[prog] Possible closure of this mailing list

H. McManus hamster at invisiblepixels.org
Wed Jun 6 18:50:46 UTC 2007

Hi Mary and list members,

I'd like to echo what others have said and say I think it would be a  
shame if this list were to disappear.

Mary, I'd like to address some of your comments inline below.

> This list seems under-used for a technical list. It had a total of 114
> messages posted in 2006, and so far has had 13 in 2007. This is much
> much lower than techtalk, where programming is also on topic. techtalk
> has about 700 or 800 messages a year.

Quantity is no indicator of quality what so ever. This list mightn't  
get the same volume of posts, but by the same token this list has  
never ever seen an argument nor an off topic post. Just a very high  
quality of response.

>  - a lot of lists confuses people about which ones to subscribe to

I don't see how having to choose between separate lists is any more  
confusing/difficult then having to choose between multiple topics in  
the one list. I also believe using the topic feature of mailman is a  
less than optimal solution for the simple reason it relies on a  
person remembering to do the right thing. A system that works only  
some of the time is largely pointless.

>  - it adds to our list admin load

If admin is a problem then I will be more than happy to admin  

>  - it separates people from the larger groups that could help them

No, what it does is put people in touch with the most appropriate  
group to help them. No point reaching an audience of x hundred  
readers if only a couple are interested and/or capable of responding.  
With this list,  the posts will always reach the most appropriate and  
interested readers.

> 1. why either you think the traffic will increase markedly or the
> present level isn't a problem

I don't think it will, but I don't see why the present level is a  
problem. This list is being used as is it needed. The low volume  
means it's very to easy to take lots of time to read and respond  
fully when there is a post. Look at the last thread on structures -  
some respondents put a lot of effort into what they wrote, something  
I don't think would happen on a really busy list.

I'm a little bit worried about what I perceive to be a mentality of  
if a list isn't overflowing with posts then there must be something  
wrong with it. This isn't some corporate body where if you don't use  
your annual budget then next year's will be reduced accordingly. This  
list is no busier nor quieter than what it needs to be in order to be  
a helpful list.

Perhaps if the programming threads that appear on techtalk were to be  
diverted here, things might pick up?

> 2. why merging with techtalk would be a bad idea

Because techtalk is not the appropriate place. There is overlap  
between discussing technical issues and programming, but they aren't  
the same thing. Just as I'm not necessarily interested in someone's  
packaging woes, someone asking how to setup NAT with iptables is not  
going to be the slightest bit interested in overloading java methods.  
I do realise you can set up the whole mailman topic thing, but to me  
it's a less than ideal solution to a problem that doesn't necessarily  


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