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Old 07-05-2010, 11:57 AM
Felipe Contreras
 
Default Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers

Hi,

I don't see any component in bugzilla for mailing lists, so I'm posting here.

In order to do that I have to subscribe, which takes more than a few
bounces, and that's the problem.

Public mailing lists should receive mail from *anybody*; if the poster
is not subscribed, then the message should go through moderation. This
is the truly open way.

Orthogonal to this is that the mailing lists should not mingle with
"Reply-To"; they should leave the To and Cc fields intact, so that the
MUA can reply to the right addresses. See:
http://www.unicom.com/pw/reply-to-harmful.html

This way when a non-subscriber posts something, he doesn't have to add
the "Please CC me as I'm not in the mailing list"; it will happen
automatically.

Decent mailing lists, such as LKML, and all the lists at
vger.kernel.org[1], do this.

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'm sending this because my last mail to
packaging@lists.fedoraproject.org ended with "Your message to
packaging awaits moderator approval", and no feedback afterwards; it
wasn't posted, it wasn't rejected, nothing. So I guess the moderator
just deleted it.
https://admin.fedoraproject.org/mailman/confirm/packaging/cb5b17e42464919ddd4a544f87093b6ff1f452b2

I took a considerable amount of time writing that email, it's not nice
for non-subscriber mails to just be dropped like that. Please, make
Fedora mailing list friendly to outsiders.

Cheers.

[1] http://vger.kernel.org/vger-lists.html

--
Felipe Contreras
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:57 PM
Chris Tyler
 
Default Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers

On Mon, 2010-07-05 at 14:57 +0300, Felipe Contreras wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I don't see any component in bugzilla for mailing lists, so I'm posting here.
>
> In order to do that I have to subscribe, which takes more than a few
> bounces, and that's the problem.
>
> Public mailing lists should receive mail from *anybody*; if the poster
> is not subscribed, then the message should go through moderation. This
> is the truly open way.
>
> Orthogonal to this is that the mailing lists should not mingle with
> "Reply-To"; they should leave the To and Cc fields intact, so that the
> MUA can reply to the right addresses. See:
> http://www.unicom.com/pw/reply-to-harmful.html
>
> This way when a non-subscriber posts something, he doesn't have to add
> the "Please CC me as I'm not in the mailing list"; it will happen
> automatically.
>
> Decent mailing lists, such as LKML, and all the lists at
> vger.kernel.org[1], do this.
>
> 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'm sending this because my last mail to
> packaging@lists.fedoraproject.org ended with "Your message to
> packaging awaits moderator approval", and no feedback afterwards; it
> wasn't posted, it wasn't rejected, nothing. So I guess the moderator
> just deleted it.
> https://admin.fedoraproject.org/mailman/confirm/packaging/cb5b17e42464919ddd4a544f87093b6ff1f452b2
>
> I took a considerable amount of time writing that email, it's not nice
> for non-subscriber mails to just be dropped like that. Please, make
> Fedora mailing list friendly to outsiders.

Hi Felipe,

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.

(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.

(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.

-Chris

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Old 07-05-2010, 01:20 PM
Tim
 
Default Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers

On Mon, 2010-07-05 at 14:57 +0300, Felipe Contreras wrote:
> In order to do that I have to subscribe, which takes more than a few
> bounces, and that's the problem.

Something wrong with *your* mail, then, if there's any bouncing. If you
don't actually meaning mail bounces, then you're using the wrong
terminology. Please read the answer on my telephone, because my radio
isn't recording the movie on the theatre screen. Communication doesn't
work if you use the wrong words.

> Public mailing lists should receive mail from *anybody*; if the poster
> is not subscribed, then the message should go through moderation. This
> is the truly open way.

No thanks. If you want groups full of spam, there's usenet for that.
Subscriptions is a step in minimising crap being posted to the list
(whether that be spam, or simply tossers who'll post rubbish to lists,
just to spout crap from their fingers). Though I notice that the
subscription process hasn't stopped a couple of spammers in the last few
days.

If the list was moderated in the way you propose, moderators would spend
all their spare time checking new messages, and it'd be ages before your
post got through.

> Orthogonal to this is that the mailing lists should not mingle with
> "Reply-To"; they should leave the To and Cc fields intact, so that the
> MUA can reply to the right addresses. See:
> http://www.unicom.com/pw/reply-to-harmful.html

The list works fine. Messages go to the list, and the list's address is
in the "to" field, where it belongs. Because that's where the post was
sent to.

Lists that don't put themselves in the reply-to end up with very few
posts coming back to the list. You see a list full of the same
questions being asked over and over, because there's no replies being
made in public.

You can still reply to the right address. A default reply will come
back to the list, where it's supposed to (for this list). You can opt
to reply to the person by replying to their *from* address, because the
poster's address is in the place that it ought to be, the "from"
address, because that's where the message came from.

I can't recall whether it changes the CCs, and I half agree with keeping
them. Unfortunately some troublemakers abuse that, by replying to some
post, and adding inappropriate addresses to a CC field.

> This way when a non-subscriber posts something, he doesn't have to add
> the "Please CC me as I'm not in the mailing list"; it will happen
> automatically.

A non-subscriber can't participate, nor should they be able to do. If
they do subscribe, then things just work. That's how most/many mailing
lists work. It's how every single mailing list that I've used over the
last ten years has operated.

I've been on lists which had open membership, and they got deluged with
crap within a very short period. They last about a week before the list
gets abandoned, or the owner has the sense to close the membership.

A mailing list is the wrong place to a demand an answer for your
problems.

