[ntp:questions] Threading test

Brad Knowles brad at stop.mail-abuse.org
Sat Mar 19 14:51:17 UTC 2005

At 11:25 AM +0000 2005-03-19, Per Hedeland wrote:

>  I don't know if 1) is due to their already having the prefix-stripping
>  in, or due to not putting in a prefix on the mailing list side in the
>  first place, but either would do the job.

	I don't know whether the list is configured to have a subject 
prefix, but I can assure you that python.org is not yet running 
Mailman 2.1.6.  This is one of the big things we're waiting on Barry 
to do, because a number of the features in this version came from me 
and the other site or list administrators for python.org, and we 
really want to make our lives a lot easier.

	But an upgrade of this scale on a server this sensitive needs to 
be done very carefully by someone who understands the system and the 
code much better than I do.

	I'll do the upgrade on ntp.isc.org without hesitation, once 2.1.6 
is released and tested in production elsewhere, because I know we 
haven't done anything particularly unusual in our configuration.  But 
as hacked-up as the machine is for python.org, I'm not willing to 
take that same risk there.

>                                             2) isn't something that can be
>  "fixed" of course, but I think it's clear that the high proportion here
>  is mainly due to several of the "regulars" using the mailing list (hint,
>  hint:-).

	I think you have to ask yourself what the other "draws" to USENET 
are or could be, which might be sufficient to get the traffic pattern 
shifted to something more to your liking.  Then ask yourself how much 
effort would be involved to promote those advantages, or otherwise 
attract more people to the other side of the interface.

	One of the huge draws of using the e-mail interface is that you 
can subscribe to the list, submit a question, and then have the 
responses sent back to you by e-mail.  This is a push mechanism, and 
you don't have to go out and periodically check the newsgroup to see 
if anyone has posted an answer -- as soon as an answer has been 
posted, you'll be notified.

	Of course, there are people who have unified news/mail clients, 
and for them it doesn't really appear any different whether the 
answer comes in via mail or news.  That is, until they go on vacation 
and they're away from their desk for a while, and the old articles 
might be purged from their local news server.

	Then there are people who check their e-mail via a number of 
different devices (including handheld PCs or Blackberry phones), 
where USENET news clients are very thin on the ground if they exist 
at all.  I've been doing some searching, and I have yet to find a 
single USENET news client for PalmOS or Blackberry.

	I think the better long-term solution, which benefits the 
Internet community as a whole, is to fix the Mailman USENET news 
gateway code so that it solves all the problems you've identified, 
but does so in a way that also avoids re-opening vulnerability to 
issues that have been previously addressed.

	I'm working on finding out how various other news-to-mail 
gateways work, and how they handle these specific issues, but this 
effort is unlikely to result in any code getting fixed any time soon. 
It's going to be a long slow slog through the projects and their code 
to extract their algorithms and compare them to what we have, and 
then make suggestions which can be considered and coded for by people 
like Tokio or Barry in their spare time.

Brad Knowles, <brad at stop.mail-abuse.org>

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little
temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

     -- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), reply of the Pennsylvania
     Assembly to the Governor, November 11, 1755

   SAGE member since 1995.  See <http://www.sage.org/> for more info.

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