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From Niklas Matthies <>
Subject Re: Plea for a forum
Date Mon, 23 Jun 2008 21:42:26 GMT
On Mon 2008-06-23 at 15:19h, Shawn Castrianni wrote on ivy-user:
> 1. Don't most user forum implementations have an email feature so
> that you can ask to be sent email of any posts?  Everybody that
> likes email can register for email notifications while everybody
> that likes user forums can use the user forum directly.  The user
> forum will satisfy both preferences.

In theory, a web forum that doubles as a mailing list server would be
possible. (After all, sites like Nabble almost do something like that.)
But the e-mail notifications sent out by existing forum software do
not even come close to the functionality of a real mailing list.
Two of the deal-breakers are that they don't contain References or
In-Reply-To headers that would allow the e-mail client to show a
threaded view, and they don't allow direct replies to either the forum
or the message author. There are other issues, but these are the most
important ones.

> 2. Why should everyone archive all the messages themselves
> duplicating and wasting disk space when it could be done in one
> place by the owner's of the user forum database?

Everyone doesn't have to, but they can if they prefer to.

Regarding the wasting of disk space: I have an archive of fourteen
years worth of mailing list mails that only takes up roughly 2GB.
Plain-text mails really don't consume that much space.

> 3. If the worry is that the owner of the user forum database will go
> away and all of the messages are lost, then the same worry happens
> if relying on other mailing lists archival sites when they go away.

That's correct.

> 4. I would think a quality product would provide a means to transfer
> the user forum database to someone else rather than just pulling the
> plug.

I've experienced several cases of "pulling the plug" or just resetting
with some new forum software, of leaving the archive at the old site
(so you had to search in multiple places) and of attempting to transfer
the data from one forum software to another but corrupting it in some
subtle or less subtle ways in the process. In theory it's certainly
possible, but in practice I wouldn't want having to rely on it.

-- Niklas Matthies

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