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Why discussions don't move from debian-private

Someone complained about a lengthy off-topic discussion taking place on debian-private, and suggested to move it to a public mailing list.

Russ replied:

* Russ Allbery <rra@debian.org>, 2014-04-16, 11:09:
This sort of message is completely unhelpful, even though I know you're trying to be helpful. I think it's coming out of a misunderstanding of why threads do not move from debian-private once they start here.

What I believe you're missing is that when you harangue individuals in this fashion to send their messages elsewhere, what you're actually asking them to do is to do a substantial amount of work to try to summarize the thread to date so that their message would make sense without all of that context in order to move the thread elsewhere. Most participants in the thread are not going to have either the time or the inclination to attempt to do that. (I feel a great deal of gratitude to the small number of people who have been willing to do that work in the past.)

Therefore, when you repeatedly say things like this, you're not actually helping move the thread in any productive way, even though that's doubtless your intention. Rather, the effect is to get people to stop having the discussion *entirely*. Moving the thread is too much work, continuing the thread results in angry mail saying it shouldn't be on -private, and the easiest thing to do is to just stop talking completely. I made an intentional decision to ignore your previous message and keep talking about it here because I think the conversation is worthwhile and I didn't want to stop the conversation completely. I don't have time to move the thread properly (which would take at least five times as long as writing this message is taking, quite possibly more).

If someone (such as yourself, since you feel strongly about this -- *hint*) wants to move the thread somewhere public, I would be happy to continue it there. You probably feel like you don't have time to do the work to move the thread properly, which is why you resorted to the much easier and faster approach of sending this message here. Please consider that everyone else participating in the thread probably feels the same way you do, and have not moved the thread to a public forum for exactly the same reason that you haven't done so.

Everything here is public, if anyone wants to move *this* discussion to a public forum.


Jakub Wilk

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