[svlug] Boring conversations about the mailing list (Was: "[Job Posting] There Needs Hackers Like You!")

Daniel Howard dan_howard at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 18 12:17:47 PDT 2003

Joel Spolsky, a pretty bright guy despite being a
Windows programmer, says something about the forum on
his own website which seems to relate to this horrible
"[Job Posting] There Needs Hackers Like You!" thread. 
He says:

"My policy in the past has been that "off topic"
includes any discussion of the forum itself, its
design or usability. There's a slightly different
reason for this, almost another axiom. Every forum,
mailing list, discussion group, and BBS will, all else
being equal, lapse into conversations about the forum
itself every week or two. Literally once a week
somebody strolls in and announces his list of
improvements to the forum software which he demands be
made right away. And then somebody says, "look buddy
you're not paying for it Joel's doing us a favor get
lost." And somebody else says "Joel's not doing this
out of the goodness of his heart it's marketing for
Fog Creek." And it's just SOOOO BORING because it
happens EVERY WEEK. It's like talking about the
weather when you have nothing else to talk about. It
may be exciting to the new person who just appeared on
the board but it is only barely about software
development, so, as Strong Bad says, "DELETED".
Unfortunately what I have learned is that trying to
get people to stop talking about the forum is like
trying to stop a river. But please, if you're reading
this article and you want to discuss it on the forum,
please, please, do me a huge favor, and resist the

Here's a pointer to his entire article which contains
many other interesting ideas about mailing lists and
newsgroup-style software:

"Building Communities with Software"

Yes, yes, I realize the irony that contributing this
post simply continues the thread.

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