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Date:      Mon, 18 Dec 2006 04:04:03 +0200
From:      Giorgos Keramidas <>
Subject:   Re: List Protocol (was: Major Version Upgrade 4.11 to 5.x)
Message-ID:  <20061218020402.GB2552@kobe.laptop>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <> <> <000801c71e50$93fc9750$3c01a8c0@coolf89ea26645> <>

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On 2006-12-12 23:10, wrote:
>At 07:49 PM 12/12/2006, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
>> The reason that questions doesen't require a subscription ought to be
>> obvious to anyone with any experience with FreeBSD.
>> is used as the default contact e-mail address for
>> most non-financial FreeBSD dealings, such as on CD cases,
> NOPE.  Disagree Completely.  You are way out of touch.  Those people
> don't comprehend a "mailing list".  They do "web pages" and "web forums"
> and other clumsy devices.  Put it on if you want it
> easily accessible to such people.

The list *is* mentioned on the web site as the place to ask general FreeBSD
questions, already :-/

As I wrote elsethread, I don't find the style of Ted's post very nice, but
we should definitely find a way to clarify why this list is open.

The freebsd-questions mailing is is not the same as freebsd-hackers, or
freebsd-rc, or other much more technical lists.  It is being used as a
first contact point, both for technical and non-technical people.  Some of
the less technical posters may find subscribing before posting strange or
even completely incomprehensible.  These users will be lost to FreeBSD, if
we start making a subscription mandatory.  t is for the sake of these,
non-technical, users that the list is kept open to posts for anyone.

To the long-time subscribers of the list, letting any random average Joe
User post, seems silly.  This is mostly a result of seeing posts by people
who are not acquainted at all with FreeBSD, who don't even know that
FreeBSD is not a Linux distribution, or any number of other points which
may be irritating for us long-time FreeBSD users.  This is a 'sacrifice'
which is not totally worthless though.  Let me explain why.

Keeping the list is not as silly as it may initially seem to be.  The list
and its openness serve their purpose quite fine, since they lets newcomers
to FreeBSD ask questions with a minimum of hassle, and receive answers
which are very often characterized by the very same aspects which keep
long-time subscribers still posting here:

  * The answers are usually to the point, correct, technically valid,
    complete (even including examples)

  * The answers are from people who are already using FreeBSD, and most of
    the time know their stuff

  * The answers start coming in pretty soon after the initial post (this is
    a side-effect of having subcribers around the globe, from almost all

  * The answers often include pointers to more documentation, to which the
    interested new user may refer for more details

All these are qualities which are not strictly related to the openness of
the list.  When combined with the openness of teh list, though, they form
the nucleus of what initially keeps a lot of new users around.

I know it is what kept *me* around, what kept a lot of the FreeBSD users I
personally know around, and I can only guess, but I'm fairly confident that
the same applies to a huge amount of the people who have posted here during
their first baby-steps with FreeBSD.

- Giorgos

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