On 4/20/06, Bill Guindon <agorilla / gmail.com> wrote:
> [snip] I think the biggest problem is
> that when you view the 'forum' page, there's absolutely no indication
> that the 'forums' are really mailing lists.  It's 'active' versus
> 'passive'.
>
> Most people (rightly so) expect a 'forum' to be passive.  They figure
> that only people who are interested in going there will see it, and
> even then, they won't see the content unless the click the topic.
> They don't expect it to be sent to potentially thousands of people who
> will have it thrust upon them, instead of viewing it by choice in the
> forum.
>
> A disclaimer won't solve the problem, but it can't hurt, and it's a
> simple matter of telling the forum users the truth.  When you post
> here, it will be emailed to hundreds, if not thousands, of readers.
> You might want to think a bit before you hit submit.

Nice observation. I think you might add one more level though:

1. private: A nice cozy forum. Your comments go onto one site, and you
figure that only folks interested in it will click the link to view
your comments. The admins can delete trollish posts, and good stuff
can be set aside, made searchable, ranked, whatever. :)

2. protected: A mailing list. Your comments will be sent to n number
of interested subscribers. Usually, only the list admin knows what n
is.

3. public: A newsgroup. Your comments are instantly and automatically
propagated across usenet, and archived forevermore by Google. There's
no going back.

I see your point about poster's expectations. It's arguably a good
reason to not gateway the ML to the newsgroup.