Maintaining threads on the list

Feb 18, 2008 at 9:31pm

Maintaining threads on the list

I have been thinking about this gentle rant for a while…

@rantmode on

Some threads are becoming difficult to follow.

Please…

Be sure that your response is actually part of the thread and not some new
thread – edit subject line.

If a message contains a huge patch, edit it out of your reply to save
bandwidth.

BUT, copy enough of the original message so that we can tell who you are
responding to and particularly who you are thanking. A general thanks
doesn’t let us know whose work you found helpful.

Like many on this list, I often spend a good bit of time to provide feedback
and small tutorial patches if the problem really interests me and making the
patch teaches me something.

@rantmode off

Cheers
Gary Lee Nelson
Oberlin College
http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

#35877
Feb 18, 2008 at 11:13pm

yes, maintaining thread continuity is a dieing art form…

On Feb 18, 2008 11:31 PM, Gary Lee Nelson wrote:

> I have been thinking about this gentle rant for a while…
>
> @rantmode on
>
> Some threads are becoming difficult to follow.
>
> Please…
>
> Be sure that your response is actually part of the thread and not some new
> thread – edit subject line.
>
> If a message contains a huge patch, edit it out of your reply to save
> bandwidth.
>
> BUT, copy enough of the original message so that we can tell who you are
> responding to and particularly who you are thanking. A general thanks
> doesn’t let us know whose work you found helpful.
>
> Like many on this list, I often spend a good bit of time to provide
> feedback
> and small tutorial patches if the problem really interests me and making
> the
> patch teaches me something.
>
> @rantmode off
>
> Cheers
> Gary Lee Nelson
> Oberlin College
> http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson
>
>
>

#122857
Feb 19, 2008 at 3:36am

it would help if the forum was smart enough to detect a new thread, when someone replies to a thread and changes the subject line. seems like a simple regexp would do the trick, but who knows.

#122858
Feb 19, 2008 at 7:52am

Robert Ramirez wrote:
> it would help if the forum was smart enough to detect a new thread, when someone replies to a thread and changes the subject line.
> seems like a simple regexp would do the trick, but who knows.

It actually does do that. However, it’s a problem when someone uses the
reply button and sets an In-Reply-To: header and then changes the
subject to something else. Keep in mind that this is not just a forum,
it’s tied into a mailing list as well which adds it’s own set of
challenges. Also, I think what Gary might be referring to is topic drift
within a thread.

Another issue is people quoting the entire message in their reply. This
is just laziness and might be fine for one-on-one email but is basically
a big burst of noise in the mailing list/forum context. I don’t know
whether to laugh or cry at the response earlier in this thread where
Gary’s entire message was quoted simply for the purpose of a “me too”.
These sort of responses contribute nothing to the discussion. It’s fine
if you agree, but unless you have something else to add, it’s better to
not post at all.

Many of the issues that Gary describes in his post are easily avoided by
people just simply using a small bit of forethought before they post. It
seems to me that this is the biggest issue. People are getting chattier
and chattier, asking questions then posting neverminds 15 minutes later.
Eventually we’re going to start deleting these noise posts. This forum
is a great resource, but it could be so much greater if people would
just make their posts count for something with greater frequency. Think
before you post, and it it doesn’t add to the discussion, then think
again before posting.

It also behooves the beginners and newcomers to realize that, the more
care you put into putting together a thoughtful message that describes
your situation in great detail, the more likely you are to get a
detailed, thoughtful response. “X isn’t working and I don’t know why”
tells us nothing, except that you didn’t even care enough about your own
issue to describe it in greater detail. If you yourself don’t care, why
should you expect anyone else to?

Please keep in mind that with every post, you are either strengthening
or weakening this resource. Act accordingly.

cheers

w

#122859
Feb 19, 2008 at 8:09am

> People are getting chattier
> and chattier, asking questions then posting neverminds 15 minutes later.
> Eventually we’re going to start deleting these noise posts. This forum
> is a great resource, but it could be so much greater if people would
> just make their posts count for something with greater frequency. Think
> before you post, and it it doesn’t add to the discussion, then think
> again before posting.

Indeed. I am guilty of this on occasion. I’ve now put myself in the
habit of composing an email and saving it to a drafts folder and only
after I try a few more things to be absolutely sure about what I’m
posting about do I send the draft off with further additions. Often
though I just end up deleting the draft as the exercise of writing my
question down was enough of a trigger to get me back on the right
track.

wes

#122860
Feb 19, 2008 at 10:38am

I’m wondering what the ratio of forum users to mailing list users is. Can’t really imagine a lot of people would still use the mailing list, but maybe there still are? Otherwise, isn’t it an idea to get rid of it sometime?