> Moreover you have dozens of mailing lists, do you expect people to
> subscribe to them when they want to send a one-time email?

Yes. You can unsubscribe if they want to, later. And just be a person
who takes and never gives back. This is a list, not a free help line.

Alternatively, you can join through a usenet gateway, and have just one
subscription to that usenet gateway, and just hop in and out of the
different groups on it.

Alternatively, you can waste your time with a web forum. Where you'll
find the same questions being asked over and over, and no answers,
because a private response was sent. Or deal with a page a gazillion
lines long, trying to find what you want, because some dopey person
thought that everything should be on one page. Or wade in and out of
threads, playing mystery meat navigation on threads, because people just
won't post messages with useful subject lines...

> I'm sending this because my last mail to
> packaging@lists.fedoraproject.org ended with "Your message to
> packaging awaits moderator approval", and no feedback afterwards; it
> wasn't posted, it wasn't rejected, nothing. So I guess the moderator
> just deleted it.

And there you have your answer about what was wrong with your idea that
everybody should simply be allowed to post, and a moderator should sit
there, manually letting things through. You didn't like waiting for
your post, yet you think that technique was a good idea, earlier in your
post.

--
[tim@localhost ~]$ uname -r
2.6.27.25-78.2.56.fc9.i686

Don't send private replies to my address, the mailbox is ignored. I
read messages from the public lists.



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Old 07-05-2010, 01:23 PM
Tom Horsley
 
Default Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers

On Mon, 05 Jul 2010 08:57:48 -0400
Chris Tyler wrote:

> a process that takes a few seconds

I understand the need to subscribe, but the process does
not take a few seconds. For one thing, a lot of ISPs
seem to be blocked or are blocking replies (you can't ever
tell which one), so you have to try different mail
accounts till you find one that actually works both ways,
and not knowing how long it might take to get a reply,
it can take a while to decide the first address you used
isn't going to work.

I don't think any of the fedora list do this, but I've also
run into software where the readme files explicitly say things like
"report bugs or problems to list XXX", then when you try to use
the advertised list address it says you have to subscribe.
That's usually when I decide they didn't really want my bug
report after all.
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:55 PM
Chris Tyler
 
Default Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers

On Mon, 2010-07-05 at 09:23 -0400, Tom Horsley wrote:
> On Mon, 05 Jul 2010 08:57:48 -0400
> Chris Tyler wrote:
>
> > a process that takes a few seconds
>
> I understand the need to subscribe, but the process does
> not take a few seconds. For one thing, a lot of ISPs
> seem to be blocked or are blocking replies (you can't ever
> tell which one), so you have to try different mail
> accounts till you find one that actually works both ways,
> and not knowing how long it might take to get a reply,
> it can take a while to decide the first address you used
> isn't going to work.

Well, obviously, when using a mailing list, a end-to-end working mail
configuration is needed. (This underlines the value of the "confirm this
mail" step in the subscription process).

But that said, when you have a working mail setup, it takes only a few
seconds to subscribe to a list (e.g., once on a Fedora mailing list, it
takes only a few seconds to add another. Maybe a few minutes, if your
mail system is slow).

-Chris

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Old 07-05-2010, 02:25 PM
Greg Woods
 
Default Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers

Clearly, these are religious issues. Whether a list should set replies
to go to the list or to the original poster, whether postings from
non-members should be accepted, etc. are debated ad nauseum. You can't
come in here and state your opinions in these areas as though they were
facts; they are not. They are opinions in an ongoing religious war.

In the end, much time and effort on mailing lists is wasted arguing
these points instead of talking about the topic of the mailing list. And
those of us here on the list can do nothing about it anyway. Only the
list manager's opinion really counts, so if you want to make a serious
argument about it, that's where it should be directed.

--Greg


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Old 07-05-2010, 02:54 PM
Ed Greshko
 
Default Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers

On 07/05/2010 07:57 PM, Felipe Contreras wrote:
> I took a considerable amount of time writing that email, it's not nice
> for non-subscriber mails to just be dropped like that. Please, make
> Fedora mailing list friendly to outsiders.
>
>
Check your sent folder. Your masterpiece should be there. Then
subscribe and resend. That effort will always be much quicker than
waiting for an overworked moderator...or one who may be sleeping...to
approve you message.

--
Final Curtain Old Actors' Home 葛斯克 愛德華 / 台北市八德路四段

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Old 07-05-2010, 03:25 PM
Felipe Contreras
 
Default Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers

On Mon, Jul 5, 2010 at 3:57 PM, Chris Tyler <chris@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
you?

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@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.

--
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:51 PM
Kwan Lowe
 
Default Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers

On Mon, Jul 5, 2010 at 8:57 AM, Chris Tyler <chris@tylers.info> wrote:
> On Mon, 2010-07-05 at 14:57 +0300, Felipe Contreras wrote:
>> Hi,
>>
>> I don't see any component in bugzilla for mailing lists, so I'm posting here.
>>
>> In order to do that I have to subscribe, which takes more than a few
>> bounces, and that's the problem.

[snip]

I was about to make a flippant remark to the OP, but I figured it was
a troll.. Push the right buttons, ever so gently, and see who gets
offended or worked up enough to reply.. :/
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:29 PM
Tom Horsley
 
Default Bug in mailing lists; unfriendly to non-subscribers

Actually there is at least one correctable valid point
floating around here: I just checked, and nowhere on
the web page for the list does it mention that you have
to be subscribed in order to send mail to the list:

https://admin.fedoraproject.org/mailman/listinfo/users
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