[linux-audio-user] [OT?] Fun with numbers - Means of communication

Burkhard Woelfel versuchsanstalt at gmx.de
Thu Jan 15 17:41:11 EST 2004

Hash: SHA1

> Robert Jonsson <robert.jonsson at dataductus.se> wrote:
> > cartoons), lots of places about it on the net. It strikes me that
> > _all_ these places have web-forums, and they are all full of talking
> > people... I can see the benefits, easy browsing, easy posting,
> > anonymity (as long as you just read anyway) and so on.
> > Now, this was a very long way of suggesting that maybe LinuxAudioUser
> > should be extended with forum functionality for the presumed mass of
> > people that don't wish to read mailinglists for one reason or another.
> >
> > Best would be if it was designed so posting on the forum went out as
> > mail also, and the other way around. Such software probably already
> > exist.
On Thursday 15 January 2004 21:33, Florian Schmidt wrote:
> On Thu, 15 Jan 2004 21:17:06 +0100
> Grand idea :) I'm all for easy accessibility of help. Even irc is too
> obscure to most newbies. And newbies are the ones needing most help..

Let me add a few random thoughts here:

I am asking myself: what are the differences between the means of
communication mentioned above?  What kind of problems do newbie users have
with IRC, message boards, mailing lists and documentation?

Things I like about mailing lists: You take time to sort out the problem. You
won't hurry from one probable point of error to the other like you maybe
would on IRC, and you can read some more documentation until an answer to
your question comes back to you.

There is a difference between being told to RTFM, STFW, STFU and HAND in a
mailing list and being squashed by a  bunch of users in a crowded IRC

Thoughts about IRC: It helps to formulate problems concisely. It is quick. It
helps to not depend on suggestions, because odds are, there will be none.
Compared with a mailing list, IRC is a pretty emotional kind of
communication. How long does it take for newbies to sort out the obscure
social art of successfully asking questions on IRC?

Message boards: I am not a Gentoo fan anymore, but I really liked their
approach to how step-by-step documentation and their communication
infrastructure work together. That's just great for a lot of users. I
remember that quite a few suggestions on the forum pages were very useful.
Maybe someone familiar with the Gentoo community can tell me about the
situation today, and if the mailing lists or the forum pages provide better

The forum approach may be promising, but hey: There is this friendly tone,
mutual respect and so many technical problems solved on LAU - and the
postings come without a member status label, like they do on the most message
boards, and they won't get removed by moderators. All this helps the troubled
user to take some time and understand the problem without haste.

To get back to the topic Dave was initially writing about, I think the forum
approach is good for huge numbers of users, or good for a situation where the
popularity of a project is increasing rapidly. I doubt that mixing both is a
bad idea, because they are too different.

700 LAU readers - +10000 pageviews of Dave's columns. Wow.
Let's make 'em all file bug reports, to name-drop another form of

- - Burkhard

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