Forums > MaxMSP

[OT] Mailing list question

March 21, 2006 | 6:19 am

Hi,

Apologies if this is in the wrong place, but I checked the forum page
and didnt find an obvious place to post questions regarding the forum
and the mailing list.

Ive noticed that the dates/times I receive mail dont follow the dates/
times that topics/replies are posted to the forum.

ie:

the order of the Jitter Live Object distortion thread as seen in the
forum is completely out of whack on my mail client (Apples Mail.app
client, v 2.0.7 on OS X 10.4.5).

Is this the same as with other peoples mail clients not reflecting
proper sequencing as seen in the forum?

I am assuming that the forum has some sort of cron job that parses
incoming mail and then posts the the forum and then to the mailing
list. Ive noticed that when I reply to a list question via email, its
instantaneously on the forum posting, but ‘getting’ back to the
mailing list is often quite delayed, perhaps by at least 10 minutes,
and sometimes up to an hour. Thats not a huge issue, but when things
get re-ordered, following a thread gets rather difficult via the
mailing list, as my mail program doesnt reflect the order on the forum.

Dont mean to bitch about the mailing list vs. forum (but I’d greatly
prefer not to use the forum myself), but it was just a small
observation as I caught myself being confused over some replies
chronological order.

is it just me?

Thanks, and apologies if this is in the wrong place.

v a d e //

http://www.vade.info
abstrakt.vade.info

I LIVE! I LIVE! I LIVE! I LIVE! I LIVE! I LIVE! I LIVE! I LIVE! I
LIVE! I LIVE! I LIVE! I LIVE!

You will not be saved by the Holy Ghost. You will not be saved by the
God Plutonium.

In fact, YOU WILL NOT BE SAVED!


March 21, 2006 | 7:06 am

nope it is not only you, I am still waiting for my post to show on
the list, it has been a day now :)

forum is ultra fast though

best
ilteris


March 22, 2006 | 10:36 am

vade wrote:
> Is this the same as with other peoples mail clients not reflecting
> proper sequencing as seen in the forum?

Yes, especially threads don’t show up anymore consistently on my
thunderbird client (mostly on 3 different places somehow scrambled). I
don’t know if I just didn’t set it up correctly, or what is the problem.
It definitely was no issue before the change to the forum. Id love to
find a "How To" for setting up common mail clients like Thunderbird,
Mail… to show threads correctly.

Another observation is, that a lot of replys look like
Re:Re:Re:Re:Subject. They add Re: ad infinitum. This might be related.

There was a reason I forgot why I switched from Mail to Thunderbird, I
might go back, but I would need good reasons to do so and only if its
granted that it would be better. (I would never switch to any
Microschuft client ever thoug…)

Stefan

[][] [][][] [][] [][][]
[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Stefan Tiedje
Klanggestalter
Electronic Composition
&
Improvisation

/~~~~~
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))))) )| | |( \
/// _/)/ )))))
___/ ///

————————-x—-
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– _|_)—-|—–()———–
———-()————x—–

14, Av. Pr. Franklin Roosevelt,
94320 Thiais, France
Phone at CCMIX +33-1-57 42 91 09


March 27, 2006 | 6:55 pm

vade wrote:

> I am assuming that the forum has some sort of cron job that
> parses incoming mail and then posts the the forum and then to the mailing
> list. Ive noticed that when I reply to a list question via email, its
> instantaneously on the forum posting, but ‘getting’ back to the
> mailing list is often quite delayed, perhaps by at least 10 minutes,
> and sometimes up to an hour.

Sorry, I was on vacation last week and am just now catching up on the discussion.

It doesn’t work that way at all. When a message is posted to the list, it is immediately "pipelined" to the forum. The forum is in fact, a subscriber to the list. Likewise, when a message is posted to the forum, it is also immediately posted to the list. No cron jobs are involved.

