Loomio
Wed 14 Nov 2012

Running our own mailing lists?

PP
Petar Petrović Public Seen by 138

I thought it would be a cool idea to have our own, independent Mailman mailing lists somewhere and not to rely on Google Groups.

A lot of people who like Diaspora* are privacy aware and are not comfortable with sharing their email info with Google. I have a spare Linode instance, so I could host those mailing lists, only if anyone is interested in having something like that.

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 14 Nov 2012

Personally I find the Google lists quite ok. The mailing list needs to be public anyway so Google will know about the emails where ever the mailing list is hosted :)

If someone feels strong about this we can always vote on the subject.

PP

Petar Petrović Wed 14 Nov 2012

Yeah, I find Google Groups pretty easy to use when it comes to actual usage. However, if we are independent of Facebook and others in social networking, we should also have our own infrastructure. Just a thought of mine.

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 14 Nov 2012

We don't really have any own infrastructure - code is hosted at Github, dev and community talk at Loomio, various things here and there and most of it probably lives on Amazon servers where many pods also live :)

Of course there could be other better options than Google and those should be considered. But if most people are happy with the Google lists it prob isn't worth changing and making everyone having to subscribe and update all the pages, etc :)

G

goob Wed 14 Nov 2012

There is a Mailman mailing list, which was set up by Yosem last year. It has fallen out of use in the chaos of the first half of this year, but I would like to see it used again. I'd be happy to use it, where I'm not happy to post to Google groups.

https://mailman.stanford.edu/mailman/listinfo/diaspora-grassroots

F

Flaburgan Thu 15 Nov 2012

Mailman is something really easy to deploy and I don't like Google too.

We have to choose looking independence vs productivity

JR

Jason Robinson Thu 15 Nov 2012

I suggest someone does a clear proposal about this (in this discussion). Something like "Use mailman or other self-maintained mailing lists instead of Google groups". I'll vote no so I won't be proposing it either ;)

The problem really is hosting the stuff. Google gives it for free to us. Let us say we host our self-controlled mailing lists on someones own server. What if that person leaves the community? Kind of messy. Google takes out this problem. And all the posts are public anyway so Google will index them wherever they are hosted. But of course we can vote :)

FS

Florian Staudacher Thu 15 Nov 2012

Personally, I have no problem with the mailing lists being hosted on Google, since I am assuming they already know anything about what I (or anybody else) do on the Internet, regardless of whether I give it to them or if they have to crawl for it.
Since [insert what Jason said], it's just more convenient to use Google.

PP

Petar Petrović Thu 15 Nov 2012

There's one thing that annoys me big time. Namely, as far as I have tried, you are unable to subscribe to a mailing list on Google Groups if you don't have a Google account. Since I am running my own mail server, I cannot participate in any mailing list that is hosted on Google. This is a big drawback if you ask me.

Or there IS a way to join a mailing list with a non - Google email address?

FS

Florian Staudacher Thu 15 Nov 2012

unless they changed something, it should be possible, like any old mailing list:
https://github.com/diaspora/diaspora/wiki/How-to-use-the-Mailing-Lists

G

goob Thu 15 Nov 2012

You can subscribe to the mailing list using the method Florian provides (although it's a bit hit-and-miss, took several attempts before I was subscribed). I don't see a way of unsubscribing from the mailing list, however.

Personally I'd much rather drop mailing lists completely in favour of some sort of forum which anyone can join, so that we choose when to see what has been posted. I need to be subscribed to the mailing lists in order to keep informed of anything important, but it is annoying (to me) to keep receiving emails concerning things which I have nothing to do with and which are not of interest or importance to me.

So my vote would be: ditch Google groups and set up a forum instead. There was a good one, diasporaforum.org, but the person who ran that (Ryan Kohles) seems to have been one of the casualties of all the turmoil in D* since the end of last year - he closed the forum and isn't replying to messages. But a similar forum on the diaspora-project site would be perfect. Keep everything in-house where possible is best, so we don't have to sign up with unconnected organisations in order to keep in touch with and discuss D*.

PP

Petar Petrović Thu 15 Nov 2012

Yeah, forums would be great. I have tons of spare web space at my hosting account, so I am willing to donate whichever portion of it to Diaspora forums. Also, I have a spare Linode box where I can host mailing lists if we choose that route.

