Is it just me ..

Or is there an fixation for GIS communities to use crude, outdated and horrible mailinglists as their method of choice for their “community”. I absolutely can’t stand them.
For developers, mailinglists can be an excellent way to get notifications of CVS updates and other near real time Q/A’s, but for everything else, i can not think of one advantage of using it particularly as an “archive” for general user questions or discussions.

Advantages:

  1. Besides the one above, i cannot think of one?

Disadvantage:

  1. Horrible user navigation for the average joe blogs wanting to ask a question
  2. Search feature is lack lustre at best (if its even enabled). Users end up posting the same questions over and over, simply because they cant find the info they’re after.
  3. Users dont understand how to use them. The number of people replying to the wrong thread, starting a new thread, putting an out of office notification to the whole list, and those who cant figure out how to unsubscribe from the “spam” are just amazing. And thats only the tip of the iceberg!

Now, to all of your diehards who use your favourite reader and know lists inside out thats great guys, but take a step back and ask yourself whether lists are really the best way to develop your GIS community.

The use of WIKI’s are spreading, which is a great mid-term solution. But i would just love to one day find that the use of decent, threaded, categorised forum software has started to take off.

[end vent] :)