Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

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DanKegel
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Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by DanKegel » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:17 pm

Hi folks,
the volunteer admins for forum.winehq.org have been deleting
an increasing amount of spam lately, and it seems
clear that we need to update the forum software to a
new release with better antispam features.

The catch is, the mailing list gateway plugin is not compatible
with the new version of the forum.
It looks like the users are split about 90% on the forum and about
10% on the mailing list, so while this would not affect a lot of
people, it would affect those 10% a lot.

So we're kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Thoughts, anyone?

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dimesio
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Re: Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by dimesio » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:47 pm

DanKegel wrote: Thoughts, anyone?
Split them. The link between the forum and the mailing list was broken for four months last year, and nobody from either side noticed until a new user happened to check Gmane and realized that there were replies in his thread there that weren't on the forum.

John Drescher

Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by John Drescher » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:59 pm

Thoughts, anyone?
Split them.
I guess I will be spilled then. However I certainly do not participate
that much lately. Too busy in the day job.

John

John Drescher

Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by John Drescher » Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:00 pm

On Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 2:58 PM, John Drescher <drescherjm@gmail.com> wrote:
Thoughts, anyone?
Split them.
I guess I will be spilled then.
Oops. He said split.. Sorry.

--
John M. Drescher

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Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by tparker » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:06 pm

I'm still a fairly clueless/casual wine/linux user. I've been at it long
enough to have had people answer several of the routine newbie questions
for me. About my only value to the list/forum is that I try to pass
those answers on to the newer crop of newbies as they post hoping it
will help free up the more experienced users and programmers for the
trickier stuff. I am guessing that most of those newbie posts are on the
forum not the email list, so I would not be seeing any of those, but I
don't know that that would be any loss to the group overall since I have
so much left to learn myself. Do whatever is best for the project,
whatever solution makes best use of the volunteered time of those
working on it.

John Drescher

Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by John Drescher » Fri Sep 02, 2011 3:25 pm

 Do whatever is best for the project, whatever solution makes best
use of the volunteered time of those working on it.
I second that.

John

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Re: Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by vitamin » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:38 pm

Just kill the mailing list. It's not manageable. All spam can easily be removed from forum. But stays forever in mailing archives.

And the whopping 10 users who still do genuinely use mailing list are welcome into 21st century and forum interface. It really does not take any longer to read every single post through forum interface then via mailing list.

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dimesio
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Re: Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by dimesio » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:28 pm

vitamin wrote:Just kill the mailing list. It's not manageable. All spam can easily be removed from forum. But stays forever in mailing archives.

And the whopping 10 users who still do genuinely use mailing list are welcome into 21st century and forum interface. It really does not take any longer to read every single post through forum interface then via mailing list.
I don't think it's necessary to kill the mailing list; people have a right to their preferences. However, the issue of spam remaining in the mailing list archives after we have deleted it from the forum is a significant problem. A mailing list admin needs to clean up what's in there now, regardless of what is done with the gateway.

FWIW, the openSUSE forums and mailing list are separate, and both channels are very active. They tend to serve different populations. I see nothing wrong with that. Linux is about choice.

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Re: Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by vitamin » Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:51 am

dimesio wrote:I don't think it's necessary to kill the mailing list; people have a right to their preferences.
IMHO it's better to have one place for everyone, then two places with 90%/10% users split. Until we have 100s posts/day this would be the preferred setup.

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Re: Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by dimesio » Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:00 am

vitamin wrote: IMHO it's better to have one place for everyone, then two places with 90%/10% users split. Until we have 100s posts/day this would be the preferred setup.
Realistically, I don't think the site admins are going to kill the mailing list, because they still regard it as the "real" users support channel, and those of us on the forum as "the problem."

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Re: Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by vitamin » Sat Sep 03, 2011 11:14 am

dimesio wrote:
vitamin wrote: IMHO it's better to have one place for everyone, then two places with 90%/10% users split. Until we have 100s posts/day this would be the preferred setup.
Realistically, I don't think the site admins are going to kill the mailing list, because they still regard it as the "real" users support channel, and those of us on the forum as "the problem."
For me it would be enough to declare it "dead", superseded by forum on the mailing list subscription page. If people so wish to use it - fine let them be.

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Post by liamdawe » Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:09 pm

A forum is much nicer and handier than a mailing list anyday, upgrade the forum!

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Re: Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by DanKegel » Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:50 pm

dimesio wrote: because they still regard (the mailing list) as the "real" users support channel, and those of us on the forum as "the problem."
Oh, c'mon. We're not that out of it. We can count.

