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From "Jean T. Anderson" <...@bristowhill.com>
Subject Re: Naming individuals in the subject line of posts
Date Mon, 13 Feb 2006 19:36:15 GMT
Mike Matrigali wrote:
> I just wanted to apologize for my 2 recent posts with names in
> the subject line.  I didn't realize it was a problem.  I actually
> didn't even mean to direct the posts to those people alone.
> I had 2 goals with those posts.
> 1) Enlist discussion from the entire list about those 2 issues.  They
>    are continuing regression test failures which could be causing
>    problems for all developers.
> 2) I admit I did want to draw attention to those who had assigned
>    themselves to the JIRA issues.  I figured that was a sort of
>    accepted ownership of an issue.  I also didn't want to procede
>    without their advice as it seemed likely since they had assigned
>    themselves to the issue that they were in fact likely experts
>    on those issues.
> Can I ask advice on how best to achieve #2?
>   o send direct private email asking about status?  Now the discussion
>     is off the list.

I suggest posting the request for status to derby-dev, then forward the
post to the individual with something like "I know you've been working
on this and wanted to make sure you saw the request I posted -- could
you respond on-list?"


>   o post comments to JIRA entry asking for status?  Now
>   o subject it with just JIRA entry and assume owner will read?
> For me personally I have no problem with people directing a public
> query to me about an issue I have assigned myself in JIRA.  I try
> to only assign issues to myself that I am actively working on.
> For the last couple of weeks my particular itch has been to try to
> get the nightly test regressions under control.  But it has been
> quite frustrating as I believe we are actually in worst shape now
> than when I started (more new issues came in than were resolved).
> I have to believe it is frustrating for new developers to be told
> to run as set of tests and then spend time figuring out what are
> the "acceptable" failures -- which have been around for weeks.
> Jean T. Anderson wrote:
>> Rick Hillegas wrote:
>>> Hi Jean,
>>> I think that sometimes there's is no substitute for a response from a
>>> particular individual, perhaps because of their expertise or keenness
>>> for some issue. Somehow you have to cut through the blizzard of Derby
>>> mail which buries all of our mailboxes. I don't see the point in being
>>> coy about whose feedback you're seeking. To my way of thinking, naming
>>> someone in the subject line is preferable to back-channel communication
>>> and also to losing your query through the cracks. I have seen this
>>> technique work on other large mailing lists. Sometimes you get a
>>> response from a colleague telling you that the person you're trying to
>>> reach is on vacation or otherwise unreachable. That's useful to know.
>> Hi, Rick,
>> By focusing on a single individual are you likely to miss other
>> potential contributors who might be lurking?
>> I don't think the subject line needs to be coy -- if it's carefully
>> worded to convey what the post is about people with that interest will
>> naturally be drawn to it -- and you might find some contributors emerge
>> that you didn't expect. Currently there are 238 subscribers to derby-dev
>> (see http://people.apache.org/~coar/mlists.html#db.apache.org).
>> Carefully worded subject lines also make searching topics in archives
>> easier.
>> And if somebody isn't available, that's all the reason more for the
>> subject line to not be exclusionary.
>>> I understand your concern about people feeling cornered, but I think
>>> that's part of the price you pay for being an expert. Personally, I
>>> don't feel put off by these direct pages and I don't feel excluded from
>>> responding if I have something to say. Also, I am not a big fan of
>>> addressing people in the third person or through other indirection.
>> We directly address each other a lot in the body of our posts -- and I
>> think that's fine. It's the direct address in the subject line that I
>> find jarring.
>>  -jean
>>> Both approaches (direct paging and indirect fishing) can be off-putting
>>> in their own ways. I don't know how to fine-tune this, particularly
>>> given all the warmth and emotional cues we lose by communicating through
>>> email.
>>> Regards,
>>> -Rick

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