-----Original Message-----
From: paras...@gmail.com [mailto:paras...@gmail.com] On Behalf Of Daniel
Sent: 15 July 2010 05:11 PM
To: PHP General
Subject: [PHP] Recent Influx of Unrelated Discussions

    Also known as off-topic posts.  We're all guilty of them, but has anyone
recently noticed that there is a significant number (about 35% of all
traffic) that is off-topic?  There have been questions on databases,
JavaScript, WordPress, Apache directives, and more.... none of which were
even related to PHP.  Unfortunately, this is how dilution occurs, which
often causes communities to dwindle into a defunct or otherwise low-quality
state.  As those of you who have been around for at least a couple of years
know, we have continued to thrive here because we're not strict on the
topics of discussion, and frequently [d]evolve into off-topic banter
(particularly on Fridays, as it used to be).  However, have you noticed the
influx of extremely low-quality and/or low-class posts to the list?  Couple
that with the ominous silence from the formerly-frequent contributors of
high-quality material, code examples, and community assistance.  It is not a

    This is an open list, and we don't moderate or censor any of the
discussions, but before it gets out of hand, I'd like to suggest a
moratorium on all off-topic posts through the end of this month --- with the
exception, again, of Fridays.  Which would mean that those in agreement
would participate in the hiatus by not only not posting off-topic threads,
but also not replying to those that are off the general topic.  This isn't
to say that threads can't still eventually decay into a friendly discussion,
as has always been welcome, but that it shouldn't be the intent of a thread
to seek assistance on topics unrelated to PHP and PHP programming in

</Daniel P. Brown>
Just ask me what we're offering today!
daniel.br...@parasane.net || danbr...@php.net http://www.parasane.net/ ||


It's Friday so I suppose I can respond... ;)

I belong to a couple of mailing lists and always found the PHP list
particularly active, focused,  mature, and a tremendously helpful resource,
even just following issues others raise and resolve. And Daniel, your own
gentle prods to keep things on track I think sets some of the professional
tone of the list. However, the subject of the list can be broad and fuzzy
and can lead to some semi off-topic posts like Apache directives that affect
PHP apps, JavaScript/Ajax interaction with PHP code, open-source PHP apps,
etc. And even some non-PHP issues that most PHP developers will deal with at
some time or another. Of course there are degrees of just how far off-topic
one can go, but the fact that you can tap into a huge resource of skills and
experience to find answers that can be difficult to find elsewhere is
obviously very tempting. I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds some of the
responses to these off-topic issues quite edifying, considering they're
almost always within the broad realm of PHP-related web development (though
I agree low-quality posts are useless to everyone whether on-topic or not).
At the same time I can see it's a difficult balancing act to cater for
everyone from total beginners to highly skilled professionals and still keep
everyone on board, especially if some of the more experienced and busy users
feel they're being flooded with hundreds of mostly irrelevant posts (like
this one) every day. But I also think those same users have the skills and
filters to quickly scan and find the posts that are
useful/interesting/relevant. Personally I think this list is great, even
with some of the off-topic discussion. And your own involvement has always
been very professional, and of course very focused, thanks.


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