FS

Florian Staudacher Thu 15 Nov 2012

no, no, no, no, no... :P
forum has been discussed, and 'we' don't want one. it would be another login somewhere that needs to be handled and once they reach a certain size, it just gets messy. Also we'd need people for moderating topics and keep up the regular discussion, nothing worse than a foum where you can hear the crickets chirp. If a mailing list is idle, nobody cares.
Also, all those "features" you get with a forum are really high-degree unnecessary for a normal conversation. I really don't want formatting, avatars or attachments, and if you need threaded display for messages, all the email programs are capable of that.
I also really like the "push" nature of email, as opposed to the "pull" variant of a forum (except when you subscribe to everything that happens in the forum via email, but what's the forum for, then?) I also have email everywhere - on my phone or behind the nasty proxy at work, and I really like when I can respond without a flashy html website or even without the need for a separate app for my phone.
Sure, it's a higher entry barrier for newcomers, but in software-related communities mailing lists are very common and new users might as well get used to that. Also, since our webinterface is google groups, we get the excellent google serach for all the messages - and those people who would post-without-searching are always there, regardless of whether you have a forum or a mailing list.

PP

Petar Petrović Thu 15 Nov 2012

We could install something lightweight, such as PunBB. You don't have private messaging, you don't have polls (though we could use that, there's a plugin anyway), you don't have avatars, just plan simple forum. As for the login, you need to login here on Loomio either, so that's not really an issue.

JR

Jason Robinson Thu 15 Nov 2012

A strong no from me as well for eliminating mailing lists in favour of a forum. We already have a forum type of area - here on Loomio. A forum for users to talk is different of course and anyone can set one up as they see fit - but officially I wouldn't want one.

PP

Pirate Praveen Fri 16 Nov 2012

I like https://onlinegroups.net/ as a google groups replacement as they have nice web interface for archives (this is something I really miss in mailman, spoiled by gmail's conversations feature) and allows posting from web interface etc. But they became a paid service, but it is Free Software, so we could setup in our own server, if we go that route. I would also like us not to rely on google (they already know so much about me). Also 'no' to forum replacing a mailing list.

JR

Jason Robinson Fri 16 Nov 2012

Just out of interest, what is the argument that Google knows already enough concerning these mailing lists since they are (and need to be) public so all the posts will be public and indexed by Google? :)

I understand people do not trust Google with their data - but in this case it's not your or anyones data - these messages are public messages and frankly the higher Google ranks the messages from the lists the better for Diaspora* :)

PP

Petar Petrović Sat 17 Nov 2012

@Jason You are totally right, but there's a small problem: I cannot use the mailing lists that are hosted on Google without a Google account. I have an ordinary email address and my own email server, and they changed their Groups so that they can be used only with a Google account and Google - associated email address, either Gmail or Google Apps email.

That's kind of limiting in many ways, and I am sure there are a lot of people with ordinary, non - Google email addresses who would like to participate. That's why I am for a lightweight forum, you can view and participate the messages regardless of what email you're using.

JR

Jason Robinson Sat 17 Nov 2012

@Petar is that really so? I'm doing a little test, I created an account jaywink@gmx.com and subscribed by sending an email to: diaspora-discuss+subscribe@googlegroups.com (according to these instructions: http://koansys.com/tech/subscribe-to-google-groups-with-non-google-address)

Unfortunately it seems that new member first email is moderated for this list at least - can we remove this or is spam really a big problem? It seems only the original founders of Diaspora inc are owners, so at least the ownership base should be increased.

Anyway, once Maxwell approves the email we will see if it comes through and then I will test the unsubscribe.

If this works we could add these instructions to the wiki for non-Google account users and hopefully that would make things a bit better?

JH

Jonne Haß Sat 17 Nov 2012

I've mod rights to the lists and yes, spam is really such a big problem.

JR

Jason Robinson Sat 17 Nov 2012

So message arrived as anyone who is subscribed to diaspora-discuss noticed and now I just sent a message to "diaspora-discuss+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com" and instantly got a successfully unsubscribed confirmation. So I do not see any problems with using non-Google emails on our lists. But need to add this information to the wiki, I can take an action point for this.

Btw, I think we should also create a wiki page under community listing who owns and has rights to official Diaspora* resources. I can also take an action point for this.

C

Christophe Sun 18 Nov 2012

I don't see any benefit from leaving Google Groups. I'm using it without a Google account, there's no privacy problem with public mailing lists anyway. I suggest we focus on Diaspora's issues instead of creating new problems.

B

Bry8Star Wed 21 Nov 2012

My current understanding is, Google has become point of various types of surveillance hotspot in various areas/services. So my opinion/suggestion is to avoid Google, so that users, contributors can post with free mind. And i think Free mind develops better things and do better discussion. -- Bry8Star (Bright Star).