John Drescher

Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by John Drescher » Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:58 pm

A forum is much nicer and handier than a mailing list anyday, upgrade the forum!
The huge negative for a forum to me is that I am signed up to 20 to 30
mailing lists. All of which are delivered to google my email account.
For most of these I have a 3+ year history of every single non spam
post. When more of these become forums I will spend less time reading
posts and participating. I simply I do not have time to go to 20
different forum pages login, open and read messages ...

Although like I said in my first reply I do not participate much
anymore since I work 80+ hours a week on the day job just about every
week so the loss would not be that big..

John

Martin Gregorie

Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by Martin Gregorie » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:00 pm

On Sat, 2011-09-03 at 12:09 -0500, liamdawe wrote:
A forum is much nicer and handier than a mailing list anyday, upgrade the forum!
I couldn't disagree more. The big advantage of mailing lists is that you
automatically get new posts presented to you without having to waste
time logging on and searching through the forum to find them. Even if
you remember what threads you want to keep up with you still have to
page through to the end of them to find the new stuff.

If the mailing list is dropped I for one will be out of here because the
hassle of using the forum outweighs any benefit I'd get from it.


Martin

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Post by dimesio » Sat Sep 03, 2011 1:22 pm

Everyone,

Please do not turn this thread into a debate over the merits of the forum vs. the mailing list. That's about as fruitful as trying to convince a chocolate lover that strawberry is the superior flavor. We each have our preferences, and need to respect the others.

The question at hand is whether the forum should be held back because of the belief that there should only be one support channel. I say no; the "unity" is an illusion to begin with. I do not, however, believe the mailing list should be killed off. I say split them, and see what happens. If its members are sufficiently interested, it will keep going. Perhaps it will even thrive if its members don't have to contend with the forum. If not, it will die a natural death. Whatever happens, so be it.

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Post by jorl17 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:21 pm

I've been around for what? 2 years now? I've always used the forum and I think I've given enough good contributions. However, I believe a massive effort and an incredible help is given by the mailing list. It's hard for me to envision a support channel as great as this one without both of these components.

Is there absolutely no way to fix what's wrong and keep the mailing list? And if the current admins can't handle the situation, can't you find some more volunteers? In my humble opinion I think it's pretty bad to lose the link to the mailing list support and the mailing list questions.

Just my two cents.

Cheers,

Jorl17

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Post by dimesio » Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:05 pm

jorl17 wrote:It's hard for me to envision a support channel as great as this one without both of these components.
And yet you, like everyone else here, did not notice at all when messages from the mailing list stopped appearing on the forum for several months last year.

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Post by jorl17 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:22 pm

dimesio wrote:
jorl17 wrote:It's hard for me to envision a support channel as great as this one without both of these components.
And yet you, like everyone else here, did not notice at all when messages from the mailing list stopped appearing on the forum for several months last year.
While that might be true, but I can't be sure of that, since I might not have been active in the forum around that period.

The question boils down to this:
During that time, was there a noticeable increase of difficulty in terms of solving threads? In other words: did the lack of support from the mailing list visibly affect the "help"?

It just doesn't feel right to me to cut off the option of accessing this joint discussion through another "gateway". And if the answer to that questions is "yes", then I'm afraid it will be really bad for the user experience. After all, that's what the forums are here for: to help the users. Whatever's better for them is better for us, right?

But you make a good point Dimesio. A very good point in fact. If there wasn't a noticeable decrease in thread quality, then I'd have to give my thumbs up to this idea...

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Post by dimesio » Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:48 pm

jorl17 wrote: The question boils down to this:
During that time, was there a noticeable increase of difficulty in terms of solving threads? In other words: did the lack of support from the mailing list visibly affect the "help"?
No. And for the record, I have read every single new post on the forum every day since I joined in 2008. The forum says I have made 3624 posts during that time That's a distant second to vitamin's 6087. Neither one of us is on the mailing list.
It just doesn't feel right to me to cut off the option of accessing this joint discussion through another "gateway"
Nothing says you couldn't subscribe to both if they were split.

IRC is completely separate from both the forum and mailing list; that doesn't seem to bother anybody.

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Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by jjmckenzie » Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:24 pm

On 9/3/11 7:48 PM, dimesio wrote:
jorl17 wrote:
The question boils down to this:
During that time, was there a noticeable increase of difficulty in terms of solving threads? In other words: did the lack of support from the mailing list visibly affect the "help"?
No. And for the record, I have read every single new post on the forum every day since I joined in 2008. The forum says I have made 3624 posts during that time That's a distant second to vitamin's 6087. Neither one of us is on the mailing list.

It just doesn't feel right to me to cut off the option of accessing this joint discussion through another "gateway"
Nothing says you couldn't subscribe to both if they were split.

