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From: Beman Dawes (beman_at_[hidden])
Date: 2000-12-29 11:03:07

At 02:38 PM 12/28/2000 -0800, Jon Kalb wrote:

>I have seen requests made to divide the discussion list up by
>library. The response has been that the "cross-pollination" effect of
>engineers participating in discussions about libraries that are not
>their primary interest is valuable. I suspect that this is true. But
>I recognize that this list is an extremely high-volume list and this
>is off-putting to many (or most) engineers.
>I propose that rather than divide the list by library, that the list
>be divided into a list for library developers and a list for (Boost)
>library users. The advantage that I see is that a significant number
>of engineers might be inclined to try out one or more Boost libraries
>if the discussion list were less intimidating (in both volume and
>technical detail).

Interesting suggestion. Great minds must think alike:-) Dave Abrahams and
I were discussing library user support earlier in the month.

I've been wondering if library users might be better served by a web based
forum, since they can just post questions from their browser without having
to sign up for a mailing list. They could also review questions posted by
others, and see the answers.

For example, see the way Boris Fomitchev at STLport does it:

I emailed Boris, asking about the DCForum software he uses to implement
forums. His reply: "DCForum is great."

>The obvious disadvantage that I see is that some engineers that would
>otherwise join and contribute to the "developer" list might only
>subscribe to the "user" list. This disadvantage must be weighed
>against the possibility of increased users for Boost libraries. Over
>time, subscribers to the user list may migrate to the developer list
>after developing a greater understanding of Boost and its purpose.

If boost is going to continue to expand, we have to address the needs of
both developers and users. It seems to me that the eGroups mailing lists,
with web-based, digest, or direct e-mail options, are well suited to
developers. But a web based forum might be better suited to end users.

What do others think?

>I'm not really certain what the mission of Boost is. If the mission
>is just to have a place to develop quality libraries then expanding
>the user base isn't really important. On the other hand if,
>propagating the libraries is part of the mission, then I think some
>thought should be given to the needs of engineers that might be
>interested in using one or more Boost libraries, but only if a low
>volume list is available (to help get started).

Both developers and end users are important to the future of Boost,
IMO. Several of us are actively working on other parts of the end user
equation, like much better install and build procedures. But it is also
time to look at the user support mailing-list or web-forum side of the

Thanks for starting the discussion!


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