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On 10/20/2010 11:50 PM, Drew Jensen wrote:
On Wed, 2010-10-20 at 19:55 -0500, Barbara Duprey wrote:

Howdy Barbara

I don't have anything against forums (though I hope we can avoid having two top-level ones, as for
OOo, and careful planning is needed in determining the subforums).  The main difference, which is a
positive for some and a negative for others,
A breif look at some numbers - and ideas for how we offer mail
lists/forums maybe.

is that mailing lists are passive (people get mail when
No, they must run some type of reader - this can include a notification
agent in their OS or Browser.

OK, not *totally* passive!:-) But I don't have to go to each website with forums of interest, log in, and navigate to each forum, and each thread in that forum, to see what's new. I get a nice presentation from my mail client (which I keep up basically all the time) showing all the new messages. In my case, I have all the OOo and LibO traffic directed to a common mailbox, so it's all there without my having to seek it out. I also have different mailboxes for each other list or family of lists I follow. Maybe I'm missing something about how I could use forums as easily? If not, for me the mailing lists require much less explicit activity on my part.

it's posted) and forums/newsgroups require action to see messages.
Every web forum I know of send notification email to the original poster
whenever a response is posted to a thread they created.

Well now, that's *very* interesting! I clearly haven't used forums in too long, I've never seen this. It still doesn't help with a forum analog of this conversation, though, since I didn't originate this thread.

With that in mind there is no real difference between traditional mail
lists and web forums for the majority of end user support questions.

The vast number of these people come ask a question or two, they desire
a timely reply and if the are helped they may not come to ask another
question in a long time, if ever again.

The number of new joins and the number of new topics being in synch is a
result of this. Here is the en only forums status as of a few minutes

If you analyze the mailing list archives at OO.o for number of posts to
email addresses this is a huge distribution difference.

If you do the same analyses on the 10 years of OooForum posts and the
last 5 years of the fr forum at u.s.oo.o and the 3 years for the
remaining forums the numbers break down quite nearly
identical to the mailing lists in distribution.

In the last 3 years the forum has had 35,000 plus people
that signed up, asked their 2.x questions and most I think got a
reasonable answer in a reasonable amount of time.

You mentioned two top level forums, actually that is two English top
level. So for overall activity you need to, almost, double those figures
- there is a percentage of people that cross post questions, but it is
not particularly high, or at least was not last time I took the time to
try an count it (about 2 years ago..and it was minimal<  15% of topics
as best I could gather)

So take that number, 35,000 and make it ~60,000 people that would of
subscribed / and want to very quickly un-subscribe / from the ML, 20,000
more a year.


Wow! I knew I didn't want to force ML subscription for (most likely) short-term users, but these figures are fascinating.

I do, myself,
which may be why I see the balance between the two mechanisms differently than you.

In that regard, the modification of the Reply-To is,
Yes I agree the current footer on the ML should be changed IMO

But the key is, even if people have to subscribe, don't make it so they
are required to un-subscribe, necessarily.

I think, more likely to give a false sense of
security than to fix the problem of people not getting responses they would benefit from.

there's an approach I hope we can agree on, which is having the moderator send an unsubscribed OP a
message that, among other things, tells them how to use a page like the one Drew has developed
( to follow their threads on nabble without having to subscribe.
<NOTE to self: need wiki page for how to work with Nabble>  ;-/ or
anyone wanting to help..

Hooray! I'm definitely willing to help.

  If we had a similar page for OOo, it would make an
enormous difference there, as well.
Why not -

I did not setup that nabble archive, and can't change settings - if you
back up there to the openoffice level you are actually looking at a flat
view of the users ML at oo.o - the others are available also, but I did
not find a decent forum/sub-forum view.

I also think there are possibilities in creating sublists in parallel with the subforums; the main
thing I'm concerned about here is getting into lots of redirection from the "beginning" list/forum
to the subs, unless it's really necessary because the question drives too deep for appropriate
handling at a generalist's level. (Sort of like the Level 1/ Level 2/ Level 3 support structure used
by most help desks I've known about.)
Ok - I agree that there is need for both aggregate and segregated views
to topics - I'd say the segregated produces more results for support
situations - look back at the numbers for daily activity.

60 topic posts a day - simple indicator to me anyway, number per day of
those for Math, Draw and Base - in the aggregated ML Math and Draw
specific questions are reasonably infrequent, Base perhaps more so, but
Base is really the only one with a functioning segregated ML for user
support - in the forums there would be avg>  1 for Math,>  4 for Draw
and>  10 for Base. (good estimate I think but didn't run actual numbers

That said, I'm good with the idea of an aggregate user (All modules and
extensions in one place) and segregated web forums - which I think is
what you are suggesting, yes?

... and corresponding mailing lists.

Developing the kind of structure and the related message I'm talking about here, and that has been
recommended by others, will take significant collaboration. I'm trying to learn about wikis so I can
host and manage one on this subject, but I'd gladly defer to somebody else who can put one up on the
TDF site where it really belongs. Any takers?
It's a wiki - be can't really break it - well, not really

Are you saying there's already a wiki page established that we could use to collect all these thoughts? Or that I could create a page off the TDF wiki (assuming I would be able to get appropriate authorization) and run with it? In either case, wonderful -- what's the next step?

Best wishes,


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