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

Re: Forums

From: Anton Prowse <prowse@moonhenge.net>
Date: Sat, 7 Jan 2012 03:30:34 -0500
Message-ID: <4776d7da90650cb2af48aa89372229b3.squirrel@webmail.moonhenge.net>
To: www-style@w3.org
On 05/01/2012 19:55, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> @Boris
> Isn't that a false arguemnt, in two ways?
> 1) You can't participate ina discussion offline because you can at
> best only author a comment on what may be old thread content. You're
> not tlaking to anyone, you're composing messages to old content.
> 2) Is it really a big use case for people using the lists that they
> are disconnected from the internet whilst doing www-style work?
> Seriously? I can only believe it's a tiny minority of cases where that
> is true, and the work-around of "offline" is subject to the problems
> of 1.
> Get the same benefit by subscribing to forum RSS and having that pull
> down to a reader on your machine.
> There is nothing that email is doing that a forum can not also do. Better.

I'm offline for about 50% of my work on this mailing list, because I'm
very often dealing with old messages, not new ones, and I don't need to be
online to do that; and I see that as a significant advantage since I'm
often on the move.  (RSS notifications wouldn't fully address that since I
can't reply to them.)

Related to that, I have many hundreds if not thousands of mailing list
posts stored.  The ones I keep are all kept because I know that I need or
will need to refer back to them.  I most definitely don't want to keep
_all_ posts in many conversations that contain keepers, so I would require
any replacement technology to allow me to follow individual *posts* and
hide the remaining posts.  (I've never used any forums that would allow me
to do that, that I'm aware of.)

Another peculiarity of mailing lists (and newsgroups) is that I can reply
to an older post within a topic and hence fork the threading whilst still
remaining within in the topic as a whole.  Indeed I'm doing just that
right now (admittedly more to make the point than because it was strictly
necessary in this case!).  I see this as an advantage, particularly when I
come to refer to the archives later, since it helps me zoom in on the
particular information that I'm looking for.  Often a post contains
multiple themes that can be replied to, and forking the threading helps
separate the themes.  That's not possible with forum software I think,
since threads are linear.

I also find it advantageous to be able choose whether to order posts by
thread or by date.  Often, threads don't exist in isolation and sometimes
things that are said in one thread influence what's then said in another. 
Being able to sort posts globally by date enables us to understand how
conversations are interacting.  All forums that I use are strictly

Anton Prowse
Received on Saturday, 7 January 2012 08:33:38 UTC

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