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[Caml-list] Why not a forum instead of a mailing-list ?
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Date: 2003-07-26 (09:57)
From: Nicolas Janin <nicolas.janin@i...>
Subject: [Caml-list] Why not a forum instead of a mailing-list ?

Being used to a forum, I find that a mailing-list is a poor and unattractive way, if not a frustrating way, to communicate. One can post only text, no graphics. Yet sometimes graphics can be very useful (for screenshots or concepts, for example).

Moreover, the Ocaml community is split de facto by the mailing-list system and the different sources that spread in different places. Many beginners won't bother posting in this mailing-list because it is mainly used by advanced users. So one has had to create another place for beginners, Yahoo Ocaml_beginners. This obliges me, for instance, to set up an account on this list AND on Yahoo, not mentioning fr.comp.lang.caml and newsgroups. 

Not only this is unconvenient, it multiplies the chances of being spammed.

Why not create a real forum dedicated to Ocaml development with a framework like phpBB (under GPL), for example ? It would gather all the Caml users in a single place, which would make the Caml community stronger, more active and therefore more attractive. 

A forum like phpBB allows many more ways of communicating than a simple mailing-list :

 - one can create an unlimited number of parallel forums (one for the advanced users of this mailing-list , one for the beginners, several for projects, for example). 
Access can be controlled. 
Forums can be moderated or not. 
Posts can be categorized in predefined topics

- one can create groups of users, with or without access control.

- one can do all sorts of searches, full-text, or any combination of author, date, forum, topic, etc.

- customized look and feel.

phpBB includes chat rooms, for discussing technical matters in real time.

Good examples of what can be done with the phpBB forum is here :

 - phpBB website :
 - phpBB forum, with nearly 75,000 registered members (!):

 - a large french home-cinema and hi-fi forum with over 15,000 members and 790,000 messages, which makes this place the single most important source of information on this topic in France. Because it is comprehensive and active, it attracts professionnals as well as the large public, and it is read on a regular basis by consumer electronics journalists  :