[Haskell-cafe] Edit Hackage

Daniel Fischer daniel.is.fischer at web.de
Sat Oct 30 05:29:54 EDT 2010

On Saturday 30 October 2010 03:42:27, Ivan Lazar Miljenovic wrote:
> On 30 October 2010 12:22, Lauri Alanko <la at iki.fi> wrote:
> > On Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 01:55:12PM -0700, Don Stewart wrote:
> >> The number of subscribers to the Haskell Reddit, for example, is
> >> double the -cafe@, and there are comparable numbers of questions
> >> being asked on the Stack Overflow [haskell] tag, as here -- so anyone
> >> who only reads -cafe@ is already missing a lot of stuff.
> >>
> >> A lot of the community has already voted on the efficacy of mailing
> >> lists for large communities, by moving their discussion elsewhere.
> >
> > Do you mean that people have actually unsubscribed from the list in
> > favor of only following web-based media? New people who only join the
> > web forums do not "vote" since they may not even know about the
> > mailing list.
> >
> > I know that this is a hopeless battle, but since I feel very strongly
> > about this, I'll indulge in defending the mailing list even though
> > this is rather off-topic.
> >
> > The reasons why I prefer mailing lists (and newsgroups, rest in piece)
> > over web-based discussion forums:
> >
> > * Usability: mail and news clients provide a consistent interface to
> >  all the discussions, and the customizability and diversity of
> >  clients ensures that everyone can access the discussions the way
> >  they like it. In contrast, web forums come with their built-in
> >  interfaces, and if you don't like them, you are SOL.
> >
> > * Scalability: related to the above, since mail and news provide a
> >  consistent interface to all the discussions, adding new lists and
> >  groups to be followed requires minimal effort since they just show
> >  up as new items whose updates get tracked automatically. In the
> >  worst case, adding a new web forum to be followed requires visiting
> >  the site frequently to check whether new messages have arrived. RSS
> >  and similar syndication technologies help, thankfully, but support
> >  for them is inconsistent, and often incomplete (they might not
> >  notify about new comments, only new topics). I subscribe to tens of
> >  mailing lists without problems. I wouldn't want to try to follow
> >  tens of web forums regularly.
> >
> > * Archivability: with mail and news, it is trivial for me to get local
> >  copies of the discussions (and the messages I myself have written)
> >  which I can peruse and search to my heart's content later without
> >  being dependent on the continued functioning of some external
> >  service. Although it is possible to save web pages locally, this
> >  usually very inconvenient, especially if one wants the local copies
> >  to be kept up to date with ongoing discussions.
> >
> > * Offline support: related to the above, with mail and news fetching
> >  and sending messages are separate from reading and writing
> >  them. Hence one can read and write messages even when one is for
> >  some reason not online. Web forums practically require an online
> >  connection when one wants to read the discussions.
> >
> > * Neutrality: newsgroups are completely distributed and not controlled
> >  by any single entity. Mailing lists are a centralized service, but a
> >  purely technical one. The haskell.org mailing lists (like the rest
> >  of haskell.org) are directly maintained by the community. In
> >  contrast, external web forums like reddit and stackoverflow are
> >  owned by companies, and visits to the sites bring ad revenue to the
> >  companies. Moreover, the contents of these sites are subject to
> >  deletion (or perhaps even editing) by the whims of their owners.
> >
> > In short, the old technologies of mail and news are technically vastly
> > superior to web forums, which have required additional technologies
> > (e.g. RSS) to attempt to overcome the obstacles that mail and news
> > solve directly.
> >
> > It is true that web forums are nowadays very popular and have some
> > nice features that the older technologies don't. The main reason for
> > this, I suspect, is money: mail and news are from the older, more
> > innocent age when internet technology was driven by the desire to
> > communicate efficiently instead of making money. They are by their
> > nature so neutral that they provide no financial incentive to develop
> > them or support them. The web, on the other hand, provides many
> > opportunites to profit by offering services, so it is no wonder that
> > web technologies have flourished in the commercialized internet.
> >
> > Perhaps this is inevitable, and it is certainly ok for the haskell.org
> > front page to provide links to reddit and stackoverflow just to inform
> > visitors that these sites might be of interest.
> >
> > But by saying "I encourage people to use the online forums: Haskell
> > Reddit and Stack Overflow" you are effectively saying: "please let
> > Condé Nast Digital and Stack Overflow Internet Services, Inc
> > capitalize on your interest in and knowledge of Haskell". I most
> > strongly object to this becoming the standard policy of the Haskell
> > community.
> +1; that's pretty much my opinion/arguments as well.

+1; same here.

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