[FoRK] my dream mailing list software

Justin Mason <jm at jmason.org> on Tue Jul 17 05:48:35 PDT 2007

Luis Villa writes:
> On 7/17/07, Justin Mason <jm at jmason.org> wrote:
> > > Does this exist and I am clueless?
> > >
> > > X-THREAD-URL:http://somewhere.com/list-id/2cb10c440707161851s5d1cdb5au7e3bfce52ee78757
> >
> > me, I'd like to add RSS/Atom feeds to the wishlist. ;)
> 
> Those are both nice ideas. (I have particular interest in the
> X-THREAD-URL, since a goal of my ideal mailing list software would be
> to minimize repeated conversations- which means good archives.)
> 
> I'm a little less interested in the RSS/Atom feeds; not that they are
> bad, but that in and of themselves they are just polish on a turd.
> 
> Current mailing list software is like a bad panel at a conference- you
> have to lock yourself in a room, you're often listening to the same
> 3-4 people, people end up either shouting or bored, with nothing in
> between, and (overall) you're stuck with whatever is going on unless
> you either leave or you're one of the lucky few who owns really good
> earplugs.
> 
> Good mailing list software would (IMHO) be like a really good party.
> If you get tired of a conversation, you can easily and politely ignore
> it by just walking away, but you don't have to leave the party just to
> get away from one conversation. If a conversation gets really good
> once you walk away, you can notice that that corner of the room has
> gotten more crowded and more animated, and you can rejoin the
> conversation. (Ideally, a good friend catches you up on what you
> missed while you were away, hence the interest in good archives.)
> Since you're speaking to smaller groups of interested people instead
> of a whole room, you don't have to raise your voice and you're less
> likely to want to scream. And overall it can be a lot more welcoming
> than a conference- you can invite your friends over, and tell them
> 'don't worry, if the asshole talks to you, you can just ignore him.'
> 
> So yeah... RSS feeds are nice, and I certainly wouldn't mind a more
> google-groups like experience in general, but feeds/google groups
> don't solve the fundamental problem. You're still at a bad conference
> with them; I want to host a party.

I see your point.  Unfortunately I've just gotten sidetracked into a
general "wishlist for mailing lists" thing. sorry ;)

By the way, the Ubuntu forums have *another* interesting UI, which is that
of a web-based forum that happens to be a mailing list at the same time.
(Unfortunately, they do it only for the Ubuntu lists, and are
closed-source.)  However www.nabble.com also do this, and we use it for
the SpamAssassin lists -- if someone visits Nabble's version of the
SpamAssassin users mailing list archives, they can post directly from that
web UI, as if it were a phpBB forum.  It works surprisingly well!
(Totally irrelevant to the "better killfile" thread though ;)

--j.

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