[opensource] Forums VS Mailing List: which one do we want to use for communication

Paul Betts paul.betts at gmail.com
Fri Sep 26 17:12:04 EDT 2008

> Our club currently does all of its communication through this mailing-list,
> which seems to work very well. However, Brian Swaney wants to switch over to
> using forums to do all of our communication, which would mean the mailing
> list would be removed and instead of getting emails about
> announcements/questions you would just keep checking the forums to see if
> anything new has been added.
> I personally want to just keep the mailing list and remove the forums from
> the site because I'm guessing that almost no-one is going to want to keep
> logging in to the club website to see if anything new shows up on the
> forums... however I want to give everyone a chance to vote on the matter
> before I take down the forums because maybe I'm wrong about this and people
> would actually prefer forums.

I'm with you on this one, please keep the mailing list. There are few advantages
to a forum and many disadvantages. The only tangible one that I can think of is
that new subscribers can read the previously sent messages, which is also
satisfied by the mailing list archive.

If you want the benefits of both, write a web front-end to the mailing list that
has threading similar to GMail or other mail clients. Or the easier route is, to
just link to the existing archive on the site, or do something with Google
Groups (don't know much about that - sorry).

Mailing lists have a *long* tradition in F/OSS, a forum has extra overhead,
forces everyone to use the forum interface to read/send messages, and is likely
to become unmaintained in the future. Just my $0.02.

Paul Betts <paul at paulbetts.org>

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