If you are seeing a large delay in between the times it takes for messages to appear in your inbox, it is likely because the SMTP server was unable to immediately deliver it. Now I know that everyone has perfectly functioning SMTP servers and all that, but believe it or not, this does happen sometimes. The forum "subscriber", being on the same machine as mailman, will always get your replies instantaneously. With any other subscriber not on the same machine or local network, the results will vary.

One thing to remember too, is that the Date: header in your email is not always going to be the same thing that’s displayed in the forum. The Date: header can be determined by a lot of different things, sometimes by the time that the message was actually successfully delivered to your SMTP server, and not the time it was actually posted.

Of course, none of this takes into account that your email client, your mail server and our servers might all have widely-varying definitions of what the "current" time is. We have a cron job that runs every 10 minutes and syncs the server’s system clock via ntpdate to time.nist.gov.

Stefan Tiedge wrote:

> It definitely was no issue before the change to the forum.

I beg to differ. Sometimes it took as long as 18 hours for my posts to appear on the old majordomo-managed list.

To summarize, our forum and mailing list software do their absolute best to post and send list/forum messages to the forum and all subscribers to the list as soon as a new message is received. Due to the nature of SMTP connections, we can not guarantee that every message sent to the list will make it to each subscriber instantaneously, or even within what could subjectively be called "reasonable" or "in-order".

Since the mail server I read my list mail on is on the same network backplane as the machine that hosts the forums/mailing list manager, I can tell you that there is little to no difference between the time that I get list mail and it’s simultaneous appearance on the forums, at least from casual observation.

vade wrote:

> Thats not a huge issue, but when things get re-ordered, following a
> thread gets rather difficult via the mailing list, as my mail program
> doesnt reflect the order on the forum.

Due to the factors outlined above, and the fact that your email client may thread messages differently than the forum based on it’s own interpretation of when a message was posted, we can never guarantee that the two will match up. My suggestion, if this remains a problem for you, is to bite the bullet and start participating via the forum, or follow list discussion via the RSS feeds, which are generated directly from the forum db.

One final comment: rarely, our mailman server will choke, and this means that messages intended for the list will be delayed until the mailmanctl process is restarted. This occurence, however unfortunate and inconvenient, can cause differences between the forum thread listing and say, the mailman list archives (not to mention your mail client threads). However, it is just something we’ll have to learn to live with.

I hope this clarifies some of the mystery behind forum/list integration.

cheers

w


March 27, 2006 | 7:46 pm

while we’re at it, i don’t seem to be able to see pictures that people are posting on the forum. at least i presume they are pictures given the context of some posts… perhaps this has been dealt with before. btw. i’m on Firefox 1.5 mac OS 10.3.9


March 27, 2006 | 10:29 pm

> while we’re at it, i don’t seem to be able to see pictures that people are
> posting on the forum. at least i presume they are pictures given the
> context of some posts…

That’s because attachments are still not currently working in the forum. I am planning on fixing this, but I would like to make a general recommendation that people avoid attachments, not just because of the (current, and soon-to-go-away) limitation with the forum, but for a couple other reasons as well:

1. They consume unnecessary bandwidth. One thing that’s easy to forget is that there are a *lot* of users on this list — 987 to be exact. There’s also a 40k message size limit, which I’m sure some of you have encountered before. What happens when someone sends a message with a 40k attachment to 987 members? They generate roughly ~40MB of bandwidth. That might not seem like a lot, but remember that this list gets a lot of traffic, and that traffic adds up. It’s much more efficient to put your attachment up on a website somewhere and post an URL (I’m also aware of the problems with the weird spaces in the URLs, and am also working on fixing that).

2. Unlike when a link to an attachment is provided, attachments aren’t included in a reply. As a list reader myself, I know that many times, I won’t find the beginning of a thread interesting, but will occasionally pick up on a thread halfway through, and delete the first couple posts. If the interesting discussion is about the attachment, I’m out of luck. However, if the interesting discussion is about a posted file that’s still being included in the replies, I still have a reference point to go to.