IRC is completely separate from both the forum and mailing list; that doesn't seem to bother anybody.
Dimensio:

You have a very valid point here. If we had much better spam control in
the mailing list gateway, I would agree that keeping the list active is
viable. However, it this is not true and thus when we got hit last week
with 32 messages from one spammer (and there were several that day) all
of them ended up in my folder for this list. Singling them out and
running them through a spam learning program is a great effort and my
false positive rate increases. So, there are 'three' forks to this:

1. Upgrade PHPBB to a newer version that has better spam capture and
kill features.
2. Split the mailing list away from the forums. This was originally
debated and several Wine supporters left because 'we know the spam storm
is coming and I don't want to deal with this.' This option is dead and
was rejected by the majority (at that time) of the mailing list and
forum users.
3. Kill the mailing list off.

So, either option 1 (which I really, really, really like) because we
retain the folks on the mailing list that have a great deal of
knowledge, like Martin, and we get current, supported forum software, or
option 3 (which I don't like, the mailing list is archived at one or
more places and the forum search function really does not work well, in
its current form) are the options. As I said, I like, desire, love,
etc. the idea of upgrading/updating the Forum software to a more current
version. This allows folks choice and the ability to do many things
which we cannot do with the current version.

As to 'choice', I belong to both the mailing list AND the Forums. That
allows me to reply, as I am now, via a mail reader and if I don't have
access to my mail account, I can go to the Forums and reply. Thus, I
feel that I have the 'best of both worlds' and the worst.

I would implore the site administrators to investigate and quickly
update the Forum software so that we can rid ourselves of the now daily
spam runs for all sorts of items like DVDs and Coach purses and
electronic components. I want this area to stay focused on the Wine
project and very, very little else.

Thank you.

James

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Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by madewokherd » Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:19 am

While the mailing list interface is nice for some people and has some
advantages over forums, we have to weigh that against the effort and
annoyance generated by spam. If we're going to force our moderators to
continue to go through that effort and all the users to sift through
the spam, we'd better be getting some value out of that.

So far, no one has said "I will refuse to check the forum if you split
them, and the forum users will suffer." This would be a fairly
arrogant thing to say, but it's the only strong argument I can come up
with for keeping them linked (or keeping the mailing list at all; if
everyone important is on the forum then why have it?). And I would
hope that anyone active who cares that much about this issue would see
this thread and chime in on it.

That said, I will refuse to check the forum if you split them, but
that is entirely because the forum is unimportant to me (and as such,
my continued presence there is not important to anyone).

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Re: Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by dimesio » Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:12 am

jjmckenzie wrote:Dimensio
Are you ever going to learn to spell my name correctly?
2. Split the mailing list away from the forums. This was originally
debated and several Wine supporters left because 'we know the spam storm
is coming and I don't want to deal with this.' This option is dead and
was rejected by the majority (at that time) of the mailing list and
forum users.
I'm well aware of the long history of mailing list users' animosity towards the forum, which is precisely why I noted that if the two were split the mailing might actually thrive once again. IMO, the fact that that option was not the one selected initially is no reason not to ever reconsider it in the light of changed circumstances.
I would implore the site administrators to investigate and quickly
update the Forum software so that we can rid ourselves of the now daily
spam runs for all sorts of items like DVDs and Coach purses and
electronic components. I want this area to stay focused on the Wine
project and very, very little else.
This is one thing on which we can agree completely.

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Re: Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by dimesio » Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:31 am

madewokherd wrote: (or keeping the mailing list at all; if
everyone important is on the forum then why have it?).
All our users are important.

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Re: Forum Software Update and mailing list gateway

Post by doh123 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:00 am

John Drescher wrote:
A forum is much nicer and handier than a mailing list anyday, upgrade the forum!
The huge negative for a forum to me is that I am signed up to 20 to 30
mailing lists. All of which are delivered to google my email account.
For most of these I have a 3+ year history of every single non spam
post. When more of these become forums I will spend less time reading
posts and participating. I simply I do not have time to go to 20
different forum pages login, open and read messages ...

Although like I said in my first reply I do not participate much
anymore since I work 80+ hours a week on the day job just about every
week so the loss would not be that big..

John
I have no problems using forums... I read about 15 of them daily. I have them all in one button to open in tabs in my browser... user name and password is saved so I never have to enter them... all unread messages are marked, and i can scroll through and look at topics and such. For smaller forums that don't get a lot of posts, like this one, I can look at every message... i usually open each new message in a new tab and skim through them quickly.

I do not think a mailing list is any more efficient... it just comes down to what you are use to using

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