[Mailman-Users] Meta: bringing along the newcomers

Geoff Shang Geoff at QuiteLikely.com
Fri Dec 18 14:31:23 CET 2009


Excuse the top-posting. :)

When I first had to look at the FAQs and subscribe to this list to get some 
problems sorted, there were two FAQs.  There may will still be.  It appeared 
to me that the much shorter one was by far the more visible, and I only 
found the main WIKI-based FAQ when I went to look in the WIKI, which seemed 
to me an obvious thing to do but might not to people less familiar with open 
source projects and their methodologies.

I think that two things would cut down on the "see the FAQ" type questions:

1.  Get rid of the non-WIKI FAQ, merging any content that's not already in 
the WIKI, then point everyone there.  The WIKI FAQ is an excellent resource, 
and I'm sure many people would find the answers to their questions if they 
knew to look there.

2.  In the places where this list is mentioned, make it clear that this 
list, which is given as the main support address for Mailman, is a mailing 
list, that it's a moderated list so posts may take a day or two to be sent, 
and that we cannot reset your password for you or other types of things that 
specific hosting providers need to do.  A comment about the various forks of 
Mailman which can't really be supported might also be a good idea.

Just my 2c as a person who's come on board here in the past couple of 


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen at xemacs.org>
To: <fmouse at fmp.com>
Cc: <mailman-users at python.org>
Sent: Friday, 18 December, 2009 3:09 PM
Subject: Re: [Mailman-Users] Meta: bringing along the newcomers

Lindsay Haisley writes:

 > Stephen, with all due respect for the work you put into your post, I
 > think it goes a bit overboard in the other direction.  If I can pose a
 > question in 6 or 7 lines of text, do I really need to read a couple of
 > hundred lines of instruction?

It's under 100 lines, of which almost half were cut-and-pasted from
the existing FAQ 1.22.

 > - or dig through a FAQ and write a critique of it - just to get a
 >   simple answer?

Yup, that's exactly the stuff I cut and pasted.

Anyway, you're entirely missing the point.  I don't expect anybody to
read FAQ 1.22 in advance of comitting a faux pas; this particular FAQ
is mostly for pointing to *afterward*.

 > I recently posted a question to this list in about 7 lines
 > inquiring as to what file is the source document in a Mailman
 > Pipermail archive.  I asked on the list precisely _because_ I
 > didn't want to spend the time searching through FAQs and other
 > documentation for a simple answer to a simple question.

Er, that's precisely what FAQs and documentation in general are for,
so I suggest you go read the current version of FAQ 1.22, then.  It
was written for people like you.<wink>

More seriously, you've been around long enough (and have presumably
actually perused the FAQ once or twice) to have a sense of what's
*not* in there.  You're obviously not the audience for FAQ 1.22, and
the question you describe is not one of the ones that Mark should make
a New Year's resolution to stop answering.
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