Re: FreeBSD-newbies group is a compromise community.
From: clayton rollins (crollins666_at_hotmail.com)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2004 01:06:33 +0000
On March 24, 2004, Randy Pratt <email@example.com> wrote:
>On Thu, 25 Mar 2004 09:36:11 +0000 Clayton Rollins wrote:
> > > Hi List,
>Please don't take my comments as any personal affrontation since
>I have quite different views.
No worries. :)
> > Sorry, the thread has become so fragmented at this
> > point, I can't really find a good last message to send
> > a reply to. Nor can I really find a good way to
> > integrate the past comments. This message is
> > intended as a general reply to all the previously
> > mentioned points in this thread.
> > To state my main point firstly, the problem, as I see
> > it, is not a matter of people asking technical
> > questions, but a matter of people answering
> > questions here. This is a problem (again, IMHO)
> > because more authoritative and knowlegable voices
> > are not generally present here.
>Asking technical questions in -newbies does not follow
>the FAK: http://www.welearn.com.au/freebsd/newbies/
> FreeBSD-Questions@FreeBSD.ORG is the place to send all
> questions about installing, configuring, running and using
> FreeBSD. All help requests are handled by FreeBSD-Questions,
> including newbies questions.
While I've read the FAK, not all people do. My comments were
directed more for the situation where a question does end
up here. My intention is not to encourage asking questions
here, but to find a consensus method of dealing with such
> > I would then propose that, in cases of technical replies,
> > that a minimal rule of CC'ing the -questions list be
> > imposed. (With the more knowledgeable members of
> > this list forwarding to questions when another
> > newbie forgets.)
>I don't think this will help since it would only encourage
>asking of technical questions here. Invariably, people will
>I've also noticed that people who have been doing this cause
>the person on -questions to CC the -newbies list, thereby
>perpetuating the asking/answering questions here myth. The
>convention is to use "Reply All" when answering a question is
>why this happens.
>The best approach would be to mail the -questions list directly
>and not CC the -newbies list. If the purpose is to expose
>new users to more information, then the -questions mailing list
>can be read online (highly suggested) without subscribing:
>Cross-posting should also be avoided since it only increases the
>noise level. Only some circumstances warrant cross-posting such
>as when you need to reach a wide range of people on a topic that
Here, I agree with you. My main concern was to allow users
a path to follow when answering questions, not with where
they do it.
A minor secondary concern was the consistency of threads
but, if the person moving the thread to -questions were to
post the fact that the thread has moved, this concern
could be minimized.
I see the danger of perpetuating the myth as a minimal
danger because, as mentioned above, people do ask
questions here. The new subscriber, having only read the
list a short time, will generally see some questions
posted, regardless of what policy may be.
Bottom line: forwarding the thread to -questions and/or
answering it there would be an acceptable course of
action, in my opinion.
> > While this uses far more bandwidth, it reduces the
> > constraints presently on this list and allows for
> > more colorful replies than "send this to -questions."
> > I have, personally, tried to follow such a path when
> > I do actually attempt to answer a question. For me,
> > a good guideline for a -newbies question has been:
> > if the question is clear and I feel I can contribute
> > something:
> > Reply and CC to -questions
>Your intention is good but contrary to the charter for this
>group. If your going to answer a question, please trim the
>CC for the -newbies group and only CC the -questions list.
I'll avoid doing so in the future. (see comments above.)
> > If it's a FAQ or covered in the documentation:
> > Give a link to the doc.s and let the sender know
> > the proper list is -questions.
> > If the question is unclear:
> > Notify the user of the proper list and point out
> > any problems with the question.
>This is covered in the weekly posting to -questions
>on "How To Ask Questions":
>The same link is also given in the weekly FAK posting here.
Again, not everyone reads it. (And, not everyone
subscribes for a week before asking a question.)
Although, I was being a bit unclear. My intention
was that one should point the asker to that
document and maybe point out what they would find
useful, if they were trying to answer the question.
> > While I know that many list members already
> > follow personal rules, I would like to have
> > solid guidelines and have them reflected in
> > the charter.
>There are solid guidlines already. See the FAK link above.
>No matter what "solid" guidlines you make (unless its none)
>then there will always be a problem in getting people to read
>them and then getting people to follow them.
