Maintaining threads on the list


    Feb 18 2008 | 9:31 pm
    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
    www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

    • Feb 18 2008 | 11:13 pm
      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
      > www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson
      >
      >
      >
    • Feb 19 2008 | 3:36 am
      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.
    • Feb 19 2008 | 7:52 am
      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
    • Feb 19 2008 | 8:09 am
      > 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
    • Feb 19 2008 | 10:38 am
      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.
    • Feb 19 2008 | 10:56 am
      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?
    • Feb 19 2008 | 11:04 am
      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'...?
    • Feb 19 2008 | 1:42 pm
      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
      www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson
    • Feb 19 2008 | 1:46 pm
    • Feb 19 2008 | 2:21 pm
      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
    • Feb 19 2008 | 3:58 pm
      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
      www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson
    • Feb 19 2008 | 4:30 pm
      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
    • Feb 19 2008 | 9:22 pm
      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/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:
      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'...?
      >
    • Feb 24 2008 | 12:13 pm
      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-------
      --_____-----------|--------------
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      ----------()--------www.ccmix.com
    • Feb 24 2008 | 12:25 pm
      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