[opensource] Mailing list vs contact form

Michael Yanovich yanovich.1 at osu.edu
Fri Mar 4 14:08:15 EST 2011

Or we could have a system in place where people have to read a block of
text describing the mailing list and IRC and then click through to go to
the contact form?

On 03/04/2011 02:08 PM, Matt Meinwald wrote:
> It is definitely possible to have a dropdown entry on the contact form that
> sends to the mailing list if that is desired, perhaps not directly through
> drupal, but I'm sure we could make it work. It would go to the moderated
> account, so would not cause spam (except to the moderators of course :)
> As far as the category descriptions, perhaps that page should *start* with
> something mentioning the mailing list and IRC instead of listing it last or
> maybe even have a contact page that is separate from the contact form, i.e. have
> no direct link to the contact form on the website except within the "Contact Us"
> page.
> -Matt Meinwald
> On 03/04/2011 01:43 PM, Michael Yanovich wrote:
>> Hi Peter,
>> I think this is a great idea. We do almost always have someone active
>> during all parts of the day, including in the middle of the night.
>> Setting up an embedded web-client of freenode isn't very difficult:
>> http://yanovich.net/freenode.php It works pretty good with the overall
>> theme of my website.
>> However, to further address Brian's points. I think by default
>> information sent through the contact form should be posted to the
>> mailing list, and the user has to specifically select to opt-out. I
>> think explaining that would help alleviate the problem we have now.
>> Michael Yanovich
>> On 03/04/2011 01:21 PM, Dietz, Peter M. wrote:
>>>  Hi Brian,
>>> You might want to look at embedding a web-irc client into your contact us page. The good news in your case is that you have an active IRC, with operators standing by almost all hours of the day.
>>> The project that I work on has a web IRC and users randomly come in and ask questions.
>>> http://demo.dspace.org/#irc
>>> P.S. The modern web surfer is almost completely blind to a block of text with instructions.
>>> --
>>> Peter Dietz
>>> Systems Developer/Engineer
>>> University Libraries
>>> ________________________________
>>> From: opensource-bounces at cse.ohio-state.edu [opensource-bounces at cse.ohio-state.edu] on behalf of Brian Swaney [swaneybr at opensource.osu.edu]
>>> Sent: Friday, March 04, 2011 10:37 AM
>>> To: Open Source Club
>>> Subject: [opensource] Mailing list vs contact form
>>> Here is a problem I am kind of stuck on, and hoping somebody here can
>>> help out with it. There is an increasing trend of people asking their
>>> general questions using the contact form at
>>> https://opensource.cse.ohio-state.edu/contact . What usually happens
>>> is that someone somewhere asks a question somewhere else (e.g. 8-HELP)
>>> about open source software, and they get referred to our website.
>>> Admittedly, this is much better than the IT staff's past attitude
>>> about "unsupported software," but end-users seem to assume that the
>>> contact form is where they should submit their problem tickets. Our
>>> contact form is intended for something like if ACM-W wants to invite
>>> us to another quiz bowl, if Northrop Grumman wants to present before
>>> our meeting again, or for some other reason (e.g. website/registration
>>> problems) someone wants to privately contact a small subset of the
>>> current Open Source Club administration without speaking to the club
>>> as a whole.
>>> While I don't have a problem personally answering people's questions,
>>> there are not a lot of people who get copied on things sent through
>>> our contact form, by design. It is not a support forum, and therefore
>>> what often happens is nobody included in the Open Source Club
>>> administration is able to answer the question, and at best the user
>>> gets a response that "we don't know, ask somewhere else (mailing
>>> list)" which they never do. Lately, the only things on the mailing
>>> list are meeting announcements for the Open Source Club and other
>>> people's tech events around Columbus, while the contact form seems to
>>> get all the people asking for support.
>>> On the contact form, there are 4 options, and each of them is, I
>>> thought, spelled out pretty clearly. It also explicitly says if you
>>> are looking for support that you should use the mailing list. As an
>>> anti-spam measure, the mailing list requires registration, so I can't
>>> effectively link the contact form to it. As a compromise to this
>>> policy, anonymous messages can be sent by anonymously posting on our
>>> website, and they will be sent to a moderation queue. If we turned off
>>> the registration requirement, then everyone here will wind up with a
>>> LOT of spam. Does anyone have any suggestions? Is it possible the
>>> contact form is not worded clearly? Are people intimidated by using a
>>> public forum to ask questions about open source software? Am I just
>>> incoherently ranting about nonsense nobody else cares about?
>>> -------- Original Message --------
>>> Subject:     Re: [General inquiries] Open Source Music
>>> Date:     Wed, 02 Mar 2011 19:02:50 -0500
>>> From:     Matt Meinwald <meinwald at opensource.osu.edu>
>>> To:     Brian Swaney <swaneybr at opensource.osu.edu>
>>> CC:     info at opensource.osu.edu
>>> Brian,
>>> My suggestion would be to reply *and* forward the question to the
>>> mailing list,
>>> telling him you are doing so. Let me know if you'd like me to do this.
>>> On 03/02/2011 05:20 PM, Brian Swaney wrote:
>>>> I would ordinarily suggest this user check the creative commons or
>>>> something, but this is really the kind of thing which should be
>>>> asked on the mailing list. I don't want to turn someone down, but
>>>> what seems to be happening is that every time someone gets
>>>> referred to us, and they find the contact form, they use that and
>>>> completely disregard everything about our mailing list. I don't
>>>> want to scorn these guests, or refuse help for failure to follow
>>>> instructions, but they're just looking for a quick answer to a
>>>> question. It just seems like the only thing the mailing list is
>>>> used for anymore is announcements for a bunch of other people's
>>>> meetings/events.
>>>> To be clear, I am not in any way frustrated by getting questions
>>>> like this, but I'm frustrated in that I'm one of the only people
>>>> who actually GETS the opportunity to answer, and in many cases the
>>>> question is specific to something else I am not familiar with or I
>>>> just lack the expertise, and am unable to help (along with the
>>>> rest of our administration). I would really like if
>>>> questions/comments on our contact form were limited to things that
>>>> could only be addressed by the club administration, and for
>>>> anything other kind of issue the whole club gets a chance to
>>>> answer. On the contact form, I have clearly spelled out what each
>>>> option is for, and that anything not aimed at the leadership (e.g.
>>>> proposal for a presentation) should be sent to the mailing list,
>>>> but I've seen half a dozen of these and nothing close to them on
>>>> the list.
>>>> Any suggestions? Should I ask THIS question in the mailing list? Is
>>>> this just my own personal opinion that nobody else is bothered by?
>>>> Did I word the description on the contact form badly?
>>>> On Wed, March 2, 2011 12:51 pm, <snip> wrote:
>>>>> <snip> sent a message using the contact form at
>>>>> https://opensource.cse.ohio-state.edu/contact.
>>>>> I'm looking for open source music. Sort of stock music which
>>>>> could be used in a student production as background music (no
>>>>> vocals). I talked with the digital union and they suggest I ask
>>>>> you.
>>>>> Thanks, <snip>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Opensource mailing list
>> Opensource at cse.ohio-state.edu
>> http://mail.cse.ohio-state.edu/mailman/listinfo/opensource
>> _______________________________________________
>> Opensource mailing list
>> Opensource at cse.ohio-state.edu
>> http://mail.cse.ohio-state.edu/mailman/listinfo/opensource
> _______________________________________________
> Opensource mailing list
> Opensource at cse.ohio-state.edu
> http://mail.cse.ohio-state.edu/mailman/listinfo/opensource

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