Dave Thomas wrote:
>
> <snipped points against the email>
>
> What do people think about this? People who've subscribed to the
> mailing list already get a subscription mail, and expect to get a
> decent volume of posts over mail. People posting to comp.lang.ruby
> don't.
> 

But they don't expect someone to be mechanically monitoring their 
every move ;-)

I mean, you had to determine it was their first post, right?
(Which will be unreliable, just based on Aleksi's experience.)
And I think the point about de-spammed emails is serious.

> One of the ideas of the mail was to be a kind of mini-FAQ: a set of
> useful links. I'd hoped this would be considered a service, rather
> than an annoyance. Did I misjudge this?
>

Given that you send it to selected people, some might feel they
are being picked on (and they are ;-)

Also, when I went to the survey, I got the unwelcome feeling of
a commercial intrusion - even though I know it isn't.

I think this would give a bad impression on Ruby.

Particularly in #2 (How did you hear about Ruby?), the fact that 
specific sources are named is what makes me feel that way.
The checkboxes also contribute to the feeling.
(Perhaps I have taken too many commercial surveys)

You could back off by just leaving a blank text area.

I also started wondering who was behind this, what are they
going to do with the data, etc. 

So, if I get those feelings - even though I know in fact you 
have the utmost good intentions - what are other people going
to think?  It will perhaps be mixed between the positive and negative.


> If the mail is considered a bad idea, we can add the link to the
> newsgroup FAQ, but how many people will follow it.
> 

I think a good solution to this issue is to post a general welcome
every so often (like the FAQ Conrad posts) which includes the survey 
questions at the end, in an open-ended format. Ruby newbies can 
*voluntarily* reply to this email with their answers, just as if they were 
replying to any other email.  More experienced people would either delete
the message or reply again with any new experiences. 

I think this route, or some form of it, would be more low-key and less intrusive-looking.

At the same time, if you did this as something *sponsored by* Rubycentral.com,
and made the results openly available in some kind of results page, then I think
using the web-based form would be more understandable/acceptable.


Guy N. Hurst

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