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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: [Was: Re: [Discussion]]
Date Tue, 23 Aug 2011 22:08:49 GMT
On Tue, Aug 23, 2011 at 5:40 PM, Jean Weber <> wrote:
> Idle curiosity: I wonder how many people who offer support do it in both places: mailing
list and forum, or more or exclusively in one or the other.
> Personal observation (not intended as a generalization): my preferences vary with whether
I'm a consumer or a provider of support services. As a consumer, I generally prefer a forum,
but as a provider I prefer an email list. Perhaps I'm just weird, or set in my ways... :-)

I think it is like this:  a mailing list is best for a long-term
relationship.  It has some a user to subscribe and set up filters and
folders and such, to optimize it for the mail app.  But once done, it
works smoothly.  You have a local, searchable archive, etc.

But if you are a user who has a quick question, but are not savvy
about mailing lists, then the forum is the simplest solution.  It
allows you to have a few exchanges about your problem and then go away
and come back 6 months later with another question.  But very little
overhead. Forums are also easier to research your issue in, since they
are fine grained, e.g., a forum for Calc, another for UNO, etc. If we
tried to replicate this same capability with mailing lists we'd need
10 languages x 15 forums per language = 150 mailing lists.

But my previous point was this is all about differences in access
methods -- list versus forums.  We also have access methods via
archives and nntp for mailing lists.  It is reasonable for each of us
to have different preferences for access methods.  But if we satisfy
these access method preferences by fragmenting the discussions and the
accumulated knowledge from these discussions, into separate
repositories, then we are making a suboptimal decision that will have
longer term consequences.  I'd prefer to think about the knowledge
architecture of what we're doing, and the long term implications.  We
could, for example, have a single repository for these discussions, a
mailing list or forum (an I have a slight preference for forums) and
then build multiple access methods onto that single repository.  That
single repository then becomes the nucleus on which we can build other
things, like mail-in support, auto tweeting of new threads, etc.  But
that argument appears to be losing to the recurrent impulse to make
more mailing lists.  I assume this is a natural tenancy and explains
why OOo has several hundred mailing lists, most of them rarely or
never used.

> --Jean
> On 24/08/2011, at 6:04, "Marcus (OOo)" <> wrote:
>> I can understand Rob's arguement that we have to split ourself to give support for
mailing list(s) and forum in parallel. However, I believe that it would be an advantage when
the normal, average user has a choice where to go to get an answer.
>> Marcus
>> Am 08/23/2011 09:50 PM, schrieb Dennis E. Hamilton:
>>> +1
>>> There is no one-size fits all here.  We should have the list and the forum.
They are not redundant.  Some people will use both.
>>>  - Dennis
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Marcus (OOo) []
>>> And there are users that try to avoid mailing lists. ;-)
>>> At the end it seems the best solution is still to go 2 ways: ML and forum.
>>> Marcus

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