On Thu, 30 Jul 2020 at 14:52, Sumana Harihareswara <sh@changeset.nyc> wrote:
On 7/29/20 10:14 PM, Jeremy Stanley wrote:
> On 2020-07-30 07:17:03 +0530 (+0530), Pradyun Gedam wrote:
>> TL;DR: OK to archive this mailing list? Reply by Aug 30th.
> [...]
> I find it disappointing that there will no longer be a mailing list
> for discussions of Python packaging. Web forums with some E-mail
> integration are hardly the same. But those of us who still use
> E-mail (and worse, Usenet) eventually need to get out of the way of
> the wheels of progress lest they run us over.
> Many thanks to those who have maintained, moderated, and
> collaborated through this list over the years. It has been much
> appreciated.

Jeremy, I'm not sure whether you were serious? If your disappointment is
only out of nostalgia, then yeah, accepting change makes sense. But if
your disappointment is because the Discourse experience is/will be worse
for your participation, then it's totally fine to speak up and tell us how.

Discourse requires about 10x the effort to participate in the community. It's "mailing list mode" sends garbled fragments of interwoved WYSIWYG documents that are unintelligible - I tried it for some months when the Pyython Discourse started up but had to turn it off after a while as I really couldn't effectively tell what was being said in a conversation that comes in via it.

And its so siloed, I may as well not be in the conversation at all: I have to actively go and log into the website to look and see what new conversations are happening, which in my time poor situation just doesn't happen. So, for all intents and purposes, I'm not participating in any conversation in Discourse at all, except for a rare helicopter drop-in when someone pings me on email or Twitter or Slack or Discord to say 'hey, you should comment on <URL>'.

I full well recognise the advantage that these properties have when dealing with a bulk of (largely) newcomers whose community use case is to sample discussion: to find one or two things that have been said previously via search, ask some questions to get a problem solved, and then move on.

Relatively few of those users will be publishing packages though; even with the rise of docker : consuming Python in a local script or workbook is still the majority use case I think, so the bulk of the work we do affects a (large) fraction of users, and most of those users are experienced by the time they need our assistance.

Pradyun, thanks for starting this conversation.

I am definitely interested in consolidating our conversational channels
and reducing fragmentation, but I have substantial reservations about
taking this particular step:

* The majority of information overwhelm in my PyPA-related life is
because of GitHub repo and issue sprawl -- if we're going to put energy
into pruning sprawling communications venues, I would prefer that we
spend some time inventorying all the teams, shutting some down, and
locking noisy issues/repositories.

Agreed with the above.
* I would like to know, of our ~700 list members, how many of them have
serious problems using Discourse -- accessibility, user experience,
sheer tech problems, etc. I suspect that we have several members in that
category, some who contribute to packaging, some who lurk so they can
stay apprised and bridge to other communities (distributions, major
packages, etc.).

I have contributed a fair degree in the past; I'm largely if not entirely emeritus at this point - I get to code only from time to time in my day job, and then it is rarely Python. I like to stay in touch, both because I can provide some institutional continuity, but also I do enjoy helping from time to time, when I can.
I hope these thoughts are useful.


On Discourse I've seen
, https://discuss.python.org/t/if-mailing-list-mode-were-better/3951 ,
and https://discuss.python.org/t/e-mail-settings-are-not-respected/396
talking about problems people have had keeping up with/watching and
participating in conversations on Discourse -- including Paul Moore and
Paul Ganssle, whose opinions I really want to hear from here. I believe
I've heard Dan Ryan say that he finds Discourse practically unusable,
and I'd like to hear from him as well.

* There are some things I don't like about how Discourse shapes our
conversations. Some examples: I think people are chattier on Discourse,
posting shorter replies more frequently, and that's not always good. In
the email notifications, Discourse preserves threading so I can see
better who's replying to whom, but the web view is flat which makes that
harder to see. And -- as came up in
-- people use the heart/"like" button in different ways that have led to
confusion. “Liking” a post on Discourse does not have clear semantics.
It could mean “I like how you expressed this” or “I’m glad you spoke” or
“welcome” or “yes, please do the things you have proposed, I approve"
and there's no way of telling without explicit explanation.

* Discourse is written in Ruby and I have rarely seen Discourse
developers interact with us, and I don't believe I've ever seen (in the
"Discourse feedback" threads above) any Python community member saying
that they could try to fix a problem we were seeing with Discourse. The
more we lock in to using Discourse and moving away from Mailman --
written in Python 3 and now with a web frontend that includes search,
posting, and threaded archive views -- the more we give up control of
our tools.

What if we bridged them, instead? Barry Warsaw in

> My ultimate dream would be to add an IMAP and/or NNTP interface directly to [Mailman 3/HyperKitty]. Then I could use my normal mail application to catch up and interact with Mailman lists in a very lightweight way, driven entirely by my own workflow. That plus a Discourse bridge would be a pretty powerful and flexible combination.

Is that something that other folks here who have trouble with Discourse
would find fruitful? If so, we can start pushing to make it happen.

Sumana Harihareswara
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