Taming the mailing lists?
Tom 'Needs A Hat' Mitchell
mitch48 at sbcglobal.net
Fri Apr 30 02:26:21 UTC 2004
See foot notes below too:
On Wed, Apr 28, 2004 at 01:00:22PM -0400, Elliot Lee wrote:
> Subject: Taming the mailing lists?
Add a mailing list tag to the subject [FC]. (1)
> Reply-To: For users of Fedora Core releases <fedora-list at redhat.com>
Shorten this to something like "FC Fedora Discuss <fedora-list at redhat.com> (2)
> If you feel that the Fedora mailing lists are becoming a little
> unmanageable or are not as valuable as they could be, would you take the
> time to e-mail me with your thoughts on the problem? (private e-mail is
> fine) If you think that there's no problem at all, hearing that opinion
> would be useful too!
Send a more informative "Welcome Message" to new list subscribers.
Begin it with a reference URL that people are invited to bookmark.
Cover threads, top posting, netiquette, FAQ, archive searching (3)
> fedora-list mailing list
> fedora-list at redhat.com
> To unsubscribe: http://www.redhat.com/mailman/listinfo/fedora-list
Make sure the mailing list footer/signature is visible on lots of mailers. (4)
This is where longer essays like "For users of Fedora Core release" belong.
Fix the default yum and up2date config files (5) ;+}
Adopt ten FAQ sites (6).
Let me elaborate...
1) Add a mailing list tag to the subject [FC], because the majority of
new posters have no clue about threaded mail readers, procmail filters
and large volume mail management. The first day after subscribing to
a high volume mailing list like this the rules of order get lost in a
total disorganized blur. This little change will help new arrivals
and if short will pose no pain on others.
2) Shorten the quoted name of the list in the reply to and from
as much as possible. "Fedora discussion <fedora-list at redhat.com>"
Inspect how adding the mailing list to an address book works on
multiple mail readers. What is with this lonnnnnnggggg name.
Reply-To: For users of Fedora Core releases <fedora-list at redhat.com>
Is just too long and today adding the list to an address book is now
partly crippled. No wonder folks hijack threads.
3) Begin a welcome to the list message it with a reference URL that
people can bookmark. Cover threads, top posting, netiquette, FAQ,
archive searching. A single URL is easy to save. A URL can stay
current. An introductory file while a necessary first step is often
not saved. It would be useful to send this message then 12 hours
later activate the list so the "welcome" is not lost in the flood.
4) Make sure the mailing list footer/signature is visible on lots of
mailers. Perhaps this is a top post bottom post culture thing but the
number of unsubscribe messages and questions tell me that it is not
5) The single most common new user problem is how to stay current and
setup yum/up2date to use a mirror. Please design a way to fix the
default yum and up2date actions to help people configure their config
files better! Too many of us have embellished config files but how
do we get the basic vanilla mirror stuff in place.
6) Adopt TEN FAQ sites. Frequently asked questions frequently trigger
rants, RTFM, and other non productive threads that are less than
helpful to most beginners.
Community sponsored FAQ's are one way that the user community
to assist and help. I picked ten but a good short list one
that has a long list is necessary.
The bulk of the new arrivals have no clue what a FAQ is or the magic
words to toss at a search engine to get good results. Ponder the
first two things that Google finds for Yarrow ...
... Yarrow. A secure pseudorandom number generator ... About
A Modern Herbal | Yarrow - Herb Profile and ... Common
Yarrow. Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium LINN.).
We know why this is silly but a beginner does not.
7) Consider renaming the list "FCB Fedora Core Beginner". This can
set expectations for readers and posters. There may be some demand
for a "FCW Fedora Core Wizard" list as a result but the wizard know
who is who and help each other.
8) Consider threads that have more than 5 postings as one of: a) bug
report or b) rants. The rants are obvious - hit 'd'. The others are
commonly problems looking for solutions. Example#1: mp3 players. The
number of mp3 postings is massive. Perhaps the mp3 dummy plugin for
xmms and other players could pop up a help window that gave some
information? Example#2: up2date gpg download error could pop open a
list of possible causes and solutions. The current error is
equivalent to "BZZZZ error, bad boy go to the back of the line". It
could give the top three: a)download failed, try again, b) load
missing redhat keys thus, c) non Redhat package ignore this one time
only or load their key.
Bottom line is that FC has to support itself out of the box better.
9) It is time to change the Fedora.Redhat.com web pages. Sadly I use
Google to find stuff because the structure is dated. Today they are
more of an engineers project page than end user pages. There are user
interfaces that understand user 'flow' and then there are feature
interfaces that enumerate all the work to do for the manager and the
engineer. Engineering managers tend to build the second users need
'flow'. Some engineers just get it right because they have a vision.
Others are managing their todo list and details. At this point in
time the web design needs to shift from engineer to user.
10) Ponder a way to integrate man, info and other help systems.
I have a gazibyte of documents on my box but I have no navigation
tools that seem to do what I expect. I end up starting with
"locate" then "less" then a browser.
Documentation is an anthology and some sane way is needed to build a
new index and toc as each package is added. See: /usr/share/doc/ and
the 732+ piles of good but mostly hidden stuff there.
BTW: Thanks to who ever fixed the multiple language apache document
part of apache in FC2. It took me way too long to get mine right on
FC1. http://localhost.localdomain/manual/ Check your
/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf.rpmnew file if you have not already.
T o m M i t c h e l l
/Dev/null the ultimate in secure storage.
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