Google Groups + this list

Ned Batchelder ned at
Thu Dec 26 05:11:46 CET 2013

On 12/24/13 8:44 PM, rurpy at wrote:
> On 12/23/2013 04:48 AM, Ned Batchelder wrote:
>> 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.
> 'Stupid" might not have been the most accurate choice
> of words but I have no problem with it's strength.
> People come here looking for accurate info.  Posting
> unsubstantiated derogatory claims about something
> because one doesn't like that something should not
> be allowed to pass silently.

Chris actually said, "You seem to be posting from Google Groups, which 
may be why it's messed up; I recommend switching to something else, like 
Mozilla Thunderbird, or subscribing instead to the mailing list (with 
all the same content)"

This is pretty gentle, and includes words like "may" and "recommend".

Also, let's be clear: I didn't like Chris' message, because it didn't 
attempt to help the OP.

I'm not taking the "don't use Google Groups" side in this debate.  You 
seem to think I am, but I'm not.  My point is, "talk about Python, not 
about Google Groups."

> It is also important to point it out because people
> who do that also post authoritatively about other
> things and readers should be aware how readily such
> people confuse their own opinions and facts.
>> 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.
> I think it is unreasonable when one doesn't have any
> evidence to support the claim.
>>> 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.
> OK, that's fair enough.
>> But it's a lot of work.
> No, it not a "lot" of work (IMO and I use GG for every
> post I make here).  For a poster who expects to post more
> than once or twice (and thus cares about not alienating
> the anti-GG group) but doesn't expect to be a frequent
> poster it may be perfectly reasonable amount of work
> relative to the work involved with any of the other
> options.

Yes, that's a point I've also been trying to make: we're in agreement here.

> The TB/Usenet promoters simply refuse to (or seem to be
> incapable of) understanding that figuring out enough about
> usenet/gmane etc to configure a newreader or managing a
> high volume of emails are what is a "lot of work" to
> someone who has been using Google Groups.  I for one don't
> want my yahoo email account filled with a hundred or more
> email messages a day, all of which I have to click a check
> box and a delete button to get rid of.  I don't want those
> email delivered to a local email account when I find GG
> allows me to quickly scan for messages of interest and
> skip the rest without using local resources.  And I find
> GG UI, while flawed, less flawed than many alternatives.
> So don't tell *me* it is a lot of work -- the alternatives
> are more so.
> And it is not up to you or Chris to decide what is or
> what isn't "a lot of work" for other people.  If it is
> too much work then they won't do it and will decide
> that using usenet or something else is easier.  But what
> you and Chris are missing is that that is *their* decision,
> not yours.

I'm not telling people not to use Google Groups.  In fact, I've said 
twice now in this thread that we have to accept Google Groups postings 
as part of this list.  My point is simply that we have to take care not 
to turn this list into a list about Google Groups, one way or the other.

Kevin started this thread by asking a question.  Chris responded without 
helping the OP, and talked about Google Groups instead.  That's not 
good.  Then you responded to Chris, not helping the OP, and talking 
about Google Groups instead.  That's also not good.

I have found some of the anti-GG responses off-putting, and I wish they 
would stop.  Words like "crap" aren't making anyone feel welcome.  In 
this thread, I felt like your attempts to correct those responses were 
also crossing a line.

That's why I'd personally prefer that everyone tone down the rhetoric on 
both sides of the debate.  For the most part, it will be impossible to 
get anyone to change how they access the list.  The best we can do is a 
polite suggestion that Google Groups puts some people off, and that more 
responses will likely result from using another tool.  Beyond that, it's 
just more useless yelling at each other.

>>> 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
>> instructions.
> Perhaps.  But it is an option that GG users should be
> aware of.
>> 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.
> And yet you want them to go though the subscription process
> for the email list and then deal with dozens, perhaps hundreds
> of messages from it every day?  And then figure out how to
> get off it when they're done?
> If they're unwilling to do a simple edit on a message before
> posting why would anyone think they'd be willing to do all
> the above?
> (And to pre-address the obvious potential mis-interpretation:
> I am talking about only a subset of posters.  Some *will*
> find email or usenet easier, and to repeat what I said in
> most every post on this subject: offering the option is
> fine, ignoring GG posts if you don't like them is fine.
> But making wrong or unsupported claims like GG corrupts
> whitespace (more than other software) or is harder to use
> than usenet or a mailing list, or makes people go blind
> is wrong.

To address your mis-interpretation: I'm not telling people not to use 
Google Groups.  I'm asking everyone to calm down about whether people 
use Google Groups or not.  Again, we agree: as I've said in this thread, 
many posters are not looking to "join the group", they are looking for 
help with their problem at hand.  They won't do *anything* that is 
difficult, especially where they can't see the flaws they are supposed 
to be correcting.

>> 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"
>> list.
> Please note that all my "argue about Google Groups" responses
> have been to correct some form of misinformation about GG that
> someone else posted first.

That's true, but it's still a message about Google Groups, and not about 
the OP's question.

>> 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.
> That all sounds fine but seems to apply to the anti-GG
> crowd more than me.

Well, point 3 applies to you. "Protracted debates" include views from 
both sides.

> I would add:
> 4) If someone continues to post from GG with no attempt
> to fix the quoting problem (which seem to be the only
> serious problem with GG) and the problem's been pointed
> out one or twice, just stop reading their posts if it
> bothers you too much.

I think that's a fine point #4, I'm not sure what other option there is 
in that case.

I'm a big believer in ignoring behavior that bothers you.  But you 
aren't ignoring Chris, and I'm not ignoring you, so clearly we both also 
believe in directly addressing behavior we don't like.  When to ignore, 
and when to act?  It's not easy to decide.

I'd like this list to be a respectful place that focuses on Python 
rather than on side issues.  This thread quickly turned into a rancorous 
debate about Google Groups rather than helping the OP with a Python 
question.  That's why I spoke up.

BTW: These discussions get fractured and difficult in email threads. 
I'm in the #python channel on freenode as nedbat if that would be a 
better way to reach an understanding.

Ned Batchelder,

More information about the Python-list mailing list