WordPress test setup done

Bill Maltby, LFS Organizational bill at nospam.dot
Thu Jan 8 16:40:01 PST 2004


On Fri, 9 Jan 2004, Jeroen Coumans wrote:

> Hi Bill Maltby, LFS Organizational. You said the following on 01/08/04
> 23:48:
> > Wiki or blog or ... there are those who want to go just one place. There
> > are others who don't mind two, or maybe even three. But I suspect a
> > majority would balk at four.
>
> Perhaps this would be a good time to analyse our communication and see
> if we can streamline it. We currently have the following tools which
> allow us to communicate:
>
> - Mailing lists/ news groups
> - Website
> - Wiki
> - IRC
> - Bugzilla
>
> The most important communication takes place on the lists. This makes
> sense because it has the most freedom in communication:
> - one message is received by many
> - messages are archived online
> - you're not restricted by time to send or receive a message (time shifting)
>
> All other communication forms have a subset of the capabilities or are a
> specialised form of communication which allows us to direct different
> kinds of communication. Thus, generally, the website is used to
> communicate static information, bugzilla to discuss bugs, IRC for
> support and the Wiki for community writings.
>
> Thus, while there are many forms of communication, each additional
> communication channel is used for a specific purpose and doesn't
> distract from the main channel. Plus, we provide shortcuts and summarys;
> eg. the website has news items which reflect recent developments on the
> lists and on the products.
>
> In light of this, the ability to add comments to news items will be
> useful for a select audience, namely for those who don't want to
> participate on the lists but do want to interact with the community. The
> ability to setup a comment->mail gateway ensures that people don't have
> to check the site religiously. Plus a comment system will enable us
> feedback on the more static documentation on the website. Have a look at
> the PHP website to see how useful that can be (eg.
> http://www.php.net/manual/en/tutorial.php).
>
> On the other hand, it could become a total disaster. But we don't really
> know until we've tried it, yes?

All good points. As to "until we try ...", engineering consists of more
than that. Postulates, examination, ... all come before trial and
confirmation. Regardless, the issue is not really too many tools. It is
people's (desired) use of them. The more channels, the more potential
problems because people use them. I'm not saying this won't be
effective, I'm only offering these considerations.

1) Overlap: same subjects on different channels mean that folks need to
   check multiple places instead of just one; some (many?) will object
   to this if it seems excessive to them.
2) Incompleteness: if a subject is addressed multiple places, all, some
   or none of the solution may be seen on one channel and all, some or
   none of the solution may appear on *one-or-more* other channels.
3) Laziness/convenience: even if there were only two places to check,
   there are likely some who want to check only one place.
4) I presume that the slow acceptance (if it has been accepted yet) of
   the wiki concept, which seeems very useful to me, provides support to
   my concern about multiple channels. Of course, there may be some
   other reason.

My presumptions are:

1) To overcome 1) and 2), we would have to moderated the channels.
   Distasteful.
2) To overcome 3) we would need some automated way to combine, filter,
   thread and disseminate the ever-changing contents of one or more
   channels to one or more additional channels. Or tell the complainers
   "tough".
3) We can't possibly hope to address every "niche" that may exist; to
   much disparity in desires and workload to high.
4) There *can* be too much of a good thing. More channels does not
   necessarily mean more, better or more effective communication; it may
   certainly mean less effective use of technical folks.

My feeling is that if we add this feature, we ought to drop something
else. Just too many places for a user (especially a new one, or one
focused on convenience) to use effectively with the *current* policies.

Think of it in terms of a text book: for a class one or two is useful.
Three or more introduces conflicts, overlap, apparent omissions in one
or the other and a loss of enthusiasm.

For now, I would rather see a proper effort at getting the wiki to be
effective (I know this doesn't involve you folks directly) by getting
some designated volunteers to assure certain types of information from
other sources (mostly the lists) appear on the wiki. Untill the wiki is
consedered to be effectively used and accepted, I would not like to see
yet another channel come on-line.

-- 
Bill Maltby,
LFS Organizational
billATlinuxfromscratchDOTorg
Use fixed above line to mail me direct



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