I’d like for people to always edit out patches when they reply. Replied patches can’t be copied anyway, and it makes it easier to see which patches you’ve tried and which you haven’t.

#122861
Feb 19, 2008 at 10:56am

I still use the mailing lists exclusively; I did try to use the forums,
but find them such a faff that I’d just end up not using it at all,
except for searching the archives.

It’s not helped by not being able to change the address one uses on the
forums (unlike mailing lists), but I also find the whole way of working
in a mail client much more fluid.


O

Bas van der Graaff wrote:
> I’m wondering what the ratio of forum users to mailing list users is.
> Can’t really imagine a lot of people would still use the mailing
> list, but maybe there still are? Otherwise, isn’t it an idea to get
> rid of it sometime?

#122862
Feb 19, 2008 at 11:04am

Noooooo!
If you remember when the forum started, most people
were more pro-list than pro-forum. Maybe the balance
has shifted a little now, but I for one would be very
sad to see the list go.
The list is easier to search, easier to customise and
organize, and it carries attachments correctly – in
fact, I only ever visit the forum if I have problems
with my mail account.

> I’m wondering what the ratio of forum users to
> mailing list users is. Can’t really imagine a lot of
> people would still use the mailing list, but maybe
> there still are? Otherwise, isn’t it an idea to get
> rid of it sometime?
>
> I’d like for people to always edit out patches when
> they reply. Replied patches can’t be copied anyway,
> and it makes it easier to see which patches you’ve
> tried and which you haven’t.
> –

I’m with you all the way with that one, though
cheers
Roger

PS. Um, should i have changed this to a new topic,
‘list vs. forum revisited’…?

#122863
Feb 19, 2008 at 1:42pm


On 2/19/08 2:52 AM, “Wallace Winfrey” wrote:

> Many of the issues that Gary describes in his post are easily avoided by
> people just simply using a small bit of forethought before they post. It
> seems to me that this is the biggest issue. People are getting chattier
> and chattier, asking questions then posting neverminds 15 minutes later.
> Eventually we’re going to start deleting these noise posts. This forum
> is a great resource, but it could be so much greater if people would
> just make their posts count for something with greater frequency. Think
> before you post, and it it doesn’t add to the discussion, then think
> again before posting.
>
> It also behooves the beginners and newcomers to realize that, the more
> care you put into putting together a thoughtful message that describes
> your situation in great detail, the more likely you are to get a
> detailed, thoughtful response. “X isn’t working and I don’t know why”
> tells us nothing, except that you didn’t even care enough about your own
> issue to describe it in greater detail. If you yourself don’t care, why
> should you expect anyone else to?
>
> Please keep in mind that with every post, you are either strengthening
> or weakening this resource. Act accordingly.
>
> cheers
>
> w

I was simply voicing a minor annoyance. The strength of this list is its
openness. I would not want to see “noise” messages just deleted. I would
not want to decide what is noise and what isn’t.

Cheers
Gary Lee Nelson
Oberlin College
http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

#122864
Feb 19, 2008 at 1:46pm

#122865
Feb 19, 2008 at 2:21pm

Gary Lee Nelson wrote:

> I would not want to see “noise” messages just deleted. I would
> not want to decide what is noise and what isn’t.

Well, the good news is that we’ve actually done quite a bit of noise
trimming over the years, and nobody seems to have gotten too bothered.
If you’re looking for an example of a good candidate, it’s those threads
where a person asks “how do i do something” and then posts a “nevermind”
15 minutes later. if that thread doesn’t receive any other posts, and
fades into the archives of the site, you can be pretty sure that thread
is going to be deleted from the archives. Another candidate for noise
deletion are the excessive quote replies that serve no useful purpose.

w

#122866
Feb 19, 2008 at 2:30pm

#122867
Feb 19, 2008 at 3:58pm

This sounds fine for the Forum archive but sometimes the first part of these
“nevermind” threads on the list jogs my memory about something – often
basic.

This list seems to be largely self-regulating. I, for one, ignore questions
that can be answered by reading the available documentation. I also ignore
posts with “URGENT” in the subject or “I need this by Friday” in the body.
Rather than complaining. I prepared a listing of what I think are the
fundamental resources and posted it as an attachment via the Forum. I
searched the Forum to find it at

http://www.cycling74.com/forums/index.php?t=msg&goto=122344&rid=0&srch=basic
+learning+resources#msg_122344

The attachment to this post points to lots of other people’s work.

My original rant was prompted by a “thank you” for something I worked on
with several other list members. That message contained nothing to indicate
which post was being answered. I don’t look at this as competition but it
would have been useful to know whether my input was on-point and/or helpful.

