Time to split the list?

I hope no one gets offended by my asking, but I wonder what others think
about the possibility of splitting the list into two or three focal
areas. Personally, I think I’d like to see three seperate lists: 1)
newbie development (e.g., help working through tutorials, etc.) 2) more
advanced development topics, 3) environment setup / admin… What do you
think?

Best regards,
Bill

Bill W. wrote:


Rails mailing list
[email protected]
http://lists.rubyonrails.org/mailman/listinfo/rails

This has been proposed in the past and was largely shot down on the
basis that having more than one list will separate the new users from
the veterans and in doing so make it very hard for questions to get
answered. Additionally the line between advanced and intro/intermediate
is often blurry and so the determination of where to submit certain
items would be ambiguous.

Matthew M.
blog.mattmargolis.net

I’d had the same two thoughts, both that it would be good to have a
newbie area, where they wouldn’t be embarrassed to ask straightforward
questions and also to clean up this list a bit. However, I’m not sure
that the more experienced users would end up looking at the newbie list.

I personally try to answer at least two or three questions each time I’m
tempted to ask one myself. Ironically, often, after doing that, I’ve had
enough of a break from my problem that I end up solving it myself
without ever asking it.

Hi Matthew,

Matthew M. wrote:

This has been proposed in the past

I should have explicitly recognized in my posting that I’m sure this has
been discussed before and assume that it was rejected at that time as
inappropriate (else there’d already be more than one list). At the same
time, as circumstances are bound to change over time, I believe it’s
valid
to revisit questions of organization from time to time.

and was largely shot down on the basis that having more than one list will
separate the new users from the veterans

Just to make sure we’re on the same page, I do not proposed restricting
membership. Only to providing focal points. I, for one, would join all
three. In one I’d be more active wrt posting questions, in another more
active wrt answering them, and in the third I’d be in a quiet learning /
monitoring mode.

and in doing so make it very hard for questions to get answered.

In defense of the idea, I’d also recognize that sheer volume also makes
it
very hard for questions to get answered by making it easy for them to
get
“lost in the pile.” Additionally, my own experience has been that I
find it
easier to understand questions from and provide answers to folks who are
at
a similar “level”.

Additionally the line between advanced and intro/intermediate is often
blurry

Very true. But again, from my own experience, I’ve had a pretty good
feeling as to whether I was asking a ‘newbie’ question or a ‘nuance /
detail’ question. Also, while the line is often blurry from a
development
topic perspective, I think the distinction between development vs. setup
/
admin. is less so.

and so the determination of where to submit certain items would be
ambiguous.

Again, I’m not proposing any membership restrictions. Depending on
circumstances, a person might submit to one and then another based on
feedback, or might submit to multiple from the get-go.

Thanks for your thoughts and for the discussion!

Best regards,
Bill

Hey guys, I found two pennies to rub together on this.

How about a better taxonomy for the questions? The system already
marks message subjects with [Rails]. How about marking message
subjects like:

[Rails][Newbie]
[Rails][Advanced]
[Rails][Deployment]

We should still keep one list with no membership restrictions, so a
post to any of these lists still posts to the entire list.

I could, in theory, route messages for the advanced list to a
separate folder in my e-mail client. Maybe there’s a better taxonomy
out there. The point is that I agree that the volume of the list
makes me gloss over a lot of questions very quickly, thus reducing
the probability of me answering a question.

Now I’ve spent my two cents.

-Anthony

Hi Chris,

Chris T wrote:

I’d had the same two thoughts, both that it would be good to have a newbie
area, where they wouldn’t be embarrassed to ask straightforward questions

You’ve captured the essence of my intent here. Also, the possibility of
a
split into development and setup/admin seems to me to be potentially
less
controversial. Do you see any issues with that?

However, I’m not sure that the more experienced users would end up looking
at the newbie list.

I think this would be a self-correcting thing. If newbie’s don’t get
their
questions answered in one place, they should ask in another. I know I
personally would continue to help newbies, as I was helped and continue
to
be helped. What I’m suggesting is sort of a birds-of-a-feather thing, I
guess.

