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On 04/29/2011 11:33 AM, e-letter wrote:
Not sure that a web forum suddenly makes the use of LO more appealing
to "non-geeks"

What's wrong with reading mailing list messages in digest mode and
going to the searchable archive as and when appropriate.

Has the been a poll on mailing list against forum?

Regardless of the result, "non-geeks" should be encouraged to
understand the benefits of a mailing list, similarly to explaining LO
compared to m$o...

I don't know of any scientific studies on the matter, unfortunately. Speaking from anecdotal evidence, though, mailing lists tend to be attached to open source and other techie projects, or to niche groups that are too small to justify setting up a web forum. Otherwise web forums dominate. Larger open source projects tend to have both forums (for the general userbase) and mailing lists (for the more technically oriented crowd of users and for those working directly on the project), bearing out my (admittedly unscientific) observation.

I think this is because mailing lists have a higher barrier to entry. You need to subscribe to them to experience them the way they ought to be experienced. The archives are very bare bones and don't thread the conversations (which is also why I don't like digest mode; I want messages grouped according to subject, not the day they were sent, and I prefer it done three-dimensionally like Thunderbird's threading does). Okay, the ones do do threading, but they still only display only one message at a time (unlike a web forum) and you have to use the mouse to go forward and back, unlike in Thunderbird where you can navigate with the keyboard very adroitly.

I much prefer my mailing list setup to any forum, but that's part of the problem: it's my setup. A user's experience with a mailing list depends heavily on what that user brings to the table. With a web forum, it'll be the same for everyone who isn't using an ancient browser. Making the general office software-using populace learn to love mailing lists in order to discuss and get help with LibreOffice problems seems to be a totally unnecessary increase in LibreOffice's barrier to entry.

Isaac Hummel

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