[Haskell-cafe] Edit Hackage

Claus Reinke claus.reinke at talk21.com
Mon Nov 1 11:19:49 EDT 2010

>> Stack Overflow and Reddit are at least improvements over the traditional
>> web forums, starting to acquire some of the features Usenet had twenty
>> years ago.  Much like Planet-style meta-blogs and RSS syndication makes
>> it liveable to follow blogs.
> Very much this. I mourn Usenet's potential as much as anyone, but life
> goes on.

Agreed, in principle. However, the quality of discussions on Reddit
makes me want to run away more often than not - it is already worse
than Usenet was in its last throws (yes, I know it is living an 
afterlive;-). One thing we learned from Usenet is that trying to 
add to a thread gone bad is very unlikely to make it any better, 
and too many Reddit threads go bad so quickly that I've never 
felt like even trying to improve the signal/noise ratio. Just my 
own impression, of course (and perhaps the Haskell Reddit
doesn't suffer quite as much).

Also, while both Reddit and Stack Overflow can be read without
Javascript, both require Javascript for posting (can't even log in
to Reddit without, and have to edit half-blind in Stack Overflow
without). Community-edited sites like these are the last ones on
which I'd want to be forced to enable Javascript.

Moving from a few Haskell mailing lists to many lists, to added
IRC channels, to added blogs and RSS-feeds and aggregators,
and added sites like Reddit and Stack Overflow does give more
options, but makes it rather harder to follow everthing (in the
beginning, feeds and aggregators give you the feeling that
you're more up to date than ever, but at some point your feed
handler overflows your number of hours per day:-).

Which means that it is also getting more and more difficult to
reach people as easily as before (do you ask on haskell-cafe,
haskell-beginners, reddit, or SO? do you announce on haskell,
haskell-cafe, or reddit? do you survey on haskell, haskell-cafe,
google, or reddit? do you answer queries on the wiki, on -cafe,
on -beginners, on reddit, on SO, or where? and so on..). Some
people try to crosspost items to their favourite sites, in the
hope of finding them again, in a single place. So many social
sites now compete with each other that blog entries come
with one-click-forward-this-there buttons.

So, I agree with Don that you're missing things if you only
follow the -cafe, and I agree with others that the -cafe is the
most important forum for me. Overall, I'm not too happy
with the way things are diverging, though..

Apart from the Usenet->mailing list move, it also reminds
me of the command line->GUI movement - some people
are quite happy with tools that at least remind them of
command line control (such as most mail readers or
programmer's editors), while others want web and guis
that do not remind them of something they've never seen
or put to good use (the command line prompt).

Or perhaps, it is just a tick easier to get started on web
forums - you can read without subscribing, you can
subscribe without committing yourself (throwaway
accounts on reddit, for instance) or installing tools (if
I recall correctly, my last Windows notebook no longer
came with pre-installed email client..).

> As you say, most email archives leave something to be desired. As far
> as I know, the best way to find anything in old -cafe threads is to do
> a google search with
> "site:http://www.haskell.org/pipermail/haskell-cafe/", and there's no
> good way to get an "overview". Especially as topic drift leads to
> subject lines being uninformative (I mean, "Edit Hackage"? What?).

I have the feeling that the existence of 4-5 archives for some
Haskell lists means that the Google ranking will be spread
among them, giving each a weaker ranking than one would
hope for (it certainly didn't help that some time ago, haskell.org
had robots banned from its mailing list archives for a while).

Btw, does anyone know why searching with "list:haskell-cafe"
does not help much, even though every single posting to this
list has a "List-Archive:" heading pointing to the pipermail


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