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

Mehdi AMINI via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue Jun 29 09:47:10 PDT 2021

On Tue, Jun 29, 2021 at 2:55 AM Serge Guelton via cfe-dev <
cfe-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:

> On Thu, Jun 24, 2021 at 1:19 PM Aaron Ballman via cfe-dev <
> cfe-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
>> I think this could be a demonstration that the culture of the
>> community is being impacted by the fracturing. When people come to
>> IRC, moderators and other users will point out that discord and the
>> mailing lists are places where someone can also attempt to get an
>> answer if they don't find it on IRC. (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.) Users
>> respond by saying thanks and often following that advice. It sounds
>> like on Discord, users who don't find an answer to their question
>> maybe aren't being told about the other options? If so, this is a
>> demonstration of *why* I'm concerned about further fracturing the
>> community.
> I can only second Aaron's opinion. Discord has been a sad move in terms of
> community fracturing and I'd rather not have that happen again.

To me the fracturing on the IRC side is that we didn't just close the IRC
channel and move over the IRC. The fragmentation came from the non-decision
that led to Discord and IRC co-existing: I don't see immediately how
migrating the llvm-dev@ to the Discourse forums would repeat this.

On the topic of "fragmentation", I would argue that is to me a great
advantage to these new tools instead: the mailing list aren't as easily
discoverable, and they live on their own isolated "islands" (Just like it
would be on IRC if we had all these different IRC channels).
Discord/Discourse moves the paradigm from separate IRC channels/mailing
lists to a single "instance" where topics fit into categories: this
provides a unified view of all the llvm-project. At the moment any time
there is a mailing-list cross-post, I get bounced because I'm not
subscribed to OpenMP, LLDB, ... mailing-lists. Similarly, poking at what's
happening in one of these other mailing lists requires navigating the
online list archive, which has quite an impedance mismatch with the
expected way of interacting with the list (email...). I also can't answer a
topic on the CFE mailing-list that I would see in the archive if I wasn't
subscribed to the list in the first place, so in practice I'm unlikely to
participate in these projects occasionally. You would think that email
makes it easy to CC me on an existing thread, but not being subscribed, I
still can't participate in the mailing-list thread.
This is all another angle on the existing "fragmentation" in the community
created by the tools (IRC and mailing-list) that aren't designed for
managing what we have: a community composed of many subcommunities.

Finally, one last advantage of Discourse/Discord over mailing-lists/IRC is
the "agility" through evolution: it is trivial to add or reorganize
categories in face of a change in the community or sub-projects. Any new
category is directly integrated in the platform and immediately visible (I
discovered new channels on Discord over the last year as they got added, I
could easily skim through them and participate as needed, get pinged on
some specific topics, etc.). theu are suitable to manage the entire
llvm-project community instead of the existing silos.
Even the fact that llvm-dev@ is the place to organize the entire project is
still a historical artifact that mixes the llvm core development with the
plurality of the projects.


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