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[leafnode-list] Re: leafnode-2 local news to web forum (or FUDforum)

> This mention and recommendation of FUDforum is meant to be constrained
> to possible use as a way of "archiving" leafnode-2's local groups and
> making the content more readily accessible under certain circumstances.
>   It was not meant to constitute a general
> recommendation - though I did not necessarily communicate the whole set
> of circumstances and thought processes that led to a decision to use
> FUDforum.  I am profoundly sad to abandon use of leafnode-2.  Before I
> set it up on the server, all we had was e-mail.  In the end, though, the
> information is more important that taking a position on the medium that
> no one in the organization uses.
> I imagine I largely feel that the usenet mechanism seems better than the
> mailing list or web forum paradigm except for one signficant detractor
> for leafnode-2 : the inability (I think I remember right) to cancel
> messages from the local groups.  This made for a mess when using the
> local groups as a sort of note board.  Mistakes or changes could not be
> "disappeared" without meddling with the message spool in rather
> nefarious ways.  When wiki came about, this lack in leafnode-2's local
> newsgroup really made it hard to appreciate the newsgroup as much as we
> did before wiki.  I guess one could counter that traceability is
> important, but I don't think its hard to come up with scenarios where it
> is not needed, or is even distracting.
> Still, in my case, a lot of points are largely irrelevant.  This server
> was down to one user - namely me.  For all practical purposes, the data
> in the news server was lost to everyone else.  This is where a
> black/white view falls somewhat short.  I would be hard pressed to agree
> that I should stay away from a web forum as a way of helping the
> organization retain a better chance of finding old information gone
> stale in the news server.  A lot of discussions take place in e-mail
> these days - worse than all of the above in my opinion.  If I can get
> people to use it, I'll take a web forum over e-mail.

I'd be remiss to note that the nntp mechanism is vastly superior to the
forum interface with respect to message threading.  FUDforum flattens out
the thread tree.  This has the net effect of smashing an organized
thread into one big linear blob of messages.  Ugh.

When using the leafnode local groups mechanism to implement a whiteboard,
I had the habit of creating topical threads like, oh, "Server Backups",
then create sub-threads of "Server Backups" like "Restoring Backups", or
"Media Rotation", etc.  Using this mechanism, I could post to the thread
or sub-thread very infrequently (years apart), but still have all posts
neatly organized by thread and sub-thread.  To go back to the news spool
to refer to a particular topic, I could quickly locate the top-level
threads that refer to the topic of interest, and quickly navigate the
thread tree to find the sub-topic of interest.

After converting this nicely organized tree of threads and subthreads to
FUDforum, all the organization was destroyed.  One now has a huge flat
list of messages grouped by ID number (date/time) rather than by topic.

For my own sanity, to access the old data in the news spool, it is
looking a lot like use of a console nntp reader is going to be a must
even if no one uses nntp server anymore.  The forum gives access to the
data, but without the structure of complex threads being preserved, it's
a mess.  (In environments where I am not protocol constrained on the
network, like at home, I'd still use a GUI news client).

I'm sure I probably can expect at least a muttered I-told-you-so from this,
but so be it.  At least I can tell on myself.  The forum might not be a
bad fit for a quickly flowing thread, but even then, it is not that
uncommon for a large thread to fork multiple times.  FUDforum does not
appear to handle forked threads well.

In summary, FUDforum can grant access to the data in leafnode's local
groups, but falls sadly short in the rendering of sub-threads within
threads (forum topics).  This devalues the content by making the
reader have to work very hard to follow various trains of thought
that can occur within a busy or long-lived thread.

Kevin Bulgrien

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