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 On 10/15/2010 7:11 PM, Bernhard Dippold wrote:
Hi Barbara,

Barbara Duprey schrieb:

[Bernhard, I'm not sure you actually saw my post == it's all snipped
here. But I think it's pertinent to some of your points.]

I did - but as I only replied to the main point (in my eyes), I removed the other parts to increase readability.

You seem to want to make it easier for unsubscribed users to get their questions replied - I want to show them more: Our community.

Yes, but if they don't get an answer for their initial question they'll never want to know about the community.

I'm sure you're not the only one to use the list this way, but I'm
pretty sure that investigation would show two main motivations: getting
answers to questions, and learning about the capabilities and possible
difficulties of the software (and that kind of user would almost
certainly subscribe). Participation would generally come later, when
people are more familiar with the software and the community.

I started with the first motivation, but discovered the positive attitude on the list and sticked there - being able to reply to questions by others.

I'd rather propose to state clearly on the website the different ways
for getting user support:

- People hesitant to subscribe to the mailing list should ask their
questions on the forum.

In my experience, people are much less hesitant to subscribe to a
mailing list than to learn about forum use (many more people use e-mail
than forums) and identify the proper forum to use for their question.

So you ask them to subscribe?

No, because so often they get overwhelmed by the list volume. I'm just saying that I don't think the forum is an answer for those who are hesitant to subscribe. I think your first point here addresses an essentially null set of people.

All of OOo (or LibO) is just "it"!

Don't understand what you are referring to...

There are so many individual forums that I think it would overwhelm many of these people. They really have no idea about how OOo is constructed or what criteria to use in selecting a forum -- it's just one big black box to them. And their interest in being "trained" for forum use is likely to be very low.

- If users want to ask their question on the mailing list, they should
subscribe IMHO and find out how our community works.

The main issue here is the volume of mail on the most likely lists
(users and discuss). Many of these folks are not especially (or even
somewhat!) tech savvy; they just want to get an answer to a question,
not wade through lots of things of no interest to them.

So there are different interests by the user and the community.

While the user only wants to get his question replied, the community wants to involve new members.

I don't think this is either/or -- first ensure that they can get their answers without any more fuss than necessary, then ensure that they have enough information to get involved with the community if they so choose.

In this case it is important to tell them about the number of mails they will be sent if they subscribe.

Yes indeed!

If this is too much in their eyes, they should look at the archives / Gmane / Nabbles /

But I think they will be able to delete 20 in their eyes unnecessary mails if they get their reply for free and in a very short timeframe.
I think we should probably continue off-list and discuss some likely scenarios. I doubt that the timeframe is very short, or that the number of unwanted messages is so low.

I'll bet many
don't know how to set up filters so all the list mail stays separate
from their regular mail, and they quite likely don't even understand
threading. When they've subscribed, and gotten swamped and/or irritated,
we get "unsubscribe me" requests/demands.

With a proper information mail to unsubscribed posters they will know how to unsubscribe.

For those who subscribe, the welcome message gives them that info as is -- but there are clearly ways that people get on the list without going through the e-mail/confirm/welcome process. What they are, I wish I knew! I've asked several of these people but have never gotten a response. In any case, I'm afraid that many people (and especially "non-techies") ignore any messages of significant length after a cursory glance, and are then likely to throw the message away. Whether "unsubscribe me" messages come from people who initially subscribed normally or not, we see lots of them. The more naive users are led into subscribing, the more frequent this problem will become (IMHO).

The mail from the moderators to the unsubscribed posters is the most important one - it's the invitation to join our community. This mail will have to provide all necessary information on how to subscribe and unsubscribe as well as a short statement who we are.

... and what archives are available, and how to use them, and.... I think the initial message would have to be essentially "teasers" with links into FAQs about the community and the mechanics of how it all works.

About unsubscribe requests: I'm quite sure that most of the people didn't know enough about the mailing list, when they subscribed: This should be addressed as well on the website (near to the subscribe links) as in the mail the moderators send.

With the information by the moderators they will have the chance to
get all the replies from the archive or subscribe and perhaps become a
community member.

The main problem I see with directing them to the archive is that in a
large number of cases, they're asked to supply additional information so
we can help, and the archive is not set up for that (at least, the OOo
one isn't).

I see the point - threading will only be able for replies via Nabbles and Gmane.

It's not so much threading as the ability to easily reply to requests for more information, and to ask their own clarification questions when they get an answer they don't fully understand. Also, I think that all these archives have their own difficulties with searching to get to the original question. Pointing them at their own post is helpful, but just telling them to go look is much less so.

... or if they have subscribed ;-)

I don't want the "OP is not subscribed. Please CC him" mails on this
mailing list and the discussions about the necessity for them.

I agree this is not good -- but at the moment no really satisfactory
alternative has been developed. That's why these discussions keep

I'd like to establish a common agreement on how to deal with moderated mails, so these off-topic mails will be not necessary any more.

That would be nice, and maybe we can make it work -- but this list may not be the best place to do it. How about if we (and whoever else is especially interested in all this) start communicating off list and try to generate a "strawman" for the rest of the group to discuss in specific, rather than generic, terms?

Who ever wants to CC him can do so, but without bothering others.

It is often not clear whether or not the OP is subscribed -- many
can't/won't look at the full headers or filter on them, and sometimes
they join the discussion later, when the header is not available. For
somebody who really has an interest in the "care and feeding" of
currently unsubscribed users, so they can eventually be brought into the
community, or at least be happy with the software, this means that the
OP may well be dissatisfied. They don't get answers, and assume we don't

This has to be addressed by the moderators of the list. They are the ones knowing that the poster is not subscribed - and they should tell him how to follow the thread (and in my eyes the best way is to subscribe).

"Care and feed" these posters is much more important with the information mail by the moderators than with just CC'ing them in the list mails. Or course this may mean that moderators will get private mails (at least I get once and again), but this leads to even more interest in the community.

It's up to the OP if (s)he wants to join the list or not.
If they feel discouraged by the number of mails (and they should be told about this fact), it's not our fault. They should know that we are a vivid community and will learn more about the product if they read the other mails too..

In my eyes even our volunteer user support is not "gratis".
They'll have to face minor inconvenience but will learn more about our community than they would have thought before...

Best regards


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