FS

Florian Staudacher Wed 21 Nov 2012

so, this is going into the direction of an ideological boycott rather than being out of necessity or convenience (or other actual or perceived benefits)...

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Nov 2012

As said before, if someone feels we should dump the Google mailing lists (for ideological reasons, no functionality is gained) - please make a proposal and we will vote :)

Personally I think we have more important things to do. And I also think the Google lists are the best for us functionally. No ones privacy is at stake since we need public lists.

F

Flaburgan started a proposal Wed 21 Nov 2012

Run our own mailing list to avoid Google dependancy Closed Thu 13 Dec 2012

Advantages to keep Google :
- Nothing to manage
- Already in place
- Good availability
- Interaction with user using a G account

Advantages to run our own mailing list :
- Privacy issue with Google (everything posted on a G service is owned by Google, they can publish a book called "all the secrets of the Diaspora project" if they want :p) (I know the mailing list is already public, but they have the possession of our discussions, it's not to us anymore.)
- No Term of Service anymore
- Really easy to deploy
- We don't depend of Google, which means they can't cut the service or say "it's not free anymore"

Results
Agree - 12
Abstain - 12
Disagree - 12
Block - 12
32 people have voted (11%)
F

Flaburgan
Agree
Wed 21 Nov 2012

I prefer avoid Google if we can do it easily, and this is the case with the mailing list. Moreover, a lot of people didn't subscribe to the ML because of Google.

DU

[deactivated account]
Agree
Wed 21 Nov 2012

if you can avoid google, do so. purely ideological. drawback: google will index everything anyways.

TS

Tom Scott
Block
Wed 21 Nov 2012

What problem are we trying to solve here? I'm with Christophe, lets focus on the real problems instead of trying to create new ones.

JR

Jason Robinson
Disagree
Wed 21 Nov 2012

Strong no. We have working Google lists that are zero maintenance and available without a Google account. Let's keep something that works instead of changing things for no reason.

PP

Petar Petrović
Agree
Wed 21 Nov 2012

N

noformnocontent
Agree
Wed 21 Nov 2012

FREEDOM!

R

Roger Wed 21 Nov 2012

Just catching up on the discussion because I don't log in regularly to Loomio and only just received an alert about this discussion. I have read previous comments.

A couple of silly questions first: what is this list for? I joined long time ago the mailman list that Yosem set up but later unsubscribed. (I'm not a member of the Google Group). Second silly question: would it not be possible to use Diaspora itself e.g. a specific tag or Loomio? I just feel like we all have enough accounts, logins, etc.

In any case, I tend to think that though it would be preferable not to use Google, it seems to me not the best way to spend energy and resources. I have to admit though that I don't know how easy or difficult is to set up something new.

F

Flaburgan Wed 21 Nov 2012

@Roger a mailman list can be set in less than an hour.

JH

Jonne Haß
Disagree
Wed 21 Nov 2012

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Nov 2012

Flaburgan, you probably should count the hours maintaining it - never mind upgrading it for security holes etc.. Running your own software is never "just one hour".

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Nov 2012

Plus if we had our own we need to make sure the server is some common D* server - hosting the lists on some users personal server is definitely not ok imho

PP

Pirate Praveen
Agree
Wed 21 Nov 2012

I have no objections if someone volunteers to maintain it. One point people missed here is, google groups is a non-free service, probably we may be happy with the service they currently give, but how about if we need a new feature?

PP

Pirate Praveen Wed 21 Nov 2012

If managing it ourselves is a concern, I suggest we use resources managed by other collectives like Rise Up https://help.riseup.net/en/lists (loom.io is another example, where we are using a service hosted by another collective, where we have a better chance of influencing and even volunteering if required).

PP

Pirate Praveen Wed 21 Nov 2012

@Christophe Governance is an important issue for any community and that includes how we manage our resources. Also for a community like ours privacy is not the only factor. Software Freedom is an important factor and this has been considered in most of the decisions about the tools we use to manage our community (github is another discussion). So if you want me to state the problem we are trying to address, I would say "we are depending on a non-free software to run our mailing list."

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Nov 2012

Praveen you are forgetting that not everybody who participates in Diaspora* has a problem with using non-free software - that assumption can not be made automatically just because Diaspora* itself is open source.

Let's keep politics and ideology out of this and concentrate on making great software.

