interface-agnostic computing

Sat, 04 Jun 2016 03:41:48 +0200

> Pragmatically the bug reporting lists can't
> be reply only on the mailing lists.
> Because we don't require bug reporters to
> subscribe before posting bug reports.
> We don't require bug reporters to subscribe
> first. Doing so would be a burden and would
> alienate bug reporters.

That's right!

> Because the bug reporting lists are open and
> need to include the original sender this
> carries over to other lists too. Like this
> help-gnu-emacs list. Should it require people
> to be subscribed? That is more of a gray area
> since it isn't a bug reporting list.
> But people writing for help are almost the
> same as bug reporters. So by default help
> lists get the same treatment as bug lists.

There should not be any such requirements -
just the web form "input your data here, verify
that you are human, wait for a mail, input the
code and come back" all that makes my stomach
turn.

Unless I'm desperate for help (like with the
GMT - Generic Mapping Tools - they only have
a forum) I turn around when I'm asked to do
that, rather than to do it.

> But what about discussion lists? At some
> point maintainers of individual projects may
> state a policy for their own project. And so
> there isn't a 100% uniform policy across all
> of the mailing lists.
> Some lists.{non,}gnu.org lists are one way
> and some another way.

People shouldn't be so petty about their
projects! Projects are great fun and sometimes
useful but they shouldn't be a secluded
brotherhood "we know what it is about" than
shuns the darkness of the night...

> I would hate to annoy them with a second
> copy.

It is not that annoying. With Gnus and mail
splitting, you can get away with the extra mail
like this:

    (setq nnmail-split-methods
          '(
            ("mail.ml-ooa" "\(To\|Cc\):.*\(emacs-w3m@namazu.org\|help-gnu-emacs@gnu.org\|gnuplot-info@lists.sourceforge.net\)")
            ("mail.misc"   "")) )

Even if you don't, it isn't terrible.
The important think is to send the
psychological message virtually immediately,
yes there are people, they may not agree, they
may be imperfect in many ways including solving
your issue, but keep working, keep working with
them, and the problem will be solved with time
and effort.

> Additionally there is the problem of the News
> to Email gateway. (Which coincidentally I see
> had a backlog of old messages push through
> today.) Many people read on the News side of
> things and post there. I think for them it
> would be quite surprising to get an email
> copy of something they posted by news.
> However this is a mailing list and not a news
> group. People reading the news group have to
> expect that they are still participating in
> a mailing list.

Some people may say, the best way to do mailing
lists is with Gnus and Gmane, which turns them
into newsgroups in all essence. And those
people might have good cause to say that...

>>> I don't understand why people think
>>> "recipient might get two copies" is worse
>>> than "recipient might get no copies".
>>> Especially when the former issue is
>>> trivially avoided by Mailman or MUA
>>> duplication suppression.
>>>
>> I fully agree.
>
> I completely disagree.
>
> Mailman duplication suppression is mostly
> non-functional for this issue.

What about my solution - does that work? (OK,
not everyone uses Gnus.)

Well, obviously we should try to make it as
pleasant as possible for our users. On the
other hand, to get two copies of help isn't
a problem! If people hit the ceiling in
frustration because of that perhaps they should
take a leave from computers and do Buddhism for
half a year, and then come back...

> And so we have an imperfect system that we
> simply have to learn to live with regardless
> of the problems. Even with the problems it is
> much better than a web forum.

Indeed. Tho there can be a gateway in between
that as well - the future of computing is
interface-agnostic!

Why not have the exact same material accessible
as a mailing list, as a Gmane newsgroup, as
a Usenet newsgroup, as a web forum, and as
a Facebook whatever-they-call-it! This isn't
hard to do, well, not impossible anyway. (With
Facebook politics may be a problem.)

Recall there is already gnu-emacs-help (the
listbot), there is gmane.emacs.help (Gmane),
and there is gnu.emacs.help (Usenet).

Is there a "GNU web forum" software? On Usenet,
there is rec.bicycles.tech - and here is the
same thing, as a web forum!

    http://www.cyclebanter.com/forumdisplay.php?f=8

> What web form? This is a mailing list.

There are many mailing lists which require you
to register using such forms.

> One sends email using your MUA mail user
> agent. That could be any of emacs, gnus,
> mutt, mailx, and so on and so forth. Could be
> anything. Which could include a web form is
> one if talking about Gmail or Gmane.
> But those are clearly web mail interfaces.

Gmane is a mail interface but it is also
a replication of the newsreader interface and
Usenet system of communication which is the
most advanced and powerful thus far.

> Is this a good time to note that I can tell
> you are using the newsgroup interface.
> Which comes through the gnu.emacs.help
> newsgroup. Is gatewayed by email to the
> mailing list. And therefore I assume is
> incapable of CC'ing the original poster who
> is not subscribed?

:O

You do me an injustice!

With Gnus I can send the same message to
several newsgroups and mail addresses with one
keystroke!

I'll double this up for you right away :)

> This is a good example of one of the
> imperfections of the loosely combined
> systems. ... Trying to tie them together
> cannot be 100% perfect. But it has been this
> way for many years.

Man, think BIG!

It is *never* going to be "100% perfect".
The binding together of mailing lists, Gmane,
blogs (Gwene), Usenet, RSS, and so on, all this
is wonderful as people can use whatever
interface they like!

It is just like using mpsyt instead of the
crappy, commercial web interface to YouTube.
I'm sure there are problems with that to but
the freedom of interface and access methods
outweighs them one hundred to one, just as it
does here!

> The canonical mailing list header to identify
> mailing lists is the List-ID header. Not the To
> header.

Do all lists adhere to that?

The To header is on the contrary quite
indispensible...

> Many people do prefer Newsgroups or Gmane.
> Gmane is not really a newsgroup.

It is thousands.

> We do already have all of those things.
> Those are all different. And the seams
> between are not completely smooth
> between them.

They are smooth enough. With your efforts they
will be even smoother. But the objective is not
industrial smoothing but freedom of interface
and data access!

> Facebook has a lot of non-free problems.
> I would not recommend expanding our free
> libre discussion onto that non-free platform.
> It would prevent many people
> from participating.

We can't all but exclude ourself from a whole
generation of people either, can we?

People use it. They are much more comfortable
using it than sending mails. It is a sad state.
But it is the truth.

> And unless I am mistaken I believe all of
> those already exist and are all gatewayed to
> the same mailing list.

Even so, on Usenet gnu.emacs.help is
a newsgroup.

>> Is there a "GNU web forum" software?
>> On Usenet, there is rec.bicycles.tech - and
>> here is the same thing, as a web forum!
>> http://www.cyclebanter.com/forumdisplay.php?f=8
>
> Yes. There are many. Gmane is a good example.
> And also all of the web based newsgroup readers
> of which I am not familiar.

Gmane is *archived* online.

Here is a forum:

    https://www.flashback.org

If we had software for such forums - I don't
know if we do? - it would be a good thing if
that software included an interface to the
traffic here - i.e., yet another gateway!

> [one interface is the primary, the others are
> attached[

It is better to not think of it hierarchically.
There isn't a primary way and then attached
ones. There is one river of *data* that belongs
to everyone who wants it, and wants to be
active in it. However what boats or diving
suits or wellingtons or fishing gear people use
is optional!

> [should web forums be connected as well?]

If they are it would be beneficial because then
everyone could asses all the material using
whatever software or interface they prefer!
Instead of having ten isolated island we could
have (and have already to some extent) an
archipelago with boats and bridges in between!

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