Mailing lists/Talk discussion

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Introduction

There's recently been a lot of discussion about the state of the "talk" mailing list and what can be done to improve it. Usual rules of wiki discussions apply; please play nice. Some thoughts to kick things off:

  • Now that we have many thriving locale-specific mailing lists, do we need the "central" talk mailing list any more?
  • Would it improve the quality of discussion to reduce the message volume, possibly by splitting the list?
  • Are there any things about the list which could be removed to increase the quality of discussion?
  • Is the Community_Code_of_Conduct_(Draft) ready to be enforced? Would it be helpful to enforce it?

Discussion

Trolls

Basically, the trolls need to be moderated off. We all know that. The list is much cleaner if you auto mark the trolls to spam.

Steve 02:31, 21 October 2010 (BST)

Of course, defining a troll as someone whose opinion differs from yours is not productive for the whole community.
--Drlizau 10:14, 21 October 2010 (BST)
We have plenty of trolls using the normal definitions. I'm not sure who defined a troll in the way you describe as I don't see any mention of it here. It would also be a wholly inappropriate definition and I can't believe anyone would promote it's use. Personally I'd use something like wikipedia's definition:
a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion
--Randomjunk 10:38, 21 October 2010 (BST)

Ban Talk

Close all the mailing lists down and redirect all the users to help.osm.org. People only post to talk because they have an opinion, not because they want to contribute. Systems like 'help' or slashdot are so much more productive because trolls can be voted out with a few clicks.

But I'm sure talk won't be banned, because it's so popular. So the next best thing will be to do what Steve says and ban the trolls. -- Nic 07:46, 21 October 2010 (BST)

I like opinions. Hearing them and making them. They can be good for a project. All these things at certain times. - LastGrape/Gregory 17:49, 24 October 2010 (BST)

Rename talk@

There's nothing wrong with having an "anything goes" mailing list as long as it's made clear that it has no bearing on the rest of the project. talk@ long since stopped making a difference to how OSM is run. It can occasionally be useful as a sounding board (if you heavily filter the replies before drawing any conclusions), but no more than that. I'd suggest renaming talk@ to something that better reflects its status as open-ended discussion where the participants are not representative of the project of the whole: perhaps chat@, backchat@ or freeforall@. --Richard 10:41, 21 October 2010 (BST)

Consensus Gathering

Decisions that affect the community should be discussed in a designated forum, the decision should be made transparently and then documented. OSM is special because many things can happen without the need for centralised decisions but sometimes it is unavoidable. I thought the talk page was the central forum for OSM, and the recent decline in participation is a worrying trend. Improvement or replacement of the list should consider how to improve participation of the OSM community in decision making that directly affects them. --TimSC 08:58, 21 October 2010 (BST) See also [1].

Everyone wants to feel like they've had the chance to hear and be heard, but there's a delicate balancing act between letting everyone know what's going on and overloading people with too much information, or information that they may feel is irrelevant to their interests. Do you have any ideas about how consensus gathering can be done better in practice? --Matt 10:02, 21 October 2010 (BST)
If the OSM community wants to take part in decision making that affects them, they should get involved with that "something". Saying "I want I want I want" (or the traditional equivalent, "OSM should") without offering to help has been scorned in OSM since year one, and rightly so. This is even more true today given the well-documented community problems currently affecting the lists. Even Wikipedia doesn't have a talk@ list which expects to control the project by e-mail consensus among its self-selected subscribers. --Richard 10:41, 21 October 2010 (BST)


Non mailing list readers

It has been suggested before, and I think sometimes even tried, that a weekly summary be made of the mailing list. What are hot topics on the list, and the major sides(sometimes >2) being talked about. This could be done as a blog post, with links to the mentioned threads (so more can be read). The main issue is that it requires someone to have the time to read the list and remember the threads. - LastGrape/Gregory 17:53, 24 October 2010 (BST)