PP

Pirate Praveen Wed 21 Nov 2012

Jason, I don't agree. It is the ideology and politics that drives many of us to contribute. So we cannot keep ideology and politics aside. What else is the motivation to give our time and effort? If we are getting paid for our work, we may tell money is a motivation. At least for me the ideology and politics is what motivate me to contribute. And for people who are not driven by ideology, if we can provide the same service with a free software replacement, would they object?

F

Flaburgan Wed 21 Nov 2012

I agree with Jason when he says that we have more important things to do. But I know too that our main goal right now is to reach more developers. A lot of persons who are interested by Diaspora are privacy aware, and I really think we are loosing people using a Google Service. I really hesitated before subscribe to the mailing because of Google.

If we want to reach the people who is afraid of Google, two solutions : we run our own mailing list, or we use other services.

Finally, maybe Diaspora + Loomio + Githug is enough, what do you think ? We are not using a lot the mailing list after all...

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Nov 2012

Praveen, different people are motivated by different things. For me putting time in to Diaspora* is not ideological (about free software) - I just want to participate in some kick ass cool open source social networking software. You should not automatically assume open source = free software movement.

The trouble with ideologies is that they always harm the normal people when taken to extremes. I personally don't really identify myself with the free software movement because sometimes it's a bit extreme and forgets usability ;)

But hey, this is why we have voting :)

FS

Florian Staudacher
Disagree
Wed 21 Nov 2012

RS-

Robin Stent - Outreach
Agree
Wed 21 Nov 2012

RS-

Robin Stent - Outreach Wed 21 Nov 2012

If you like you could use the forum I've set up:
http://fora.org.uk/diaspora

I run the site and am happy to add others as moderators, and add functionality if needed. Its ad-free and running SMF. If people like emails they can use 'notify' function.

RS-

Robin Stent - Outreach Wed 21 Nov 2012

Also personally I find the google groups ui annoying to use

B

Burridan
Abstain
Wed 21 Nov 2012

C

Christophe
Disagree
Wed 21 Nov 2012

Wow, instead of Google would run the lists. It's not easy to set up, hundreds of people need to switch. I could go on...

C

Christophe
Disagree
Wed 21 Nov 2012

Wow, instead of Google random person would run the lists. It's not easy to set up, hundreds of people need to switch. I could go on...

RF

Rasmus Fuhse
Abstain
Wed 21 Nov 2012

If someone wants to spend time in it, do it, but let's stop discussing this topic. I don't think that google is the Dr. Evil of all time, but I wouldn't mind if someone makes a new mailing list. Rock on!

DM

David McMullin
Abstain
Wed 21 Nov 2012

G

goob Wed 21 Nov 2012

Hi Florian, and thanks for your reply. I should have made clear that I was talking about the diaspora-discuss mailing list, and not the diaspora-dev mailing list. I wasn't saying that there should not be any mailing lists used for discussion around Diaspora, and I realise that among software developers, mailing lists are popular, so it's right that a mailing list is used for discussion of development.

I remember the issue of using mailing lists (and Google groups in particular) versus a forum was discussed, and 'We1' said 'we don't want one', while 'We2' said 'we want one'. There was no clear majority at the time, but the founders decided to use Google groups, partly for a legal reason, because they were setting up a foundation, and this required that they control any discussion group which was used, and they couldn't be bothered to set up their own. (Sarah Mei explained this to me on one of her blog posts, but I can't now find it.)

I think for general discussion and help (recent posts to diaspora-discuss have almost all been requests for help from someone about a particular issue), a forum is better. For one thing, it can be divided up into sections for 'welcome', bug reports, help with setting up pods, and so on. This is more efficient than one mailing list in which any time anyone posts any comment about any area of Diaspora, everyone on the mailing list gets notification of this, even if they have no involvement in that area.

Discussion about 'live' development issues can remain on a mailing list if the devs prefer that (which, it seems clear, they do). The diaspora-discuss list can remain too, as long as it's not necessary for community members to subscribe to it in order to keep in touch with what is going on, because a significant number of people have reservations about using Google's services. (And it does strike me as odd that a FOSS project would use Google, which is kind of anti-freedom. But I realise we all have our individual perspectives.)

There are still the mailman mailing lists (diaspora-grassroots and diaspora-privacy) hosted by Stamford University, which could be used as alternatives.

I do think that wherever possible, methods of discussing Diaspora should be hosted on or by Diaspora, rather than using third-party fora. Sometimes of course, this is not possible, as with Loomio, which is specialised software which provides facilities not provided by free 'out-of-the-box' things such as forum or mailing list software.