>Even on the -questions list, people have to be reminded that
>their post isn't a question and off-topic discussions should be
>taken to -chat.
I kind of overstated my intentions here. The charter and FAK
don't necessarily need to change in fundamental ways.
I like the FAK and it's guidelines, but I feel that:
"There's nothing wrong with helping someone to redirect
their question to freebsd-questions, but please do so gently. "
doesn't cover all situations.
Technically, your method of moving the thread to
-questions wouldn't really be allowed under that statement,
nor would pointing the asker to the appropriate
My intention was more to spark discussion and perhaps
reach a better guideline than what is in place.
> > As a secondary point, I would also like to get,
> > at least, a general agreement on what we
> > should consider a technical reply.
> > I would propose the simple criteria of whether
> > or not the reply is advice. (example: it should
> > be alright to point a user to a document, but
> > not to say that a user should follow the steps
> > in a document to solve a specific problem.)
>I would go much further. If you are going to suggest a link.
>I would limit them to the documentation provided by FreeBSD.org
>since only that documentation has been subjected to review.
I appreciate the reasoning here. Of course, I also think
that people should understand what constitutes official
documentation, regardless of where they may get it.
I generally try to limit any references to reliable
(reviewed) sources. (ie. the official doc.s and mailing
> > I would like to see these issues specified,
> > again, at least by general agreement, then
> > to ask our fellows on -questions to agree to
> > some level of integration, then to
> > document the new arrangement and/or
> > begin operating under such rules.
>Again, why not just post directly to -questions?
I was hoping for consensus from this community,
then to get some sort of agreement from
-questions. (I wouldn't want to anger them with
duplicate threads and/or questions that are handled
in the documentation.)
> > While I, personally, have no problem using
> > the current system, I have replied to others
> > to post to -questions quite often, and not
> > seen the message to -questions. I can't
> > help but feel that some of those people
> > gave up on freebsd, rather than take the
> > time to send yet another message.
> > Other than creating an -install list,
> > allowing for a link between the two lists
> > seems the only reasonable method for
> > addressing this issue.
>There was much resistance to creating this -newbies list
>because the people who answer technical questions simply do
>not want (yet another) mailing list to read. Also of a concern
>was that it would degrade into the asking of questions and
>the answers wouldn't be subject to review by a wide range of
>Another list isn't going to solve anything and I seriously
>doubt if the core team and/or developers would agree with
I do not advocate creating a new list. (In fact, I'm quite
I was only mentioning it as another list member had
mentioned it, and it seemed like a decent alternate
way of addressing the issue of new users being
afraid to ask their question in -questions.
> > I know this thread is somewhat dead, but
> > I finally had a free minute to reply to this.
> > questions/comments welcome.
> > Regards,
> > Clayton Rollins
> > PS. Recently a list member wanted to share
> > the advice they had recieved. While I agree
> > that this is a bad idea, I would encourage
> > people in such a situation to rephrase the
> > message as "what worked for me" and/or
> > "documents I found useful." I'd also think
> > it would be appropriate to CC -questions
> > for technical-type stuff (for archiving and
> > possibly some correction by the -questions
> > members :) ).
>There have been few on-topic postings to this list for some
>time. I can suggest another method to resolve the situation.
>Close the freebsd-newbies mailing list down. This would
>certainly resolve the issue asking technical questions here.
I don't think it's that bad yet :).
>This issue can be discussed and new guidlines be suggested but it
>in all probability would have to be approved by the developers and/or
>the core team. There's always the possibility that this will open
>the old discussion where there was much heated debate over this
>group's creation for the reasons mentioned above.
I don't think this requires major changes. (Though, I know
any changes will have to be approved by the larger community.)
For instance, simply forwarding the questions to -questions
would fix the problem.
My real desire is simply that we have another possibility
than saying "ask on -questions." And, secondarily, maybe a
better definition of what types of responses, if any, might be
>I've CC'd Sue Blake since she was instrumental in getting this
>list creation approved. I'm sure she'll be able to add some
>details that I've long since forgotten.
I've followed your lead, though this was mostly intended
to just be discussion, not any solid propositions.
Thanks for your comments, and thanks for correcting me on
some points ;),
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