Google Groups + this list

Ned Batchelder ned at
Mon Dec 23 12:48:16 CET 2013

On 12/22/13 11:52 PM, rurpy at wrote:
> Come on Chris, it is just as easy to make typo or copy-and-
> paste errors in any other software as GG, there is no evidence
> that it was GG's fault.

Can we agree that it's not great to respond to a new poster with *just* 
"please don't use GG, it's bad" and no actual attempt to help them? 
It's really unfriendly.  In this case, it wasn't difficult to see the 
code the OP was asking about, and to try to help them.

> If you want to recommend the mailing list, fine, but please
> don't make stupid, unfounded, accusatory suggestions.

Rurpy: you're coming on really strong here.  "Stupid"?  No.  People have 
had to deal with the result of Google Groups for a long time, and it's 
not unreasonable to think that the formatting was its fault.

> Kevin: just for your own info, there are a few people here
> who despise Google Groups.  I and many other people post
> from Google Groups regularly and it works fine.

This is disingenuous.  Google Groups clearly does not work fine.  If you 
understand its flaws, and care enough to, you can make it work fine. 
But it's a lot of work.

> You might want to take a look at
> for some ways to reduce the annoyance factor for the anti-GG
> clique here.

I appreciate the work you put into that page, but those suggestions are 
far from simple for the average newb here.  I think it's very unlikely 
that a new poster is going to read, understand, and follow those 

Remember that most posters are not looking to "join the group."  They 
need help with a problem.  They aren't going to put a lot of work into 
anything having to do with this list.  That's just the way it is.

Google Groups is a blessing and a curse.  1) It provides a simple way 
for people to ask questions here.  2) It causes a lot of friction with 
many people on this list.  It won't do any good to pretend that either 
of these things isn't true.

But please, let's not turn this list into an "argue about Google Groups" 

I suggest the following:

1) Don't fault newcomers for using Google Groups.  Politely suggest 
alternatives, but only if you are also helping them, or if they have 
already gotten help.

2) Be careful how you rail against Google Groups.  When you call its 
results "crap" (for example), it can sound like an insult to the poster. 
  You mean to refer to Google Groups, but remember you are also 
referring to the poster's words.

3) Don't let's get into protracted internal debates about Google Groups. 
  It is for the moment at least, an unavoidable part of this list.

Ned Batchelder,

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