As to a wish to avoid Google's services being an 'ideological boycott rather than being out of necessity or convenience (or other actual or perceived benefits)', I would say that it is not ideological in my case, it's about the necessity to avoid giving away personal data about me to companies which make their money by using those data for commercial gain, and the convenience of not having my data used by such companies, and the perceived benefits of remaining free from that sort of intrusion into my life. I realise Google already know far more about me than I'm happy with, but saying that I might as well keep using them is a bit like saying 'this person has stolen all my earning up til now, so I might as well give them all my future earnings'. So yes, ideological up to a point, but only as far as it impacts on my pragmatically. I came to Diaspora to get away from such intrusion and selling of my data, and I don't like the fact that I'm expected to allow this intrusion and selling to continue in order to help develop the project.

And using Google does mean a new login, if like me you feel the need to set up a one-time email address in order to subscribe.

OK, lots of points. The main ones are:
- I think it would be good to have a forum, hosted by Diaspora (for instance, on the diaspora-project.org site) either in addition to or as a replacement of the diaspora-discuss mailing list. I do think a forum has benefits which a mailing list doesn't, and as things get busier (now that we've got proper stable versions, hopefully more people will be attracted to join Diaspora and more people will want to set up pods) this would be a helpful thing to have for specific help and general discussion.
- It would be preferential, I think, for a project of the size and nature of Diaspora to host discussion fora itself rather than using third-party fora such as Google groups. Particularly as the project is founded on the principle of privacy and security of user data, it seems a bit upside-down to then use a forum hosted by Google, which is founded on the principle of harvesting and 'monetising' user data.

G

goob Wed 21 Nov 2012

Sorry that was so long. There's a tl;dr thing at the end.

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Nov 2012

Goob, Google Groups does NOT need a Google account. I tested it - read some posts down :)

G

goob Wed 21 Nov 2012

Jason, you're still giving Google information by subscribing to Google groups even if you don't use a Google account. Eg, they now know one of your email addresses (unless you create a one-time address) and can link that address to anything you post to the group.

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Nov 2012

Goob, well it's not like Google will not index the public list contents anyway ;) And that is good, because it makes sure people using search can find discussion on Diaspora*.

Anyway, personal preference, let's see how the majority decides..

G

goob Wed 21 Nov 2012

Indeed, but I have no problem with that - I could call myself anything I liked, and they would only be able to index that along with my comments - not any identifiable data such as an email address, IP address from which I posted the comments, and so on, which they can do if I'm using one of their mailing lists.

G

goob
Agree
Wed 21 Nov 2012

G

goob Wed 21 Nov 2012

Wouldn't let me add a comment to my vote. Here's my comment:

I'd prefer us not to use Google, or 3rd-party fora in general, wherever possible.

My vote is for:
1. hosting our own discussions where possible
2. where we can't host our own discussions, using FOSS projects where possible (eg Loomio)

But not if these preferences are going to be at the cost of development. Devlopment of the software, documentation and community must be first priority.

JR

Jason Robinson Wed 21 Nov 2012

Goob whatever way or list you send emails to the same info can be traced - by me or Google. This decision by people who fail to understand this made out of fear, not knowledge.

RS-

Robin Stent - Outreach Wed 21 Nov 2012

As Goob suggests I think it would be a brilliant idea for the Diaspora project site to have a general purpose forum. I set up the forum I've linked to because I thought that a forum was something that was missing from the D community after the demise of diasporaforum.org. Whichever site its part of I think a forum is by far the best format for a lot of the kind of posts that have been going on diaspora-discuss. Joe public understand how to use forums, not so much google groups and other mailing lists.

RS-

Robin Stent - Outreach Wed 21 Nov 2012

Does anyone know who was running diasporaforum.org? Maybe it would be an idea to try and get use of the domain.

G

goob Wed 21 Nov 2012

It was Ryan Kohles, Robin. I've tried contacting him a couple of times, but to no avail.

Jason, sorry, was getting muddled with mailing lists and fora - you're right, another reason why I don't like mailing lists.

B

Bry8Star Thu 22 Nov 2012

(please do not take take my simple opinion/suggestion seriously, as i obviously don't understand many areas with enough depth) ... a mailing list should exist under Diaspora's own domain, or, a 3rd party who can be trusted, who honors & respects users Privacy/Comments/Speech, it should not be hosted somewhere, where unwanted person/entity can jump on a posting for censoring/deleting (or doing unethical queries on) it. Control should remain under mailing-list maintainer / diaspora.