On 2/19/08 9:21 AM, “Wallace Winfrey” wrote:

> Gary Lee Nelson wrote:
>
>> I would not want to see “noise” messages just deleted. I would
>> not want to decide what is noise and what isn’t.
>
> Well, the good news is that we’ve actually done quite a bit of noise
> trimming over the years, and nobody seems to have gotten too bothered.
> If you’re looking for an example of a good candidate, it’s those threads
> where a person asks “how do i do something” and then posts a “nevermind”
> 15 minutes later. if that thread doesn’t receive any other posts, and
> fades into the archives of the site, you can be pretty sure that thread
> is going to be deleted from the archives. Another candidate for noise
> deletion are the excessive quote replies that serve no useful purpose.
>
> w

Cheers
Gary Lee Nelson
Oberlin College
http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

#122868
Feb 19, 2008 at 4:30pm

Gary Lee Nelson wrote:

> This list seems to be largely self-regulating.

I concur and I hope that it stays that way. The one thing I absolutely
hate doing is any kind of content moderation, but sometimes it is
inevitable, particularly if people are being personally abusive (which
only seems to happen once in a blue moon, thank goodness).

> This sounds fine for the Forum archive

One of the primary reasons we do after-the-fact post editing in the
forum archives is because excessive quoted replies and threads with no
content slant the search results. A thread in which every post has the
original post quoted in it’s reply will get more weight for those
particular search terms than they deserve. I know the search engine has
it’s share of issues (all of which will eventually be addressed, I
promise), but ultimately it begins with the content.

> My original rant was prompted by a “thank you” for something I worked on
> with several other list members.

This is one of the drawbacks of an integrated forum/mailing list
solution (and there are many). Replying in the forum often tends towards
terseness because the entire thread is laid out above your post. A good
mailing list post quotes a relevant bit from the message it is replying
to and puts the reply below.

That said, it doesn’t have to be that way. For all the advantages that a
forum has, one disadvantage is that it seems to enable posting laziness
in a way that mailing lists do not. The only remedy is for people to
develop better posting habits (and I thank you for the good example you
consistently set in this area, Gary).

cheers

w

#122869
Feb 19, 2008 at 9:22pm

i use gmail filters to navigate the lists, it does a good job of keeping
threads together, its javascript is smart enough to hide the quoted text so
i only see the replay. i never saw this bug/feature so i never thought i
have to manually trim access data.
and the thread auto updates with new replays.
another bonus to the mail based list is it ok to switch a thread between
private and global.
i use the forum if a permanent link to a thread is needed . or if i want to
attach a file, as the forum doesn’t accept files submitted via the list.
only the other way around.
i have a fairly complete backissues of the list of three years, it would be
nice to have a dump of the archives so i can upload to my gmail “and collect
them all”.
the current archive page is only since 2005

http://www.cycling74.com/pipermail/maxmsp/

http://www.cycling74.com/forums/index.php?t=msg&goto=14797 ;)
(if its not copyrighted) can anyone please upload to a share site. that’ll
be great

for older threads i use the forum search or google with site:

http://www.cycling74.com/forums

On Feb 19, 2008 1:04 PM, ROGER CARRUTHERS
wrote:

>
>
> PS. Um, should i have changed this to a new topic,
> ‘list vs. forum revisited’…?
>

#122870
Feb 24, 2008 at 12:13pm

Bas van der Graaff schrieb:
> I’m wondering what the ratio of forum users to mailing list users is.
> Can’t really imagine a lot of people would still use the mailing
> list, but maybe there still are? Otherwise, isn’t it an idea to get
> rid of it sometime?

I am using the list exclusively, if this list would shut down, I would
not use the forum but rather create a new list. Forums don’t work for
me, I can’t read them when I am in the metro or the train or the plane
or in nature. I never understood why anybody would want a forum. I could
easily live without it. I don’t see a single advantage, everything is
just plain slow compared to my thunderbird…
“Isn’t it an idea to get rid of it sometime?” (read get rid of the
forum… ;-)

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com

#122871
Feb 24, 2008 at 12:25pm

Wallace Winfrey schrieb:
> One of the primary reasons we do after-the-fact post editing in the
> forum archives is because excessive quoted replies and threads with no
> content slant the search results. A thread in which every post has the
> original post quoted in it’s reply will get more weight for those
> particular search terms than they deserve. I know the search engine has
> it’s share of issues (all of which will eventually be addressed, I
> promise), but ultimately it begins with the content.

At the moment still google seems to be the only way to get useful search
results, or has the search functionality of the site changed? If so
please announce it here.

I can search the list even off line, because I keep all posts local.
Saved me some questions… (It is huge now, more than 4GB, but who cares
with the HD sizes we get nowadays… ;-)

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com

#122872

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