Some people always tell me that “mailinglists are so 1990” or something. And
yes, of course, email is an old protocol and everything. But that does not
mean that it is bad.
Here is why I love mailinglists
I get a lot mail. About 1k mails per day, whereas most of them are
mailinglists. Actually, the most of them are from the linux kernel mailinglist
and I automatically drop them into a folder where I do not look at that often.
But when I need to, I can.
But that's not the point of this post, actually. This post is about why I love
mailinglists and think mailinglists are a better way of communication compared
to, for example, the IRC chat.
When writing in IRC, you have to type quickly, depending on how many people
are in the room and talking at this moment. You can hold discussions with
several other people, but as soon as several people talk at the same moment
but about different topics, things get nasty. That's not the case on a mailing
A discussion often starts with a question, a suggestion or maybe an
announcement. Then, people comment on it, the discussion beginns. Because
mails are persistent in a way chats will never be, one can talk his time to
formulate a response. Discussions are seperated in subthreads, which is way
more convenient than talking in IRC, getting from one point to another but
never beeing focused on the discussion as one discussion but a chain of.
Also, on mailing lists one can focus on single points others make in their
statements by quoting them in a really convenient manner. One can remove parts
of the statements of others when replying, which forces everyone to focus on
the actual points and not the stuff around it, which may be relevant, but
often is not. When people talk over a mailinglist, you can read that
afterwards to get a clue what is going on. I often search mailinglists for
solutions of my problems rather than wikis or something, where problems are
generalized and often do not match with my actual problems.
And, of course, if a mailinglist is open, one can post to it without beeing
subscribed, which is really a good thing if you want to solve a problem which
occours once but never again. Example: I try to configure my mail client at
the moment, my offlineimap configuration, actually. I had several issues
(related to eachother, of course), so I posted on the mailinglist for
offlineimap, where people help me. After the problem is solved (it is not by
now...) I will forget this mailinglist again, as I'm not subscribed to it. I
don't care afterwards about offlineimap, because it should just work for me
and that's it.
So, these are my points why mailinglists are a great tool for getting problems
solved, doing discussions and the like. Please note that I do not think the
IRC should be abandoned in favour of mailinglists. I love writing with people
in IRC, too. But for solving problems, mailinglists are way better for me.
tags: #mail #mailinglists #social #irc #chat