I have seen posting got deleted (and partially edited) because poster showing facts on Google (& other company) doing this/that unethically (with News url links), and also showed such act can be overcome/bypass/circumvent, and what alternatives are there, etc ... but there are too many google type of entity lovers, they will not like definitely and will take unethical steps, or will accept reduced services/benefits.

If an user/group of users, receiving a benefit/service from someone-else/another-group/another-entity/3rd-party, that does not give that/those 3rd-party/parties any right to harm/oppress an user/group of users, neither this/these 3rd-party/parties has any right to massup or play or censor or surveillance etc. All must/should honor all reasonable laws of the land/scope/area, that majority approves of, which in the long run bring benefits for those who follows such law. (That does not mean i'm saying i support laws which were made over unethical lobbying/force, for favoring few/own groups).

A publicly accessible mailing list/forum reflects the minds, depths of it's posters. If you dont like a post/comment, then you must post that you oppose it, or you must post that you disagree with it or post your own opinion and post appropriate & truthful facts. But deleting/editing speech... And please do not go on posting only one side of the story, read more on it from various sources, then discuss.

( Certain amount of ethical surveillance is ok if absolutely necessary, but in extreme amount with massive expenses while fundamental needs are not appropriately served first, definitely not right. Or to do biased profiling & go after specific user's detail/more info or revealing chain of related info, or, to censor/edit/delete facts/discussion/opinion ... are very unproductive, destruction of freedom, and ..., and causes various bad repercussions. we need to be more smart/intelligent/etc about handling such ).

There are various alternative mailing list service provider(s) for open-source developers, many of which does not act/react like Google type of entity.
But i will recommend Dispora's own mailing list, definitely.

If diaspora to cater users who care about Privacy, Freedom of speech, etc then you/we should reflect that on our services/action/talks. Please do not act with double/multi-standard.

a mailing list / mailing discussion forum/media should not avoid at all, non-google mail holders.

please make sure mailing list software/service-provider supports/allows users to use GPG protected/authenticated accurate communication.

Many of the other internet sites already showing Diaspora respects users Privacy, etc ... if those are not the case, then you should request them to edit/change those with your new slogans/dialogues/ideology.

Sorry for too long posting. just was reading/writing. trying to add my understanding. pls discard/dis-regard where invalid.
-- Bry8Star

BB

Brent Bartlett
Disagree
Thu 22 Nov 2012

Haven't seen any good arguments for it, and there are several good arguments against it. Also, there are much more important things to deal with. This seems like a nitpick.

B

Bry8Star
Agree
Thu 22 Nov 2012

Please run Diaspora's own mailing list, from diaspora maintainer controlled & owned domain-name. Such should stop 3rd-parties from unethically censoring/oppressing contents + you can add further custom privacy related settings & feats. Thanks.

BB

Brent Bartlett Thu 22 Nov 2012

I don't see what the big deal is about Google. They have done a few things I don't agree with, but for the most part they rock, and play a very important role for keeping the Internet open and free. (One of the few large corporations to do so.)

Moreover, I think that we have much bigger issues on our plate, such as keeping the project going, and growing the user base. I don't know if you've heard, but there's still a lot of folks out there who think that the project is dead (or on life support). If we're going to debate something like this, we should do it when we're in a more stable position.

RF

Rasmus Fuhse Thu 22 Nov 2012

There is something I don't understand.
Here are some guys who want to discuss in a forum and not on a mailing-list. And Robin Stent has even set up a new forum, which is a nice gesture. But why do you think that loom.io and especially this discussion here is no forum at all? We're already in a forum. What is wrong with loom.io in your eyes and why should we move from loom.io to yet another forum?

Another reasonable point is: at my usual FOSS-project Stud.IP we're proud of having our developer-discussions being run on our own software. It would be a shame if we needed another software than our own in order to communicate. Since Diaspora* is also a communication-plattform, we should probably find a way to communicate within Diaspora with our own diaspora-users. If we're not able to communicate freely on a high level in Diaspora* than our software needs features that allow us to do so.

JR

Jason Robinson Thu 22 Nov 2012

A forum has a lot of overlapping functionality to Diaspora* itself - but mailing lists and Diaspora* do not really overlap imho. Especially the dev mailing list I see as important - some things are not just good for discussing in a social media environment where it is very easy to miss posts. A low volume mailing list is easy to follow - and also allows people who are not using Diaspora* but are interested in the developments in it to subscribe.

