Invasion of the Forums

So recently, some $user entity joined a particular mailing-list. And starts asking questions. Nothing wrong with that!

Granted, quite a cannonade of questions. Sure, we can handle that. Showing off a profound lack of understanding what he’s dealing with. Right, we are patient, usually, and can explain (again) or point to specific doc sections (yet again). Asking quite dumb questions, often with a confrontational undertone. This is where it gets annoying.

Today, that new kid in the kindergarten came to an obvious conclusion. We need a proper forum! This current $thingy is unberable. And he would even provide the forum. No, wait, he already got a domain… Mind you, the $thingy he uses is a popular “forum frontend for mailing-lists”. I’ll try hard not to mention the name.

So he uses a third-party forum to access a mailing-list, because he can’t handle the mail. Can’t handle the forum either, obviously. And takes the forum front-end’s flaws as evidence a mailing-list is unusable, and we need a forum. This logic strikes me.

Did I mention the list’s topic is about email, quite in-depth, filtering, from an admin‘s perspective?

So he got his shiny new domain. I guess he’ll sit there forever, eye-balling his precious forum, constantly reloading the gazillion threads he started to see if anyone answered his questions. He forgot one thing, though — the knowledgeable folks who actually can answer his questions, and properly maintain the forum.

On to more productive things…

6 Responses to “Invasion of the Forums”

  1. Coward Anonymous says:

    C’mon… I am too curious. Spell out the name of the mailing-list.

  2. pel says:

    I’ve seen this so many times already and I really can’t wrap my head around this “logic”. Some insight to their reasoning would be nice – I’m a pretty positive guy so I’ll assume that they’re not all dumb.

  3. Chris Hills says:

    I dislike mailing lists too. Thankfully there is a wonderful mail to nntp gateway called gmane.

    • kbrae says:

      If you’re happy with the conversion — sure. But you wouldn’t go ahead and claim you need a newsgroup rather than a mailing-list, because you can’t handle your NNTP client, now would you?

  4. Jerome says:

    There are lots of problems with mailings lists that makes reading them a nightmare.

    People use different clients that might produce or not standard output and people use different quoting styles.

    - Different quote and reply styles: top, bottom and intermixed.
    - Different character sets
    - Bad reflow text
    - With word wrap or without word wrap

    These are just some of problems found even using a good mail/newsreader client.

    Web interfaces to mailing lists are horrendous.

    Someone should find a better system.

    • kbrae says:

      @Jerome: Most of these can directly be attributed to the user, or using a bad tool. I do see all of them in forums all the time, too. And a good MUA can make working with mailing-lists a breeze. :)
      Regarding the web-interfaces you’re quite right — pretty much the point of all this. Had he used a decent MUA…