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

Aaron Ballman via Openmp-dev openmp-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Jun 23 04:34:03 PDT 2021

On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 12:51 AM Chris Lattner via cfe-dev
<cfe-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
> On Jun 22, 2021, at 6:01 PM, James Y Knight <jyknight at google.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 21, 2021 at 3:53 PM Chris Lattner via cfe-dev <cfe-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
>> On Jun 9, 2021, at 10:50 AM, Philip Reames via llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> wrote:
>> Specific to the dev lists, I'm very hesitant about moving from mailing lists to discourse.  Why?
>> Well, the first and most basic is I'm worried about having core infrastructure out of our own control.  For all their problems, mailing lists are widely supported, there are many vendors/contractors available.  For discourse, as far as I can tell, there's one vendor.  It's very much a take it or leave it situation.  The ability to preserve discussion archives through a transition away from discourse someday concerns me.  I regularly and routinely need to dig back through llvm-dev threads which are years old.  I've also recently had some severely negative customer experiences with other tools (most recently discord), and the thought of having my employability and ability to contribute to open source tied to my ability to get a response from customer service teams at some third party vendor I have no leverage with, bluntly, scares me.
>> Second, I feel that we've overstated the difficulty of maintaining mailing lists.  I have to acknowledge that I have little first hand experience administering mailman, so maybe I'm way off here.
>> Hi Philip,
>> First, despite the similar names, Discord is very different than Discourse.  Here I’m only commenting about Discourse, I have no opinion about Discord.
>> In this case, I think we need to highly weight the opinions of the people actively mainlining the existing systems.  It has become clear that the priority isn’t “control our own lists”, it is “make sure they stay up” and “get LLVM people out of maintaining them”.
>> The ongoing load of maintaining these lists (including moderation) and of dealing with the security issues that keep coming up are carried by several individuals, not by the entire community.  I’m concerned about those individuals, but I’m also more broadly concerned about *any* individuals being solely responsible for LLVM infra.  Effectively every case we’ve had where an individual has driving LLVM infra turns out to be a problem.  LLVM as a project isn’t good at running web scale infra, but we highly depend on it.
> I agree that the maintenance issue is definitely a problem which needs to be solved. And there is some urgency, given the recent problems which resulted in a need to manually subscribe people to the lists.
> But, the proposal on the table doesn't appear to actually address this issue, because the maintainers of llvm mailman will still continue to be responsible for keeping it functioning, for the mailing lists which were not proposed to be migrated. On the other hand, having osci.io run a mailman3 service for us does seem to be a way to solve this -- and doesn't require discarding mailing lists entirely.
> I’m not deeply familiar with osci.io, but hosted mailman services all suffer from a major problem: they don’t solve the moderation problem.

Can you explain the moderation problem a bit? As a current mailing
list moderator, I'm unaware of unsolved issues in this space and the
only mentions about moderation on this thread are vague "we could have
better moderation tools" kind of comments without justification as to
why they're important enough to necessitate a switch away from email.

> More generally, I don’t see how that addresses the many other issues that were raised repeatedly on this thread.

We went through many of these same discussions a while ago about
moving away from IRC and email at the same time. There was no
community consensus during that discussion, but for various reasons
the end result was a fracturing of the community (some people went to
Discord, some people stayed on IRC, and now both communities have to
tell members "if you don't get an answer here, try on the other
service or the mailing lists"). IMO, this left us with a community
that's less approachable because new people are never really certain
if they're asking their questions "in the right place", especially
when a failure to get an answer to their question requires them to try
again on a different service. I am worried that a switch from email on
the -dev mailing lists to using Discourse will result in a similar
fracturing, as discussions will still be possible via email on
-commits. To me personally, the possibility of further fracturing the
community is a concern I think we need to take very seriously.


> -Chris
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