[Actionchix] Website wishlist

jennyw jennyw at dangerousideas.com
Sat May 20 12:34:37 EST 2006

Terri Oda wrote:
> On 19-May-06, at 4:51 PM, Kathryn Hogg wrote:
>> I don't think they should be accessible without registering and
>> certainly
>> not allowed to be crawled by search engines.  You have to subscribe
>> to the
>> email lists to get the messages delivered so why should it be any
>> different because its on a web page?
> Incidentally, this is not currently true of all our mailing lists.  We
> do allow some to be viewed by the general basically as a public
> service, so that people can learn from all the cool chix who answer
> questions and stuff. 

Of the lists listed at
http://www.linuxchix.org/content/docs/listinfo.html#archives, you can
get to the archives for these lists without a password:

actionchix (I was surprised about this one)

You need passwords for these:

newchix (a little surprised about this one, too)

We could do something similar with the forums, restricting posting to
members only, and giving anonymous web surfers read access to the ones
that are currently publicly available.  Personally, I'd change the above
so that actionchix was private and newchix was public. I'd also consider
making issues (and maybe grrltalk) public -- as advocates for women in
computing, I think it's good for discussions on these topics to be
public to give them more exposure.

As for why the addition of forums might be good:

* Anonymity/privacy/protection from e-mail spam. Mailing lists require
that you use an e-mail address. Sure, you could sign up for one at one
of the free services, but a) those aren't optimized for viewing lists;
and b) it'd be a whole lot easier to just join a discussion forum under
an alias. Additionally, people can't harvest your e-mail address for
spam if you're known only by an alias. If people need to contact you,
they can e-mail you via a web form.

* A better interface for discussions. There have been some times, such
as the torrential threads on grrls-only, that I would have rather had a
simple forum interface, where the whole thread was stored linearly and
showed up only once in the index of messages. You can argue that you can
get this with xyz client, but not everyone will have xyz client (and/or
have xyz client configured to work like forums). For the curious, I use
Thunderbird and Mutt for reading mail.

* Casual users might want to login in only every once in a while -- much
better to be able to get to the discussions when they want than to have
the discussions come to them every day. Sure, people can use filters,
but if they don't read a list except for once a month, then that's a lot
of disk space to devote to keeping them.

* You can get all the lists with one login.  With Mailman, you have to
subscribe/unsubscribe to lists separately, which is a big pain.

* New people interested in LinuxChix can see what's going on. Maybe by
making the lists more easily accessible, more people will find they want
to join in the discussions.

* Advertising revenue. If we wanted, we could throw up AdSense on the
side to make some money to raise money for LinuxChix.

* Better exposure. I'll echo Terri and say I would love the world to see
more of what LinuxChix does. Making discussions available to the public
in an accessible way would help with that.

Kathryn Hogg wrote:
> I have had spam on a couple of forums that I admin.  I require
> registration with those goofy 'please type in this very hard to read text'
> validations.

Like I said, it's not impossible, but I think it's less likely.  What
software are you using? Different software packages will have different
issues. I haven't observed spam problems on the forums I participate in,
which tend to run PunBB, RForum, or some commercial package like UBB.
Other forum software, like phpBB, might be more prone to spam.

> No, I'm referring to the user having to poll the forum to see if there is
> anything new posted.

No one *has* to poll the forum. They could subscribe to the lists if
they wanted to. But some people will prefer to go to a web site. As for
server-side issues, I think that more and more frequent visitors to any
part of the LinuxChix web site is a good thing. Other content on the
site would probably be viewed more often by association, we'd expand our
audience, and it could give us a potential revenue stream. Plus, I'm
sure the sponsors wouldn't mind if more people saw their logos, maybe
enough to pay for another server if it gets to that. ;-) I really don't
see a downside to more page views.

> Will the forums respect the "X-No-Archive: Yes" header?

If not, the nice thing about open source is we can make changes. ;-) I
took a quick look at the RForum code, for example, and it seems like it
would be pretty quick to add a check for that header.


More information about the Actionchix mailing list