3. Believe it or not, some of our users at least occasionally still find themselves on dial-up, and there’s nothing more annoying than having to download an attachment, even a 40k attachment, over a dial-up connection. If you think I’m overstating my case, I’d like to point out that until very very recently, 128k ISDN connections at $80/month+ were the fastest connections I could get in my neighboorhood.

4. It’s a minor point, but dealing with attachments can be a *huge* pain in the ass when it comes to managing and moving mailing list archives around. They also make browsing the raw list archives somewhat painful, as users are forced to scroll through page after page of uuencoded gibberish.

5. Since Max has the ability to "save as text", meaning patches can be posted inline, having to put up the occasional screen grab on a website is less of an encumberance for regular use of these lists than it might otherwise be.

So for these reasons, and some others I’m not currently considering, please, please avoid attachments if at all possible. Bandwidth doesn’t grow on trees, and you’d be helping us a lot by posting links rather than attaching files. I realize in some instances this may not be feasible, but 99% of the time, posting a link is the desired behavior.

cheers

w

PS I’m aware that for archival reasons, it may be less feasible to put a link up somewhere than it is to use an attachment, since there’s a greater expectation of longevity for the list archives than individual’s websites. Ultimately though, I think the reasons for NOT using attachments outweigh the reasons FOR using them.

PSS While we’re at it, would some of you mind setting it up so that you don’t attach a signature when posting to the list, or at least trim your signatures down to a more reasonable 3 or 4 lines? Also, I would HIGHLY recommend that those of you that see fit to include your home address or telephone number in your signatures please stop doing so, unless you really really like the experience of identity theft. It’s fine for private emails between individuals, but not such a good thing to do on a publicly-accessible, google-indexed web site. Trimming one’s sigs is a totally optional request, BTW. At the very least, please set your sig off from the rest of the message by a "–".


March 28, 2006 | 3:11 am

hi Wallace, a few things.

1) I have not received any of the emails today on the list, at all – the forum clearly has. This means that if the forum is simply subscribed to the list that the list server must be running, yet ive received no emails from this list (I have from others from the same account)- also, my one new topic that I sent in today roughly around 5pm est has not shown up to the forum at all.. Ive even attempted to check via webmail, and rebuilt my mailbox. No joy. The last email i’ve recieved via either webmail or mail.app is @ 3:47 – Kristophers reply to the [maxmsp] Re: Elektron Machinedrum SPS-1 Midi. thread.

*sigh*

2) Ive *never in my life* seen a mailing list where a reply to a post has come before the initial post. This is coming from someone with approximately 60,000 unread emails in various lists across the spectrum. Apples OS X Server mailing list, the PD list, the old Max list, the Beta list from Yahoo, the Creative Commons list, the Quartz Composer list and various other private ones – ive done a pretty good check just now, and could not find any example of the date issues that are as glaringly obvious and frequent as on the new Max, and Jitter lists.

Im not trying to point fingers, or bitch (really, im not!), but something worked – it was changed, and now it doesn’t. Occams Razor would seem to imply…

Thanks for listening. Id *really* rather not use the forum – if the mailing list is supposed to be an option – it should remain usable.

Thanks again –

vade


March 28, 2006 | 6:14 am

Looks like our mailing list server crashed earlier today, right around the time I went to pick up my car from the shop and prepare dinner for my family.

Like I said earlier, we only see these problems when mailman crashes. I’ve put a cron job into place to look for further instances of mailman crashes, and restart it when this happens.

My apologies for any inconvenience, although knowing some of you, I’m sure not receiving list mail is right up there with finding out you have cancer ;-)

cheers

w


March 28, 2006 | 8:18 am

On 28-Mar-2006, at 0:29, wallace winfrey wrote:
> 5. Since Max has the ability to "save as text", meaning patches can
> be posted inline, having to put up the occasional screen grab on a
> website is less of an encumberance for regular use of these lists
> than it might otherwise be.

Yes, and I usually do enclose Copy&Paste-able patchers-as-text.

