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Re: Welcome Rahul (was Re: New debian package maintainers - Sudeesh and Sagar)

Quoting Ritesh Raj Sarraf (2016-02-11 17:50:51)
> On Thu, 2016-02-11 at 16:46 +0100, Jonas Smedegaard wrote:
>> [Praveen wrote:]
>>> I don't think the newbies will be stuck on XMPP forever, they will  
>>> have to interact with the community anyway and they will learn to 
>>> use  whatever tools required once they grow up in the community.
>>> But insisting on IRC when a better medium exist is in my opinion  
>>> elitist.
>> Regarding our choice of tools being "elitist", I believe the proper  
>> solution to that is to bridge, not fork!
> I think this is the most important part about this problem. With time,
> the trends have changed. And so have the audiences.

NB! Please quote only relevant parts, and preserve references to who 
wrote which parts.

> A couple years ago, we had a similar discussion on -project.  
> http://osdir.com/ml/debian-project/2011-09/msg00042.html
> The problem with everyone deriving their own means is that it'll lead 
> to fragmentation. In fact it already has.
> We have traditional Mailing Lists, IRC Channels, Debian Ask; and now 
> these days, Facebook Groups, Meetup Groups, G+ groups and what not.
> We for sure need to evolve with time, but IMO, we should also make 
> effort to interlink these communication channels. It is NOT easy, but 
> I don't think anyone (apart from LaunchPad) has made a serious effort.
> Just like the Universal OS, if we can make a Universal Communication 
> channel, it'll be for the good of everyone in our community.

I agree in general, but beware to inter-link only what is semantically 
same: Mailinglists are commonly used for deeper reflected statements, 
whereas irc is (literally) used for one-liners.

Some semantic features are engraved technically into protocols but 
others are "hidden" in social behaviours.

One example is the lack of irc logs - that's technically possible but 
socially chosen to be opt-in, because the medium is intended for casual 
communication, and having a microphone always turned on in the rooms 
damages the ability for some to speak relaxed.

Another example is irc being mostly one-liners.  It is technically 
possible to write long sentences but that breaks conversations to wait 
for the other party to compose long responses.  Similarly it is 
technically possible to handle multi-line posts (more elegantly in XMPP 
protocol by embedding newlines, clumsily in irc by splitting into 
multiple posts) but that is frowned upon as that damages the abimity to 
easy skim through a conversation as such: A dialogue between multiple 
parties, rather than a place for individuals to "puke" their utterings 
independently of each other.  Quite unlike a Facebook/Diaspora "wall".

> In my opinion, for a large project like Debian, something that 
> connects the dots if really needed. To start with, connect the Mailing 
> List + Bug Tracker + Debian Ask + Web Forums; and provide the 
> user/developer an intuitive way to participate and collaborate.

An issue tracker - even one shaped technically as dtnamically spawned 
mailinglists - is semantically quite different from a mailinglist.

Mailinglists and web fora seem semantically quite similar, but...

Many years ago I looked into bridging mailinglist and news and web-board 
communication - by use of papercut (surprisingly still in Debian!) - but 
learned that even ignoring technical challenges, the media have grown 
different cultural expectations: Writing style on mailinglists are 
different from that of web boards (e.g. whether to quote previous part 
in a discussion and how to do so), so bridging those platforms will 
likely upset the users of both.

I personally do not use web boards, as they seem (socially, if not 
technically) optimized for "fly-by" comments: Easy to get involved at 
first which raise the risk of posting before you get a feel for the 
posting style at the place, and at the same time (arguably) less easy to 
stay focused in a conversation.  Obviously a quite biased personal 
judgement, but nevertheless one that might help notice how technically 
similar communication media may socially have different expectations 
rendering them less ideal for bridging.

Specifically for IRC and XMPP I feel there are less of a difference in 
the expectations, which is why I suggest looking into bridging there.  
Sadly I fear it is no easy task to do so technically - else there would 
probably be a bunch of such bridging tools around already.

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

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