Thanks for your response and for the discussion!

Best regards,
Bill

I really don’t like the idea of a noobs list. It’s not a big deal for
me.
The newbie questions can sometimes be really informative, as you get to
see
how different people solve the same problem. That, and I like the way
that
this list, for the most part, makes people feel welcome.

OSS is, of course, a give-and-take community. Noobs are expected to ask
questions, gain knowledge, and then give back to the next generation.

now… I might be in favor of a rails-deployment list though…

On Fri, 2006-07-14 at 10:41 -0400, Anthony C. wrote:

We should still keep one list with no membership restrictions, so a
post to any of these lists still posts to the entire list.

I could, in theory, route messages for the advanced list to a
separate folder in my e-mail client. Maybe there’s a better taxonomy
out there. The point is that I agree that the volume of the list
makes me gloss over a lot of questions very quickly, thus reducing
the probability of me answering a question.

Now I’ve spent my two cents.


there would be too few knowledgeable people answering questions on a
‘newbie’ list and thus it would simply be newbies helping
newbies…probably not a very good idea.

Craig

Hi Brian,

Brian H. wrote:

I really don’t like the idea of a noobs list. It’s not a big
deal for me. The newbie questions can sometimes be
really informative, as you get to see how different people
solve the same problem. That, and I like the way that this
list, for the most part, makes people feel welcome.

I’m ambivalent on the split of development topics myself. OTOH, Chris
T.
captured the essence of my concern. One of the things I learned in a
dozen
years of managing teams is that there are a lot of folks who just won’t
ask
if there’s even a possibility they’ll get embarassed. That’s just how
some
people are. And both the person and the community suffer as a result of
the
question going unasked.

now… I might be in favor of a rails-deployment list though…

I personally feel like this is a slam-dunk. But that’s just me :wink:

Thanks!

Best regards,
Bill

[Rails][Newbie]
[Rails][Advanced]
[Rails][Deployment]
Hmm - that kind of assumes that the poster (and receivers) can tell what
constitutes a newbie/advanced message. I think this would over
complicate things. If you feel a thread isn’t one you’d like to take
part in, then you just don’t read it.

It’s not like we all have one level of knowledge - as previously
mentioned sometimes you can be surprised by solutions that newbie
discussions.

What is important IMO is that we encourage well-crafted posts:
descriptive subject lines (using [TAGS] if needs be) and content that
outlines the point with relevant required information. And of course
we’ve all been guilty of not searching the archives before posting :0)

Today’s newbies are tomorrow’s experts and the last thing we want is to
say to people “This should be posted in the ‘newbie’ forum”. On the
whole, ruby and rails have a very friendly community and i think we
should keep it that way.

Steve

Hi Anthony,

Anthony C. wrote:

How about a better taxonomy for the questions?

I think that’s really what I’m looking for in making my proposal. A
context
grouping.

The system already marks message subjects with [Rails]. How about marking
message subjects like:

[Rails][Newbie]
[Rails][Advanced]
[Rails][Deployment]

AFAIK, there are only a couple of ways to accomplish that: 1) make three
lists, or 2) have folks mark their own. I wouldn’t be in favor of (2)
from
the ‘safe haven’ perspective. It’s one thing to let folks decide which
community they want to address. It’s quite another to ask them to
explicitly label themselves.

OTOH, seeing the above in print has caused my thinking to crystalize a
bit.
What would you think about:
[Rails-tutorials]
[Rails-development]
[Rails-deployment]
?

We should still keep one list with no membership restrictions, so a post
to any of these lists still posts to the entire list.

I honestly don’t see the benefit of one list with no membership
restrictions
over three lists with no membership restrictions. Help me out?

Thanks for your comments and for the discussion!

Best regards,
Bill

On 7/14/06, Craig W. [email protected] wrote:

there would be too few knowledgeable people answering questions on a
‘newbie’ list and thus it would simply be newbies helping
newbies…probably not a very good idea.

