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Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2011 10:55:05 +0400
From: Solar Designer <solar@...nwall.com>
To: john-users@...ts.openwall.com
Subject: Re: tags in mail subject on the lists

Aleksey, all -

I approved pepa's last message (after which he in fact left the list, so
no replies are needed) because I think it's (slightly) relevant to
running this mailing list in general.  As list moderator, I am trying to
ensure that discussions stay on topic and are of interest to list
members - especially to those who are making desirable postings
themselves.  I am monitoring unsubscriptions, so I interfere like I did
in this case when I see people leave, or when I expect they'd start
leaving (e.g., judging by a prior occurrence of similar postings causing
people to leave).

I am sorry to see pepa leave, but I'd be much more unhappy about other
people leaving.

Maybe I should have been more careful not to hurt pepa's feelings with
what I thought was a mere moderation decision - I'd appreciate
suggestions on that such that I handle it better next time I choose to
moderate a discussion.

On Thu, Sep 08, 2011 at 09:33:38PM +0400, Aleksey Cherepanov wrote:
> I would like to propose to use tags in subjects of mails on the
> mailing lists to provide users with ability to filter unwanted topics
> out.

This makes some sense, but I expect that too few people will bother to
setup such filtering and too few people will bother to specify the tags.
Most people would just unsubscribe when too large a percentage of
postings on a list are of no interest to them.

> It seems to be on client side however I could imagine mailing list
> server that supports filtering set for each user. (Maybe with some tags
> filtered out by default.)

Yes, there's room for a better mailing list manager program, but we're
not maintaining one yet.  It'd be an ambitious project of its own.

Also, non-trivial features like this will inevitably result in some
confusion.  Even the trivial subscription confirmation feature results
in some people never confirming their (desirable) subscription because
they don't read the confirmation request web page and e-mail message -
this is surprisingly common.

> I saw some topics that are not widely desired but is important. For
> instance on john-users there are unix 101 topics,

I think it might make sense to setup a john-newbie list, where messages
such as pepa's would be appropriate.  However, this brings up other
issues: who else would be on that list (to provide help), and where to
draw the line between "newbie" and "users" stuff.  OK, I guess I could
volunteer to provide the help.  But somehow I expect that many
discussions that are actually appropriate for "users" would end up being
on "newbie", because of people making desirable postings being too
humble. ;-)  As a result, many of us would miss those.

Similarly, we could setup john-talk for semi-off-topic stuff, but I
would also expect it to degrade the quality of john-users postings,
because much desirable stuff would move to -talk.  We already saw that
with -dev and -contest lists.

So I hesitate to setup a third public mailing list for John topics.

> history topic ("When did you start?", I found it being very interesting
> for me)

Yes, I think that one was OK, given that it did not result in a lengthy
discussion.  Frank's posting would have been better if he included some
obJohn content, though. ;-)
(My use of "obJohn" here is a reference to obHack and alt.hackers.)

[ Oh, I forgot to mention some of my older toys in that thread, such as
HP200LX (still working, with Turbo C and an old John tree on it, with
porting never finished...), Nokia 9110 (486 CPU, successfully runs
command.com from DOS, but the memory layout is weird - old Linux kernel
hangs at boot, DJGPP would probably fail too).  I actually briefly
thought of porting John to these for fun, but never dedicated enough
time to it. ]

> and on john-dev
> there are gui development topics, status reports, and there could be
> conversations between magnum and Jim but sadly they do not post it to
> not flood while personally I would like to read such development talks
> to learn more (maybe I am too lazy to read other source of knowledge).

Well, we just got some lengthy postings from Jim to john-dev today -
maybe he listened to you, which is great. :-)

> Sometimes I would like to talk exactly with this community about
> something helpful but not tightly related to list's intention just
> because I like who and how talks here. I saw other ways (irc, jabber,
> private mails) to talk with interesting users of the lists but talks
> on the lists have some benefits.

Well, maybe we need a general talk list at Openwall then, not focused on
John the Ripper at all.  I think there would be relatively few
subscribers, though, and I am concerned that such a list would take some
desirable discussions away from other Openwall lists (project-specific).

> Of course there are some other side effects that are not so good. So
> tags are not a totally good solution. What do you think?

Yes, there are side-effects.  For now, I opt to lightly moderate the
john-users list, but even that has side-effects as we have seen (a
person felt offended).

Thanks,

Alexander

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