Elang discussions? - a call for a new format

Joachim Durchholz joachim.durchholz@REDACTED
Wed Jan 14 19:08:23 CET 2004

Gerd Flaig wrote:
> Joachim Durchholz <joachim.durchholz@REDACTED> writes:
>>Joe Armstrong wrote:
>>>I'd like to see the following:
>>>   1) Web based discussion lists
>>>      something like yahoo groups ...
>>>   2) Multi-threaded discussions
>>(2) is simple: install a local news server. No news inbound or
>>outbound newsfeeds (that would only complicate things, people can
>>subscribe directly to the news server).
>>inn or cnews seem to fit the bill.
>>Not sure about a web reader for newsgroups - googling didn't give me
>>any useful results (yet).
>>I'll be looking for such a software myself, so if anybody is
>>interested I'm willing to share my findings.
> what's wrong with a mailman-based mailing list and Gmane for archives
> and NNTP access?

1) Mail software is generally not as good at knowing about thread 
structure as news software. (Probably because mail headers aren't built 
for doing that.)
2) News software is better at filtering out uninteresting threads. E.g. 
in Mozilla, I can mark an entire thread as uninteresting in news but not 
in mail.
3) I'm tired of getting the same response twice, once directly and once 
from the mailing list. I'm also tired of having to copy the CC header to 
the To header and snipping out all those unneeded CC headers. At least 
it's easy with Mozilla, I remember dimly having much more work in Outlook.
4) On the server side, news servers are intrinsically distributed. If 
you find that a news server cannot take the load, or if you want fault 
tolerance, you simply add another server. The servers will automatically 
replicate for each other. Mail transport servers don't usually have such 
features (there's experimental clustering support in exim, but it's 
experimental - news servers have a head start of several decades).

In short: email is built for individual communications, news for group 

I don't understand why mailing lists are so popular. I guess that's 
because most people have been fooled into thinking that setting up and 
running a news server is difficult. It is not - the inn2 package in 
Debian will install a local one-machine server right out of the box, or 
at least the Debian docs say so.

> The first part could be provided by SourceForge
> (e.g. sf.net/projects/erlang-projects),

I had very mixed feelings about SF.
SF is specifically tailored towards hosting concrete development 
projects. Try to do anything different, and the SF configuration will 
stand in your way.
E.g. I once tried to set up a project that would keep its data on the 
WWW side of things. I gave up when I found out that anybody with an SF 
account could inject a PHP script that might alter the WWW data of any 
other SF project. Since it's easy to get an account, any WWW pages on SF 
are open for all sorts of mischief. (I'm pretty sure that everything 
works fine if the WWW pages contain just peripheral information, easily 
recreated if tampered with.)

Currently looking for a new job.

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