You would think that, but a similar setup was established with my
local LUG and it has worked out very well for all:
http://nlug.org/listserv.php

Bill W. wrote:

I hope no one gets offended by my asking, but I wonder what others think
about the possibility of splitting the list into two or three focal
areas. Personally, I think I’d like to see three seperate lists: 1)
newbie development (e.g., help working through tutorials, etc.) 2) more
advanced development topics, 3) environment setup / admin… What do you
think?

Best regards,
Bill

Hey Bill,
I think a split to two lists, development and deployment, this would
allow new people to ask questions and get answers from advanced people,
which adding a newbie list might interfere with, but also allows for the
more advanced admin/devployment/long term questions to be asked, where
they don’t clutter up the development list, and allows the more expert
people in those fields to help out, if they don’t want to go through the
crufty deveopment posts.

Chris

Hi Stephen,

Stephen B. wrote:

Today’s newbies are tomorrow’s experts and the last thing we want is to
say to people “This should be posted in the ‘newbie’ forum”.

I totally agree. Not at all what I’m after, but I can see that how I
started out took us down this path. I’d be interested in your thoughts
on…
[Rails-tutorials]
[Rails-development]
[Rails-deployment] (or admin or something akin)

To your point about subject-lines, etc., all my proposal is about is
improving our ability to understand posts’ context.

On the whole, ruby and rails have a very friendly community and i think we
should keep it that way.

Totally agree and hope that no one construes my intent as exclusionary
in
any way. It’s just the opposite in fact. For example,
birds-of-a-feather
sessions at conferences aren’t taken, IME, as exclusionary devices.
They’re
conveniences arranged so that folks can make the best use of their
limited
time. I’m suggesting a similar mechanism.

Thanks for your comments and for the discussion!

Best regards,
Bill

On 7/14/06, Bill W. [email protected] wrote:

Just to make sure we’re on the same page, I do not proposed restricting
membership. Only to providing focal points. I, for one, would join all
three. In one I’d be more active wrt posting questions, in another more
active wrt answering them, and in the third I’d be in a quiet learning /
monitoring mode.

As nice as it would be, I’ve never seen a newbie area actually work.
It quickly degenerates into the “I didn’t bother to read any
documentation so please solve my problem for me” area.

Maybe as a message board, with a simple credit system like the
Hibernate forums use it would stand a chance.

http://forum.hibernate.org/index.php
http://forum.hibernate.org/credits.html

– James

roflmao

I propose that we split the list into two: one list for Rails related
discussion, and one in which to discuss splitting the list.

Hi Greg,

Greg D. wrote:

On 7/14/06, Craig W. [email protected] wrote:

there would be too few knowledgeable people answering questions on a
‘newbie’ list and thus it would simply be newbies helping
newbies…probably not a very good idea.

You would think that, but a similar setup was established with my
local LUG and it has worked out very well for all:
http://nlug.org/listserv.php

Thanks for joining the discussion and for the link to your list.
Interesting!

I do have reservations about the ‘newbie’ label though that have becomre
more pronounced as a result of the majority of responses. It really
doesn’t
capture what I’m hoping for. I’m not interested in labeling that
someone
might find demeaning, but am very much interested in providing context
that
will help them get help. Depending on a number of things (e.g., how big
and
how close are the 'gators :wink: ), the author of a posting may or may not
be
able to articulate a subject line that captures the topic they’re
looking
for help with. What do you think about the
[Rails-tutorials]
[Rails-development]
[Rails-deployment] (or admin or something akin)
suggestion?

Thanks again!
Bill

On Fri, 2006-07-14 at 10:13 -0500, Greg D. wrote:

On 7/14/06, Craig W. [email protected] wrote:

there would be too few knowledgeable people answering questions on a
‘newbie’ list and thus it would simply be newbies helping
newbies…probably not a very good idea.

You would think that, but a similar setup was established with my
local LUG and it has worked out very well for all:
http://nlug.org/listserv.php


I know that I wouldn’t sub to a newbie list - not that I am such a big
helper to newbies but I do try to help sometimes.

Craig

On 7/14/06, Bill W. [email protected] wrote:

I’m not interested in labeling that someone
might find demeaning,

You’re seriously worried about this? Are we being trolled here?

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