[llvm-dev] [cfe-dev] Mailing List Status Update

Renato Golin via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Thu Jun 24 04:43:46 PDT 2021

On Thu, 24 Jun 2021 at 12:19, Aaron Ballman <aaron at aaronballman.com> wrote:

> (Telling users to ask on the
> mailing lists if no one has an answer on IRC has been the status quo
> since I joined the community, so this isn't a new practice.)

And vice versa. Precisely.

I'd also like to point out the thread about reviews on Phabricator.

For a while we've been using both list and Phab, moving to Phab more and
more, but there was enough concerns that people were still doing reviews on
the list for different purposes that Phab was unable to cater.

I don't want to mix the issues, but we need to be careful on how we move,
why we move and where we go.

Phab was an experiment, which given time, ended up adopted by the majority
of the community. There was no huge fraction because the adoption was

Discourse and Discord are experiments, but the same adoption isn't
happening. MLIR uses it because MLIR was an external community to begin
with, this is not the same thing.

I may be wrong, but if feels to me as if part of the community is "pushing"
to move away from emails and IRC, instead of letting people move naturally.

My view is that IRC vs. Discord isn't as special as email vs. Discourse.

Ad-hoc communication can happen anywhere and the more the merrier. IRC
channels can have a Discord link on the header, and vice versa, so people
can choose their favourite channels. If people aren't on one, they're on
the other, and eventually you find the person you're looking for.

Structured communication is very much different. It needs to be in a
central place, it needs to have all the info and it needs to be easy to
search. Both email and Discourse (one way or another) have that.

I have seen evidence from both sides saying they cope well with most
problems. I have also seen counter-evidence from "one side", of things they
don't like "on the other side", which is technically irrelevant in this

I have no strong opinion on email vs. Discourse. I don't like either of
them. I personally find harder to use Discourse (as I have been, in MLIR),
but I'll probably adapt. I dislike IRC, but I hate platforms like Discord
(and Slack, and WhatsApp), but that's just about my own limitations.

In the end, using Discord or not is largely irrelevant. We can have any
number of ad-hoc solution if we make sure they all have pointers to all
others and the structured communication source.

But between email and Discourse, we should pick one and only one. If we
move to Discourse, we'll probably need to migrate historical data as well
as in-progress conversations, or searching for topics will not do what you
want it to do and that's crucial to a structured long-term discussion, IMO.
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