Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers

Felipe Contreras felipe.contreras at gmail.com
Mon Jul 5 15:25:14 UTC 2010

On Mon, Jul 5, 2010 at 3:57 PM, Chris Tyler <chris at tylers.info> wrote:
> Thanks for your note and for your argument in favor of making the lists
> open to the world.
> However, there are also strong arguments in favor of the current
> configuration, which permits posting only by subscribers:
> (1) Spam is already a significant problem on the lists, and would rise
> dramatically if anyone was permitted to post.

That's what spam filters are for; if your filter is not doing the job,
improve it.

Also. A *person* would be moderating the list, and would mark
unidentified spam as spam. I do this for all my mailing lists, and
many people do the same. Certainly, the spam traffic in Fedora mailing
list cannot be bigger than open mailing lists such as LKML.

> (2) Most posts provoke discussion. If the original poster is not
> subscribed to the list, they will probably get dropped from the
> discussion at some point, and not realize the full benefit of the
> discussion. Also, it's likely that they will at some point respond
> privately to a post in the discussion, leaving an incomplete record for
> the subscribers and the list archives.

No, they will not. When mailing lists don't munge the Reply-To header,
everybody is forced to "reply to all", which means the Cc list is
automatically kept.

Also, you seem to think that the mailing list settings prevent people
from doing what they want. That's not the case, if I want to reply to
you privately, I can do that regardless of the settings. Wanna see?

> (3) You ask the question, "Moreover you have dozens of mailing lists, do
> you expect people to subscribe to them when they want to send a one-time
> email?". I think the complimentary question is this: "Do you expect the
> participants in a list to invest time and energy in considering your
> question and formulating a reply if you have indicated (by not
> subscribing, a process that takes a few seconds) that you are not
> engaged in the process?" The current list settings discourage one-time
> e-mails and encourage involvement and participation.

My time is as important as your time. I don't require you to do
unnecessary steps in order to start communication, do I? Why should

All I want is open, efficient, and scalable communication.

Say I'm not a git developer, but I have a question about git about a
possible serious issue, what do I do? I look for git's mailing list
(git at vger.kernel.org), and I send a mail there. Done.

With Fedora, first, I have to find the right mailing list, then I have
to find the instructions to subscribe, which are different for
different mailing lists. Then, I have to follow the scripts to
subscribe, which in Fedora's case requires to wait for a mail
confirmation. So I wait, once I get the confirmation mail, I have to
follow the instructions to confirm the subscription. Finally, I
receive the subscription confirmation, and I am able to send messages.

Now, after I'm done with the thread and I'm not interested in the
mailing list I have to unsubscribe and delete all the mail that I
didn't want to receive in the first place. Alternatively, I could have
disabled incoming mails from the list.

Moreover, a project like linux can have a git issue, so a member can
Cc the git mailing list, since both LKML and git mls are sane, the Cc
headers are kept properly (cross posting is easy). With Fedora? People
in the Feodra ml would hijack the thread and the responses wouldn't go
to LKML any more.

So. git's ml fosters active communication with no restrictions, OTOH
Fedora ml's have restrictions are are not so open.

Felipe Contreras

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