Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(August 2000)

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Subject: Re: comments?
From: "Bernie Cosell" <bernie @ fantasyfarm . com>
Organization: Fantasy Farm Fibers
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2000 14:02:26 -0400
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <39A4E693.21326.360FE4@localhost>
References: <>
Reply-to: bernie @ fantasyfarm . com

On 24 Aug 00, at 9:10, Anthony J. Albert wrote:

> Newsgroups are superior, in some aspects, to mailing lists, for 
> discussion purposes.  But out of the two dozen or so mailing lists 
> that I'm on, the first dozen are announcement only, and only about 
> six of the rest, I'd judge, would be suitable for conversion to 
> newsgroups.
> My biggest argument against newsgroups for every discussion is 
> the waste of it.  Every newsgroup that is carried on an international 
> basis must be carried on every news server that is hosting these 
> groups.

Not true.  Anyone can run a news server.  Microsoft has a whole pile 
of 'private' newsgroups.  The Zone-Labs folk provide tech 
discussion/support via privately run newsgroups... That's why I 
distinguished 'usenet' from 'newsgroups'.  You don't need to 
propagate a newsgroup anywhere or if you do, you can arrange [with 
the other sysops] exactly where a particular newsgroup will/can 

Also means you don't have to worry about the 'rules' for usenet --- 
if you're running a private newsgroup, you can just create it, no 
need for fancy-charters on news.announce or debates on alt.config or 
the like...  You can also restrict who has access to the newsgroups, 
who has posting permission, etc...

> But, as far as digest forms are concerned, I use them extensively, 
> and while I don't advocate them as default (except perhaps in 
> certain, very-high-traffic lists), they are certainly very useful.  I get 
> this "List Managers" list in digest form, and it's much easier and 
> more convienient to read it all in one packet, on a daily basis.

Why is that?  I just have my mail client stuff all the list-managers 
incoming email into a folder and mostly forget about it.  If I feel 
like dealing with l-m, I do -- if that's twice a day, I get to read 
it twice a day (regardless of how the MLM feels like bunding 
digests).  If it's once in two days, that's fine, too.  And of course 
the messages are all sorted by thread (and regardless of how the 
particular messages 'sync' with the digest-maker). And indeed, if 
you're particularly interested in a specific thread, you can easily 
set up your filters to flag the particular thread as it comes in 
[even as it is quietly squirreling away the rest of the traffic on 
that list into your side-folder] and so stay abreast of the one thing 
that piqued your interest as it unfolds, even as the other chatter on 
the list goes into the folder for later digestion at your leisure.  

I always ask digest-fans simple questions [things that you can just 
take for granted if you handle a mailing list using your email 

Does your mail client actually SORT the digest by thread? everyone 
one I've ever seen just presents the 'day's messages' as a sequential 
jumble..   Can you 'skip to the next reply in this tread', can you 
'ignore this thread and go on to the next', can you "kill this 
thread" entirely so its subsequent followups don't keep getting in 
your way?  And if you get a digest or two behind, can you follow 
threads easily from one digest to the next?

Can you easily reply to one message in the middle of a digest?  If 
you want to save someones pearl-of-wisdom, can you easily store-away 
in an archive just the message you want [and will it have the right 
author/subject so you'll know why you saved it when you see it in 
your archive folder six months later?]

There are some mail clients that will locally-burst a digest so that 
it becomes-again individual messages [which you can then sort, file, 
archive, filter, etc], but most mail clients won't [and indeed, many 
MLMs don't even present digests in a rationally burstable format].  
And even if yours does, what's the advantage of having bothered with 
a digest ANYWAY? --  You have a clumsy way to end up with 80 messages 
in a side-folder, which is just what you'd have had anyway without 
digest mode...

I'm sorry, but I'm firmly anti-digest -- as I say, it evolved a LONG 
time ago, in an era when mail clients were pretty simple and fancy 
filtering and folder management and thread following and the like 
weren't readily available.  But with just about any modern mail 
client, I don't see any utility in using 'digests'.


Bernie Cosell                     Fantasy Farm Fibers     Pearisburg, VA
    -->  Too many people, too few sheep  <--          

  • Re: comments?
    From: "Jim Trigg / Blaise de Cormeilles" <>

  • Re: comments?
    From: "Anthony J. Albert" <>
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