Other lists exist too - Was Re: Hardware Recovery Company

Robert Simmons rsimmons0 at gmail.com
Sat May 21 22:44:32 UTC 2011

On Sat, May 21, 2011 at 4:13 PM, Julian H. Stacey <jhs at berklix.com> wrote:
> Questions@ started as a catch all fallback address for simple beginners
> questions from the newly installed, who didn't know /  hadn't yet read
>  http://www.freebsd.org/community/mailinglists.html
>  http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/eresources.html#ERESOURCES-MAIL
> to find where more exactly one might ask a question.
> Recently questions@ seems to be performing roughly the same purpose
> as hackers@ list, a random jamboree/ mellange of topics, which
> doesnt make much sense to me (where theyre posted, not the content
> of the questions), I think a lot of questions@ traffic would be
> better posted to hackers@ or other themed @freebsd.org lists.

Perhaps the text of the list charters in the handbook along with the
short descriptions should be changed to reflect this, or at least
clarify it.  I have used FreeBSD for about 10 years, but I would never
have thought to post to freebsd-hackers because the description is
"This is a forum for technical discussions related to FreeBSD. This is
the primary technical mailing list. It is for individuals actively
working on FreeBSD, to bring up problems or discuss alternative
solutions. Individuals interested in following the technical
discussion are also welcome. This is a technical mailing list for
which strictly technical content is expected."

That's a pretty scary description.  I have not even subscribed to the
list, let alone lurked there or posted there due to that description.
That description conjures an image of DES and PHK discussing the
kernel and the color of its bikeshed.

Now, the freebsd-questions list has the following description: "This
is the mailing list for questions about FreeBSD. You should not send
“how to” questions to the technical lists unless you consider the
question to be pretty technical."

Now, the second sentence sounds like another do-not-disturb sign for
the technical lists.  So, according to the descriptions, it seems like
this is the appropriate place for the jamboree.

Perhaps the situation that you want is to have two lists, one for
newbies, and another for the initiated.  So, one solution would be to
change the charter for freebsd-hackers to make it a bit less
high-level.  Another solution would be to create a new list
freebsd-<insert-word-here> that would serve as a place to ask
questions if you are not a newbie.

I have a third solution.  Leave everything the way it is.  Having a
jamboree with newbies and more versed people is good.  Newbies can ask
questions, non-newbies can ask questions, and importantly newbies can
ramp up to answering questions they know the answer to. all in the
same forum.

Lastly, the description for freebsd-fs is "Discussions concerning
FreeBSD file systems. This is a technical mailing list for which
strictly technical content is expected."  Asking for recommendations
for a data recovery service (which is what the OP's message was) does
not belong in freebsd-fs.  The discussion may have evolved into a
discussion that belongs on freebsd-fs, but that's only natural.  All
questions asked here will probably evolve into discussions that fit
better on one of the various technical lists.

In my opinion there has to be a free-for-all area where no type of
questions are discouraged as you have in your message.  As long as the
question is about FreeBSD, it is allowed.  How to eat a Yubari melon
probably does not belong here, but other than keeping it to FreeBSD, I
see no problems with the way it is now.

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