However, if one wants to show an example using 3rd party objects
(particularly non-freeware items, particularly UI objects), it seems,
to me at least, that for many people the ability to *see* what the
patch looks like without having to download-and-install a bunch of
stuff is worth the extra bandwidth. It is even arguable that images
can in some circumstances be *more* bandwidth-efficient that text.

Living in what, up until recently, was a 3rd-world country internet-
wise, I really do appreciate that dial-up bandwidth and attachments
are No Fun(tm). However, mail client options allowing the user to
control when/where/if attachments are downloaded have been pretty
much standard since Eudora 1.0. You can choose to selectively
download or ignore this stuff.

Incidentally, patchers-as-images would be a chunk smaller if Max
wouldn’t insist on including an alpha channel in the clipboard. There
was probably a Good Reason for implementing image copy this way, but
it wasn’t for making mail attachments smaller. And some mail clients
do strange things with alpha… (this is really for the development
team and not the Forummeister, sorry). With my last attachment I
trimmed off the alpha channel before sending. If you want to swap
PITA stories, let’s get together for a beer sometime!

> I would HIGHLY recommend that those of you that see fit to include
> your home address or telephone number in your signatures please
> stop doing so, unless you really really like the experience of
> identity theft.

Not a phone number, but anecdotally:

In an effort to encourage people to use my new mail account, I
included it in the .sig used for my old GMX account. I am using that
GMX account for one thing and one thing only nowadays: posting to the
Max/MSP lists. Nothing else.

I was far more successful than I had hoped: within the first 24 hours
(!) I received twice that number of spam messages addressed to yours-
truly-at-castine-dot-germany’s-two-char-code.

Not everyone reading this list is a nice person interested in
creating exciting new art with Max/MSP. Email address-trollers work
fast.

I grew up with the max-four-line rule for .sigs (and I even know
*why* they’re called dot-sig) but in 2006 I hope that people can cope
with six or seven lines. When the four-line rule was in effect my
internet access was a 300 Baud acoustic coupler. Hopefully nobody
here is forced to use that slow a connection.

Best — Peter

————– http://www.bek.no/~pcastine/Litter/ ————-
Peter Castine +–> Litter Power & Litter Bundle for Jitter

iCE: Sequencing, Recording & |home | chez nous|
Interface Building for |bei uns | i nostri|
Max/MSP Extremely cool http://www.castine.de

http://www.dspaudio.com/


March 28, 2006 | 2:48 pm

> I grew up with the max-four-line rule for .sigs (and I even know
> *why* they’re called dot-sig) but in 2006 I hope that people can cope
> with six or seven lines. When the four-line rule was in effect my
> internet access was a 300 Baud acoustic coupler. Hopefully nobody
> here is forced to use that slow a connection.

Good points, Peter. Of course, the other problem with sigs is that some folks find them aesthetically displeasing, especially when reading them over and over again every time they read a post from frequent posters.

I hope noone feels like they’re being singled out (especially those of us with 7-line sigs ;-). I’m simply trying to address a concern that at least a few have felt compelled to personally email me about — so for those of you that have written and asked about these things, well, here you go.

> However, mail client options allowing the user to
> control when/where/if attachments are downloaded have been pretty
> much standard since Eudora 1.0. You can choose to selectively
> download or ignore this stuff.

You know, I think you’d be surprised. As far as I can tell, Thunderbird doesn’t have the ability to selectively download only say, an attachment name & header, and neither does Pine. I’m open to being proved wrong, of course. I’m sure there’s a Thunderbird extension out there that does this sort of thing.

These are great points Peter, however I think a case can be made for the other reasons I outlined. One reason I didn’t point out in my last post, but which is fairly implicit, is that communication is now slightly different than it’s been for say, the last 6 or 7 years. What works in a pure mailing list environment doesn’t work as well in a mixed list/forum environment.

cheers

w


March 29, 2006 | 11:59 am

We seem to have a clash of cultures here with the combined list/forum
environment. Hopefully it won’t come to mass demonstrations with
burnings of embassies.

