[LINK] Maintaining the link list

Greg Taylor gtefa at internode.on.net
Sat Feb 19 14:51:41 AEDT 2011

On 2011/02/19 12:22 PM, Craig Sanders wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 19, 2011 at 11:21:02AM +1000, Greg Taylor wrote:
>> Why not move to an online discussion forum?
> because it would be an incredibly bad idea.

Good point. But you always seem to get incredibly irate about any ideas 
you disagree with. Have you ever tried staying calm and using a less 
aggressive tone? It will usually get you more respect.

>> Pros:
>> - email addresses are not exposed
> big deal. if you rely on obscuring your email address to avoid spammers
> then:

It's just an additional protection, not the only one.

> and
> b) it doesn't work, because spammers will get your email address anyway
> - even if they don't trawl it from the web or from somebody's address
> book or contacts list or facebook or whatever, they will make it up in
> the usual manner by combining random localparts (usernames) with random
> domain names and spamming it anyway.

Really. Suggest you learn something about mathematical probability. Why 
is that I have some email addresses that have never received any spam or 
had spam quarantined? Could it be because I've never published them on 
the web?

> keeping spam out of your mailbox requires good spam filters, not hiding your
> email address.
> also, it's trivially easy to set up new email addresses for subscribing to
> mailing lists if you don't want to use your main address.
>> - only subject postings of interest need to be downloaded by each subscriber
> actually, there is no downloading. there is only browsing. one post at a
> time, with HTTP round-trip delays for each one.

No, it's not one post at a time. It's one topic at a time. And the 
threads are much easier to visualise than in an email client.

>> - RSS feeds are available for those with the need for immediate
>> notification of new messages
>> - forum software is now quite sophisticated and easy to install,
>> maintain and administer
>> - topic categorisation is enforced
> forum type software is suited to announcement bulletin boards (e.g. a
> blog), not discussion lists. the things that make it good for the former
> make it bad for the latter.

An assertion without supporting evidence. There are plenty of good 
discussion forums. The world has moved on a bit from the days of BBSs.

>> - posting blunders can be easily corrected.
> only if you ignore caches, the wayback machine, personal archives,
> and everything else that ensures that anything posted publicly to the
> internet is impossible to un-post.
> in other words, no real difference to a mailing list.

I was referring to the "oops" moment immediately after posting, to 
improve expression or meaning.

>> Cons
>> - more public (although since the link list is currently archived
>>    online, this is a moot point)
>> - may attract spammers (but there are ways to manage this)
>> - usually needs a LAMP hosting service, but these are now cheap, reliable
>>    and accessible.
>>   Maybe ANU can provide the service anyway. It's easy enough to set up.
>   - they're clumsy to use

Assertion without evidence. I disagree.

>   - they're slow

Why? Are you still using that 1985-model 300bps modem? There have been 
some improvements since then.

>   - they're designed for casual, occasional use rather than regular use.

Assertion without evidence. Some people live on them. Have you heard of 
tabbed browsers?

>   - they require a web browser rather than an email client

And your point is?

>   - too much mousing, not enough keyboard use.

Hilarious, especially coming from someone whose keyboard has apparently 
got a broken Shift key ;-)

>   - keeping track of where you are up to in a individual forum thread
>     is essentially impossible. doubly so for the entire forum itself.

Different, but certainly not impossible. Evolutionary change usually 
requires adaptation.

>   - it requires you to login (or at least visit the site) for
>     updates rather than deliver new posts to you as they are sent.

Yes, you do need to visit the site (or peruse the RSS feed). But you 
have to open your email reader to read email too. Why is that so different?

>   - they require you to have yet another login account (and password)
>     on yet another system, instead of using your existing email account.

True, but just as you don't have to enter your email password every 
time, you can do exactly the same with a forum.

>     for slack people who use the same password on multiple systems
>     (which, unfortunately, is probably the majority of the population),
>     that also means yet another opportunity for your accounts to be
>     compromised.

Same could be said for your email account. You are clutching at straws.

>   - in my experience, the quality of posts on a forum is greatly inferior
>     to the quality of posts on a mailing list.  this seems to be a universal
>     principle, regardless of the forum topic or intended audience (i.e. it's
>     just as true for a tech-oriented forum as it is for a non-tech forum)

 From your comments I doubt you have much actual experience with forums.

>   - you can't download the archives of previous months or years to (at
>     your convenience) catch up, search for particular topics, read FAQs,
>     etc.

True, you can't download a forum easily to your local machine. But why 
do so? It's a connected world these days, even in Tasmania I believe.

>     with a mailing list, for example, i can download an mbox or Maildir
>     format archive, load it into mutt (or whatever) and then scan/search
>     for older posts of interest.  WITHOUT the huge and annoying delays of
>     using a web browser to browse a remote web site.

There's may be something wrong with your Internet connection then. Mine 
is blazingly fast. Have you heard of broadband?

I doubt many folk would want to do what you describe anyway.

>     and forum software typically requires a stupid Captcha for every
>     search, and almost always requires you to be logged in to the forum
>     before you are even allowed to search. sure, this is a configuration
>     option but it's probably there because not restricting/limiting
>     searches will have too great an impact on performance.

Untrue. The only time I've ever seen a "stupid Captcha" on a forum is 
the initial registration. I know of huge forums that place absolutely no 
restriction on searches.

>   - in short, they suck

That would be true if your criticisms were actually valid.


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