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Too many mailing lists

The Cygwin project has too many mailing lists. This causes an unjustifiable amount of friction.

Every time someone says "That's not on topic here, go elsewhere," it can easily be read as "Go away." The Cygwin project should only be pushing away toxic people, and multiple mailing lists do not have that happy side effect.

We're long past the days when server-side list traffic segregation made sense. With today's powerful mailers and search engines, we no longer need lots of mailing lists to manage the flow.

I see real value in only 3 lists:

  1. User discussions
  2. Development of Cygwin-the-project (broader than the DLL)
  3. Talk


1. User discussions: Everything now allowed on the licensing and apps lists should be allowed on the main list. Posts on use of Cygwin/X and Cygwin Ports should be welcome, too. Nontechnical packaging questions should be allowed, if only to encourage more Cygwin users to adopt packages.

2. Development of Cygwin: I propose that the -devel list be the place for anything that affects -- or potentially *can* affect -- one of the Cygwin project's code repositories. The only good reason to separate the Cygwin DLL traffic has to do with legal matters, and that cut doesn't have to be made at the mailing list level. Legally, all that matters is what's checked into the winsup/cygwin section of the CVS repo, and that's covered by policy and permissions. Discussions involving changes to setup.exe, the docs, the web pages, the scripts running things behind the scenes, etc. all should be allowed on -devel. Patches and commit messages, too; they're easy to filter out.

3. Talk: I'm in favor of keeping this one as-is only because of restrictions in some work environments. I'd prefer to live in a world where a little off-topic chatter was okay on the main list, but I will concede that it's worth segregating the "vulgar and unprofessional" threads if it keeps more people subscribed to the main list.

I am uncertain about -announce. It echoes to the main list already; that part of its value could be replaced by asking package maintainers to prepend [ANNOUNCEMENT] to subject lines. It may be the case that there are a large number of people who choose to subscribe to this list and not to any other Cygwin list. Do the statistics bear this out? If not, it is not providing much value.

More generally, I believe that threads should be allowed to continue where they started, no matter what a wall-of-text web page -- clearly in low regard -- says. As long as the discussion is productive, does it really matter where it happens? The purity of each list's archive has little value in this modern world. I don't believe Google makes distinctions between pages it finds under based on which list the post was sent to.

This proposal greatly simplifies the decision about where to post. Is it completely off topic? TITTL. Does it affect the development of Cygwin the project? Send it to -devel. No to both? It's probably of general interest, then, so it should go to the main list.

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