The diaspora-discuss list has been very quiet, I'd say probably because people are discussing Diaspora* on Diaspora* - which makes absolute sense. So should we move discussion off Diaspora* to a forum? I'd say no - why should we?

Of course if someone wants to run a forum and people want to use it - by all means no one is stopping you ;) But for making a forum an "official tool" it would really require discussion on the whether we want to encourage discussion outside of DIaspora* itself or maybe just try to improve DIaspora* to handle forum functionality too.

RS-

Robin Stent - Outreach Thu 22 Nov 2012

Rasmus I totally agree that any organisation should use their own "product" and I think once the groups function is developed that will be a realistic proposition.

SH

Steven Hancock Thu 22 Nov 2012

One thing I like about Google Groups is the choice of how you interact with a mailing list. You can use email only, web interface only or both. While I don't keep up on developments in FOSS mailing list software, I haven't personally seen anything else that does that. I personally prefer not to interact with a mailing list by email, my inbox is full enough as it is.

Is there any FOSS mailing list software that offers a web interface similar to the (old or new.. preferably old) Google Groups interface? If so, and if it's easy to install and maintain (and secure.. don't want it hijacked by spammers lol) I'd vote to switch to that.. but it looks like I have a little time before this one closes. :)

RF

Rasmus Fuhse Thu 22 Nov 2012

Why do you need groups for developer-discussions, Robin? Wouldn't a hashtag like #diaspora_dev also do?

What loom.io has and Diaspora has not is polls, which is actually a very nice feature. And here we can search for older threads much better.

JR

Jason Robinson Thu 22 Nov 2012

Rasmus, posts in Diaspora* are easy to miss and due to the nature of Diaspora* federation - not everyone will get the post. It just doesn't work well enough for this use case.

Email is a "just works" medium and good for communicating stuff.

M

matl Thu 22 Nov 2012

which software is needed to realize a mailinglist on an own server and how big are the needed ressources ?

G

goob Thu 22 Nov 2012

But why do you think that loom.io and especially this discussion here is no forum at all? We're already in a forum. What is wrong with loom.io in your eyes and why should we move from loom.io to yet another forum?

Loomio is for proposals and voting, discussion about how to move forward with development of Diaspora software, documentation, etc. It's a kind of 'steering committee' (although anyone is welcome to take part). It's not appropriate for help requests, general discussion and so on. A forum with separate sections would (I think) be the best place for such discussion, at least until federation is truly sorted out.

Of course, once the Diaspora network is developed to the point where such discussions can be carried out reliably and easily using hashtags on Diaspora, we may not need an external forum any longer.

PP

Petar Petrović Thu 22 Nov 2012

As I said earlier, we can install somewhere something extremely lightweight, like PunBB and get a functional forum. After all, all big open source projects have a forum. And for a good reason.

M

matl
Abstain
Thu 22 Nov 2012

M

matl
Agree
Thu 22 Nov 2012

Yes, because I don't like Google.

T

tortoise
Agree
Thu 22 Nov 2012

If Diaspora is privacy aware, how can that happen if you require people to give an ID at the door if they want to contribute to the project. To me, Googlelists filters people out. D* is a private club feigning open source, it is not open source.

ST

Sean Tilley Thu 22 Nov 2012

Adding a forum to the new project site is definitely doable. If enough people really want it, I can add the feature in.

DS

Dennis Schubert
Disagree
Thu 22 Nov 2012

PP

Pirate Praveen Fri 23 Nov 2012

Steven,

Group Server has matching functionality as that of google groups http://groupserver.org/ we were hosting diaspune list on their free service https://diaspune.onlinegroups.net/ They have become a paid service, but the software is Free.

JR

Jason Robinson Fri 23 Nov 2012

If we do dump Google groups I would like something like Group Server as written by Praveen. Then we only downgrade our mailinglists a little bit.

If this proposal passes we should decide on a suitable mailing list engine somehow, maybe a follow up proposal.

(I still think this is totally unnecessary though :))

JR

Jason Robinson Fri 23 Nov 2012

The reason I say it is totally unnecessary is that our mailing lists are very low volume and having to install and upkeep some software for those is just plain overkill. Let Google pay for our mailing lists if you hate them so much :D

C

Christophe Fri 23 Nov 2012

A forum is a good idea when it comes to end users, for example the Ubuntu forums. But I think we should try to use Diaspora itself for that.

A forum is not a good tool for project coordination. Given the lack of people actually doing something, there isn't much to be coordinated anyway.

