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- Subject: RE: We need a forum!
- From: "Jay Carlson" <nop@...>
- Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2004 21:12:36 -0400
Jason Murdick writes on Thursday, July 01, 2004 12:30 PM:
> A wiki is really not what Michael was suggesting, if I may be so bold as
> interpret his initial post.
> He is suggesting a real forum, with threads that are organized, user
> accounts, and a real search utility. Something such as phpBB if I am not
> I would have to agree with him. I'm not a big fan of mailing lists,
> preferring discussion boards instead.
My mail client has threads that are organized, we all have accounts, and my
mail client has a real search utility. (In fact, I have several, since all
my mail lives in IMAP, but I digress.)
I also have two very important things that web-based discussion boards do
First, I can work offline. I'm offline right now in fact. My job lately
has taken me to many interesting places. I'm usually quite busy there, and
network connectivity has been expensive, sporadic, broken, filtered, and/or
unbelievably slow. (Boldly exploring the limits of packet loss my OS's TCP
implementation can tolerate.)
Second, I don't have to depend on the forum site being up to be able to use
it. If you're thinking of phpBB, well, that software does seem to get hosed
a fair amount. (I've seen enough "MySQL ran out of resources" messages from
websites for this lifetime.) Although the Lua list server has been offline
for weekends at a time, it hasn't kept me from reading previous messages and
sending out replies, which dutifully get delivered when the server comes
Third, I can skim through messages as fast as I want. For forum apps, my
biggest UI pet peeve is having a tiny little porthole on the list of
messages. There's often some tiny limit on the number of visible messages
delivered at once, and no nested mode so I can't just scoop up everything.
To see more than about ~20 at a time you have to click again. And again.
Meanwhile, the developers have turned on all the cache-busting techniques so
that hitting the back button will cause another network transaction. With
~1300ms pings, every HTTP transaction is guaranteed to suck. With 20ms
pings, it will still suck, because most forum software seems to have a lot
of server-side latency.
As an aside, I am a huge fan of tabbed browsing because I can middle-click
to queue up a bunch of things to read all at once without having to wait
through the latency of hitting the back button. As a side effect, this also
generates far fewer ad views for those sites....
Finally, I don't have to put up the provider's idea of what a good UI is. I
can (and do) switch mail clients often. I can't fix the forum software, and
even if I could, you probably don't like my taste in UI anyway.