On the need for moderated questions lists

Giorgos Keramidas keramida at ceid.upatras.gr
Fri May 29 11:47:21 UTC 2009

On Fri, 29 May 2009 13:01:04 +0200 (CEST),
Wojciech Puchar <wojtek at wojtek.tensor.gdynia.pl> wrote:
>> Because we already _have_ a list `for general FreeBSD questions', and it
>> is open.  Adding even more lists to the mix will --at least initially--
>> only serve as a source of mild confusion.  Imagine you are a new FreeBSD
>> user.
> Try to imagine it now.
> i see the webpage, the mailing lists, and ftp with installs and
> documentation.
> webpage - clear, understandable, read and understood
> documentation - simply excellent, nothing else to say.
> unmoderated mailing lists - total off-topic mess, is it really FreeBSD
>   support? or maybe it's a chat.
> moderated mailing list - not very much here, but at least about
>   FreeBSD. for sure i will ask here if i will need help with FreeBSD.

This includes at least two hypothetical scenarios:

  a) That the current list is an off-topic 'mess'.
  b) That a moderated list would not be a 'mess'.

The 'mess' you are basing the rest of the arguments on is an unproven
hypothesis until you go through all the trouble of proving it.

I, for example, do not consider the current freebsd-questions a 'mess' by
any far stretch of imagination.  I like the people who hang out here and
explain what amusing and wonderful things they can do with FreeBSD.  I have
even learned new and exciting things by simply lurking here and watching
the replies others are giving.

So you have at least one important step before convincing the postmasters
that we need to 'fix' a problem:

    Collect data and summarize it in a very concise and readable
    way that proves there *is* a problem.

Note that this is going to be a bit tricky though.  A great percentage of
the posts in this very same thread may fall in the 'off topic' category you
are trying to describe.  Many of them have been sent by none other than the
person who defines this particular notion of off-topic-ness: you again.

It may be worth stopping for a moment to think about it.  If this very same
list was one that matches what you describe you would have *never* been
free to post a great deal of the messages you are posting now.

Would you choose to subscribe to it then?  Would you still enjoy being a
party in the collective group of people who post on this discussion forum?

If the answer is 'no', then it means your ideal state of this list is a bit
less than 'ideal', because it would fail to satisfy even you, the one who
defined this ideal.

If the answer is 'yes', then it means that you actually enjoy being free to
post in a discussion forum that is open to all sorts of FreeBSD topics, as
long as they have even the smallest semblance of a question (i.e. one valid
question is then 'What is FreeBSD and why should I prefer it over Linux?').
But if the openness of the list is actually a nice attribute, then the
effort to close it down or to introduce a less enjoyable form of a list for
general FreeBSD questions is a bit wrong.

It's really a very strange argument the one you are trying to make, and you
haven't even *started* to prove that there is a 'mess', to base it upon.

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