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From: Andrey Semashev (andrey.semashev_at_[hidden])
Date: 2020-06-29 10:30:40

On 2020-06-29 12:13, Peter Barker via Boost wrote:
> The mailing list is highly inconvenient, definitely a thing that should be
> in the past. A forum would be awesome.

Not hoping to convert anyone, but still I'm going to answer a few points
below so that it becomes more evident that most of these points are
either solvable or not a problem.

> A few quick reasons off the top of
> my head to use a forum:
> 1) Better quoting of previous posts (thereby killing the top posting issue).

All email clients, including the GMail web interface, have a decent
quoting capability. Some clients (e.g. KMail) even color different
levels of quotation differently.

Top-posting is a cultural thing more than technical.

> 2) Quotes from multiple posters can be addressed in a single reply.

This is actually a bad thing to to do. When I'm looking though new
messages in a topic, I often don't read each message though just to see
if someone addressed or replied to me somewhere in the middle of his
post. So, don't merge multiple replies into one post, please.

> 3) No lengthy corporate signatures in every post.

Using corporate email for mailing lists is probably not the best idea,
unless you're participating on behalf of the company. However,
signatures are configurable and removable when posting a message. I
admit, this may be less convenient if you have to remove the signature
before posting.

> 4) Easy to see from a high level what all the topics of discussion are. At
> the moment there's a boost users list, a boost developers list. Think
> there's one for Spirit. Is there one for UBLAS too? Not sure what others.

I believe, the suggestion was to have multiple forums, in which case you
will have multiple lists of posts as well.

If you mean grouping messages in threads then every decent email client
has that capability.

> 5) Clients can subscribe to particular messages and get notifications of
> changes to those in their email (or when the return to the forum). This is
> better then scanning through an email inbox.

This is an advantage for casual one-time posters, I agree.

> 6) We all have different email clients. Every one of us needs to do
> configuration to mark the emails appropriately and move them to a
> particular folder. Boost emails are interspersed with my personal emails.
> Moving to a web-based forum will give us all our inboxes back.

Filtering is there for the rescue. I have 8 mailing lists in my mail, 5
of them are pretty active (dozens messages per day), each in its own
folder. That is not counting notifications from various platforms, like
GitHub and CIs, which are also nicely separated. All that took is to
configure GMail filters once when I subscribed to a list or platform. I
can't imagine how I could follow 8 different forums instead.

> 7) Sometimes messages on the Boost list go to my email spam folders and
> therefore easily missed. This wouldn't happen anymore.

Again, filters allow to mitigate this. GMail has "don't mark as spam"

> 8) Ability to do polls (e.g. should a proposed library be included in
> Boost?).

It's not clear to me that polling should be integrated with the
messaging system.

And Boost reviews are not polls anyway. A review must not only contain
accept/reject verdict. In fact, it may not contain one and only point
out various points about the library. The review manager makes an
informed decision about acceptance based on reviews, possibly in spite
of the accept/reject verdicts in them.

> 9) Blocks of code will appear nicer assuming they're marked up.

To this I would agree, but only assuming a decent markup is available in
the forum engine. In some forums I've seen the markup is terrible, to
the point it is easier to just paste the code as is.

And speaking of markup and formatting, some forums are too eager to
interpret the text as a markup or various smileys, which is unacceptable
for technical content. Plain text is the best media for technical

> 10) Some email clients only allow threads up to x (e.g. 100) messages so
> you get a different line in your inbox although it's the same thread.

Nothing to say here, other than maybe try another client, or request a
feature to remove the limit from the email client developers.

> 11) Threads can be closed.

Not a useful feature, IMHO. I don't remember a single time when I would
want to explicitly close a discussion. Someone may have a reason to
revive an old discussion, and there's nothing wrong with that.

> 12) Messages can be edited/refined after posting.

This one is debatable. On one hand, it is useful to be able to correct
mistakes noticed just after posting. However, editing or rewriting posts
after the discussion has moved on (i.e. after people have read and
reacted to your original message) is not right.

> 13) Better navigation through lengthy threads because pagination comes in
> to play.

I hate pagination. I hate having to click through pages seeking for the
one message I'm interested in or want to reply to. And I often do want
to respond to someone in the middle of the discussion, as I get an idea
some time after I read the post. This would be a major drawback for me.

In the mail client I can skim through message headers looking for a
particular date and author or use search without having to click through

> 14) Stickys available for FAQs.

This might be useful.

> 15) Ability to put images in messages to show compilation time graphs, etc.

I don't think this is useful in a technical forum like Boost, more like
a gimmick, but ok.

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