RM: Me too. Matti’s points were excellent and very articulately made! So I am all for keeping CSGNet exactly as it is, on the uiuc listserve.
RM: I guess what I really wanted to improve was access to the list by people – especially students – who are interested in PCT. I actually don’t know how to tell people to subscribe anymore. What I would like to see is a way to make access to CSGNet easier for people who want to learn about PCT.
RM: I think the way most people might get to PCT is through the PCT “portals”, the main portal now being PCTWeb.org. At that site now is a Facebook icon that takes you to a PCT discussion group on Facebook (which seems to have been essentially inactive for about a year except for one post in January of this year). I would like to see something like that at PCTWeb.org that lets a person easily subscribe to CSGNet – just by pressing a button.
Matti seems to know more about the CSGNet listserve than I do (and I’m a manager of the listserve yet – yikes!) so maybe you, Matti, could tell us how we might add a simple link Iin CSGNet for people who visit PCT web sites and get interested in PCT. Is there a way to make subscribing to the CSGNet easy? If so, I think Warren should add such a link to PCTWeb.org; I will add it to my MindReadings.com site and others can add it to their PCT related sites.
Again, the goal is to make it easy for students of PCT to get to CSGNet through one of the PCT related portals because I think CSGNet has always been the main “go to” place to learn about PCT on the net – at least in terms of discussions. Until a year ago that was true of CSGNet simply because Bill was on it. But I think it’s still true because we still have, as regular participants, those who have the longest histories with PCT and can probably claim to understand it best.
[From Matti Kolu (2014.04.04.1230 CET)]
Rick Marken (2014.04.03.1020)–
There are surely other things to consider when deciding on a
discussion forum so I want to put this out to the group to see if
there are any particular things that are important to consider when
picking a forum that I haven’t considered.
Let me play the contrarian. The mailing list format works well. The tone is
personal, posters are readily identifiable, there is no spam, people are
free to choose their own interface, and thanks to Dag we have on-going
archiving of all posts. The lack of formatting options is only a minor
issue, and has little to do with whether a post is hard to read. Many of
Powers’ posts from the early 1990s are exceptionally clear, despite being
written as plain-text mails. The use of the time-stamp is not an annoyance,
it is a feature. Manually typing out your name and the date is a
mini-ritual, a small gesture of group membership. It reminds you that you
are posting to CSGnet.
Most forums are worse than the current solution. In terms of platforms, the
only interesting alternative that has arisen lately is Discourse
(http://www.discourse.org). It will reach 1.0 this year, and it is being
considered as a mailing list alternative by many groups, but it has not yet
reached a state where it can be used as a complete mailing list replacement.
When it does, it will cost 15-20 dollars per month in hosting costs to
When it comes to the importing of old posts, I agree with Martin that manual
curation is a necessity. Not only to get rid of the political threads and
rants, but also because CSGnet has in practice been treated as a closed
discussion group: posts intended for a small, limited audience should not be
made widely available on the Internet.
This also raises the issue of whether you want the discussion platform to be
private, public or a mixture of both.
Having an open forum makes it easy for people to find it through search
engines. The threads and posts will become indexed by search engines. People
searching for some obscure reference might stumble upon the forum in that
way. But such a public nature changes the dynamics of the discussions.
Students might be hesitant to ask “stupid” questions, because those might be
found by future employers.
Researchers might be hesitant to post tentative thoughts, if they know that
those will be made available to the public. Papers and pre-prints are
unlikely to be posted as freely as they are in more private groups. I’m not
sure if this is as true today as it once was, but academics and researchers
seem to prefer the more closed nature of mailing lists.