usability hassle, and (2) the archives are horrible.
Both of these are problems only because no one's ever spent any real
effort to fix them.  In the meantime, there are other archives of all
the w3c stuff that may be easier to read (I occasionally read a thread
in MarkMail when it's from a mailing list I don't follow).

(Another patch for the problem is to use POP3 to import the archives
into your mailbox.  Then you have as much history as you want, working
well with existing messages.)

These problems need to be fixed, because they are definitely lowering
participation, it just takes someone with the time to fix them.  ;_;

> Another example of email-list problem : I want to share the discussion
> publicly on Twitter. Nowhere im my mail client is there a URL I can
> copy and paste to share the discussion. I have to go poking around the
> w3C website to try and find the archive pages so I can then find this
> thread so I can copy that link onto Twitter.
> On a forum, I'd just copy the URL in the address bar and be done with it.

Little-known workaround - if the email was sent to you by the mailing
list (that is, if you aren't personally on the  recipient list for the
email), you can look at the headers (in Gmail, click the dropdown in
the upper-right and select "Show Original" and get the archive address
from the "Archived-At" header.  I hear that some mail clients expose
this more easily, too.

If the email was sent directly to you, those headers obviously won't
be there, since the list didn't really touch the email.  Then you have
to go archive-diving, unfortunately.

On Thu, Jan 5, 2012 at 10:40 AM, Marat Tanalin | tanalin.com
<mtanalin@yandex.ru> wrote:
> Another related problem: messages cannot be reliably united into one single thread. As a result, quite often we end up with _several_ threads in mailing-list archives that are really parts of one thread. It makes it hard to follow discussion later.

This only happens when people screw up their subject lines, which
happens rarely.  Most email clients do things correctly so messages
thread appropriately.

Received on Thursday, 5 January 2012 19:02:45 UTC

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