On 28-Mar-2006, at 16:48, wallace winfrey wrote:
> What works in a pure mailing list environment doesn’t work as well
> in a mixed list/forum environment.

Also a good point (as well as what I’ve schnipped).

Sigh. I’m an old emailer, I still prefer reading mail list. I’ve not
done a scientific study on this, but it *feels* much much faster than
web access to the forum and I suspect a stopwatch will bear this out.
Plus I can read my mail offline (isn’t that argument in favor of the
list for people with dial-up access?) Anyway, my mail client
automatically includes a default signature. If I remember I can turn
it off for individual messages but I’ve got to think about it.

As for the aesthetics of repetitive signatures: when I find an
efficient way of doing so, I’ll import my collection of ~200
different .sigs from Mail 1.0 into v2.0, add a bunch of new ones, and
start cycling through those. That should be more aesthetic than those
damn’ "avatars" cluttering up the forum !-q

– Peter

PS: Yes, I know, some people love avatars. Guess who’s not one of ‘em!-


March 29, 2006 | 12:29 pm

couldn’t a smart solution be found where a mailing list simply reposts
itself onto a forum? Thus retaining all functionality of a mailing list?
I know I’m definetly in the anti-forum camp, I like the fact that I just
open my inbox and get a swarm of maxmsp sp-m sorted in a sub folder for
me to read and delete as I please. Using the web to read is slow, band
width intensive, and less immediate – also if it fills my inbox I
actually have to read it to delete it, so I’m "forcing" myself to
participate. I know if I had to read everything on a forum it means I’d
read less and perhaps also nothing for weeks at a time.

> We seem to have a clash of cultures here with the combined list/forum
> environment. Hopefully it won’t come to mass demonstrations with
> burnings of embassies.


March 29, 2006 | 2:54 pm

inforazor wrote:

> couldn’t a smart solution be found where a mailing list simply reposts
> itself onto a forum? Thus retaining all functionality of a mailing list?

Umm, that’s pretty much what’s happening here. I think the discussion is
more about the aesthetic of posting styles.

peter castine wrote:

> Anyway, my mail client automatically includes a default signature. If
> I remember I can turn it off for individual messages but I’ve got to
> think about it.

Yeah, and it’s a virtual certainty that if we were to turn on the bells
& whistles, the signatures that would creep in from the forum users
would be much more obnoxious than those of the emailers.

> We seem to have a clash of cultures here with the combined list/forum
> environment. Hopefully it won’t come to mass demonstrations with
> burnings of embassies.

Honestly, most of the trouble-makers seem to be from the old school, er,
"skool". Have any of you seen a post from a forum user where they say
"I’m sorry, I just need to vent here, but I absolutely *hate* the
mailing list." ? I don’t think I’ve seen one of those yet ;-)

I think a point that’s being missed though is that I’m not talking about
what other forums out on the web are like, or should be, I’m talking
about what *this* one should be, and can be, with persistence and
establishment of widely-understood community mores and values.

The fact is, a lot of people like the forums and what was once seen as a
insular-at-best, and snooty-at-worst community now seems a bit more open
to more of our customers, and I think that’s a *very* good thing. I
think I did a back-of-the-envelope analysis recently, and figured out
that ~40% of the posts are now coming from forum users. I know several
of our employees prefer using the forums to the lists, and I myself
switch back and forth depending on mood.

What we’re trying to do here is overcome the inherent problems in such
an unholy marriage, and it’s only going to come about from persistent
effort on the part of those that host the community. I’m confident it
can be done, and also, it must be done, because we’re not going back to
the old situation no matter how many embassies are burned.

Thanks for the healthy discussion at any rate.

cheers

w


March 29, 2006 | 3:40 pm

I wouldnt mind the forum, if the swap was completely transparent and
the mailing list behaved exactly as it did before..

v a d e //

http://www.vade.info
abstrakt.vade.info


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