G

goob Fri 23 Nov 2012

It looks to me (which I didn't express clearly at the start) as though the best thing to do would be to retain a mailing list for developers, as this seems to be a means of discussion and notification with which developers are comfortable, and to set up a forum (preferably on diaspora-project.org) for end user discussions, help with setting up pods, all that type of stuff. As the project grows, and more users sign up, and more people set up pods, I'd expect there to be an exponential growth in need for such a forum, and it would be good if we had one ready and (preferably) self-hosted.

Whether the diaspora-dev mailing list remains on Google groups or moves to another platform would then seem best to be left in the hands of those devs who use it, and the balance of them seems to be to leave things as they are.

I'd suggest open a general help/discussion forum, and closing diaspora-discuss mailing list. Do we need a separate vote for that? Obviously, moderators would be needed for the forum.

G

goob Fri 23 Nov 2012

Christophe, at the moment we're using Loomio for project co-ordination, and Github for development co-ordination. This vote is only about the mailing lists, not about shutting down everything in favour of a forum. Don't worry.

T

twain
Abstain
Fri 23 Nov 2012

SH

Steven Hancock Sat 24 Nov 2012

@Praveen Group Server looks like exactly what I had in mind, thanks.

@madamephilo Using Google Groups means it's not opensource? Just based on the Google Groups I'm a member of, by that standard, the following projects are not opensource:

  • Rails
  • Ruby
  • JRuby
  • jQuery
  • CarrierWave
  • Capybara
  • Cucumber
  • RSpec
  • Compass
  • Devise
  • Bootstrap CSS framework
  • And many more (I'm not going to list them all, the examples above are good enough).

Literally all of those projects meet every definition of Free Software and/or OpenSource, Matz (the creator of the Ruby language) even go an award from the Free Software Foundation for his contributions to Free/Open Source software.. but they all use Google Groups for their mailing lists. :)

SH

Steven Hancock
Abstain
Sat 24 Nov 2012

I wouldn't want to lose the web interface.. so I'd be happy with either sticking with Google Groups or switching to Group Server (mentioned by @Praveen).

PP

Petar Petrović Tue 27 Nov 2012

Today I wanted to post a new thread on diaspora-discuss mailing list without a Google account. So I wrote the message and sent it to diaspora-discuss@googlegroups.com but the message didn't appear on the list.

So much for using non - Google email address for posting to a mailing list.

JR

Jason Robinson Tue 27 Nov 2012

@petarpetrović , you need to subscribe to the list first - the same way as for any other mailing list :) Also the first message after your subscription message is sent will have a little delay due to spam control.

It works - I tested it - scroll down some messages below...

PP

Petar Petrović Tue 27 Nov 2012

Well, I've registered previously. OK, waiting for the message to appear...

F

Flaburgan Tue 27 Nov 2012

So guys, it seems that we are divides on this point. As we have a lot more urgent things to do, I propose this :
If someone takes the entire responsibility of new mailing list, that means creation, migration and administration (including spam management, a task to do everyday), it is okay to switch, but else, devs have more important things to do than setting up a tool which already exists and works well.

(I repeat, I am for leaving Google because I think that people can refuse to subscribe because this is Google, but I have no time to run a mailing list. If someone want to do it correctly, he is welcome :) )

PP

Petar Petrović Tue 27 Nov 2012

I have a Linode VPS with Debian 6 on it, and I am willing to dedicate my time and energy into running mailing lists. I will only need a domain for it, obviously. :-)

JR

Jason Robinson Tue 27 Nov 2012

@petarpetrović would you run Group Server? Really wouldn't want to lose the nice web UI..

The thing that I think is funny about people not trusting Google is that the same people are readily going to trust a single individual instead. At least there are rules on how a corporation can use your data (and some actually follow those rules), but if an individual sells your data it's not even illegal ;)

Just a generic comment ;)

JR

Jason Robinson Tue 27 Nov 2012

As for domain - whoever would run the list I think we can use something like lists.diaspora-project.org ... @seantilley-communitymanager ?

PP

Petar Petrović Tue 27 Nov 2012

@jasonrobinson Well, I can send you the photocopy of my passport if that is your concern, then you can sue me if I sell your data. :-P

Ontopic, yes, I can set up anything you like, GroupServer, Mailman, whatever the community decides.

JH

Jonne Haß Tue 27 Nov 2012

@petarpetrović sorry, your message was in the mod queue, didn't had a chance to check it until now.