Quoting Lior W. (opensource.*.n...@neverbox.com):

> Interesting. I did notice it's hard to conduct serious discussions in 
> forums, but it's harder to find mailing lists for a given subject.

As Garbo's 'Ninotchka' phrased it, 'Fewer but better.'  ;->

> Anyway, I can't really counter your statements except:
> 1) Doesn't the ability to not be notified about each and every topic
> worth the troubles?

Obviously a matter of perception and opinion.  I find my own local
filtering and scoring of incoming SMTP mail to meet my needs in that
regard.  FWIW, newsgroup forums are now unfashionable but offer many
advantages in these and similar areas.  (BTW, a cynic might also suggest
that Web-based media are heavily pushed by some folks -- present company
excluded -- over both mailing lists because Web media better support
advertising and user-tracking / datamining.)

> 2) A javascript forum would solve the threading issue. See the Israeli 
> http://www.tapuz.co.il/Forums

What's the expression in Ivrit?  'Hetzi-hetzi'?  ;->  Even the best
implementation of threading in Web fora pretty much is mediocre compared
to the RFC-defined implementation built right into SMTP.  (Again, my
opinion, but I think you'll find it widely shared.)

> 3) Many forums have a PM system which solves the need for a personal 
> contact while protecting the privacy of the e-mail address (which is 
> easier to abuse and harder to change).

1.  A private messaging system is not fully out of band.  In the
pathological case of, say, an abusive moderator, it is not unknown for 
a valued user to be just quietly banned and thus not reachable via PM,

2.  'Privacy of the e-mail address' calls to mind the school of thought
I call 'hiding from spammers'.  That view (that it is useful or
necessary to conceal one's e-mail address to be unfindable) is held by
some even in the technical community, perhaps some on this mailing list,
even.  I do not care to discuss the matter in any further depth here, as
it is off-topic, but:  Hiding from spammers doesn't work.

There is a particular meaning I intend by that, and I commonly hear
objections that miss my meaning and focus on edge-cases that ignore the
general truth.  Anyway, I am willing to discuss the matter further
elsewhere but not here.

> 4) I think one of the biggest downsides of a mailing list is the lack of a 
> search engine.

The popularity of GNU Mailman and Sympa (among others), with their
built-in Web archivers, over majordomo starting around 1998 has meant
that most mailing lists are highly findable using Google Web search,
DuckDuckGo, etc. even _if_ the mailing list admins never bother
implementing local-site searching.

For an entertaining read, enter this into Google Web search:

   site:lists.debian.org 'dueling banjos'

Context:  http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/lexicon.html#banjos

  Dueling Banjos Effect

  Term coined
  by Jim Penny for self-perpetuating Internet prominence caused by
  feedback loops between search engines and Internet discussion fora.
  Refers in particular to bizarre and perplexing instances of such
  freaky fame.

  The eponymous example was triggered by one Martin Eldridge's deeply
  mistaken query (http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2000/07/msg00206.html)
  on the Debian Linux distribution developers' mailing list
  (debian-devel), in July 2000: "Could you please send me the sheet music
  for Dueling Banjos, Regards Martin". Which in turn lent that mailing
  list high prominence on all subsequent Google searches for "sheet music
  Dueling Banjos", which lead to other people's (completely inappropriate)
  queries much like Eldridge's, and so on.

  To head off the inevitable queries *I* would otherwise get: 
  No, I don't have that sheet music. Neither does the Debian Project, 
  despite porting efforts

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