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Thread: NNTP vs Web Interface

  1. #1
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    Default NNTP vs Web Interface

    Hi
    What is the story about moving posts to other areas, are the users
    doing it or the admins.

    It is getting rather annoying to find posts/threads all over the place.

    If you want the web to rule, so be it, might be time for me to find
    something else to do....

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: NNTP vs Web Interface

    Organization of the forums is an important dynamic for a well run community. Staff moves threads as needed to their proper place in order to keep things well organized. In a perfect world, everyone would post in the proper place, and we'd not have the issue, but the NNTP gateway is static and doesn't update when something is moved.

    This thread, for example, was posted in General, and was more appropriately moved to Forums Comments/Suggestions. That means others posting from the NNTP side will see it in the original location, while the web users will see it in it's new location, with a link to that new location in General.

    We've been trying to compensate by merging broken threads posted from the NNTP side, but it's a lot of work. If you're asking us not to move threads in order to keep from breaking NNTP threading, and let the forums degrade organizationally, I'm afraid that's not gonna happen.

    We're hoping that as folks get more comfortable with the forums, they'll get a better idea of where things go, and we'll have to move things less often. We have a number of NNTP users who post everything to General, and that means a lot of stuff must be moved.

    We're not pleased either with the technical issues that make this a problem, but we elected to offer access to the forums from either NNTP or HTTP clients in an effort to let folks choose their preferred client. Neither access method is immune to the technical limitations of the other, so it takes compromise from both the NNTP users and the HTTP users to make it work.

    I hope you'll support us in this endeavor.
    Keith Kastorff

  3. #3
    Jim Henderson NNTP User

    Default Re: NNTP vs Web Interface

    On Tue, 01 Jul 2008 23:20:10 +0000, Malcolm wrote:

    > What is the story about moving posts to other areas, are the users doing
    > it or the admins.


    The admins do it, I don't think users can. I use NNTP exclusively,
    personally, it's not an issue for me.

    Jim

  4. #4
    Jim Henderson NNTP User

    Default Re: NNTP vs Web Interface

    On Tue, 01 Jul 2008 23:56:03 +0000, kastorff wrote:

    > If you're asking us not to move threads in order to keep from breaking
    > NNTP threading, and let the forums degrade organizationally, I'm afraid
    > that's not gonna happen.


    PMFJI, but in my experience as a Novell SysOp, at least while I was one,
    moving threads just wasn't done - what has been done there is that the
    SysOps would gently redirect the poster to the correct forum by replying
    saying "this would be better posted in novell.support.this.group.here".

    Either way doesn't bother me much, but I don't think anyone could claim
    that the Novell Support forums have degraded organizationally even though
    messages are not (AFAIK) moved on the web interface.

    I understand it's a different way of thinking, and I'm a relative newbie
    to the openSUSE community, and that different communities have different
    ways of doing things. I respect that. There's a history and a way of
    doing things here that's different than what I'm used to. I'm just
    saying that there is more than one way to manage a set of forums - and at
    least in my experience, a polite redirection is generally lower
    maintenance (speaking as a moderator). For one thing, there's no
    complaints from people using NNTP. ;-)

    Jim

  5. #5
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    Default Re: NNTP vs Web Interface

    On Wed, 02 Jul 2008 00:42:45 GMT
    Jim Henderson <Jim.Henderson@SysOps.NSC> wrote:

    > On Tue, 01 Jul 2008 23:20:10 +0000, Malcolm wrote:
    >
    > > What is the story about moving posts to other areas, are the users
    > > doing it or the admins.

    >
    > The admins do it, I don't think users can. I use NNTP exclusively,
    > personally, it's not an issue for me.
    >
    > Jim

    Hi
    So I discovered, this thread has been moved, with the detailed response
    in a group I wasn't subscribed to (checked the web interface)... hence
    the problem.

    I've cross-posted and set follow-up, not sure how it will react.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: NNTP vs Web Interface

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Henderson View Post

    PMFJI, but in my experience as a Novell SysOp, at least while I was one,
    moving threads just wasn't done - what has been done there is that the
    SysOps would gently redirect the poster to the correct forum by replying
    saying "this would be better posted in novell.support.this.group.here".

    Either way doesn't bother me much, but I don't think anyone could claim
    that the Novell Support forums have degraded organizationally even though
    messages are not (AFAIK) moved on the web interface.

    I understand it's a different way of thinking, and I'm a relative newbie
    to the openSUSE community, and that different communities have different
    ways of doing things. I respect that. There's a history and a way of
    doing things here that's different than what I'm used to. I'm just
    saying that there is more than one way to manage a set of forums - and at
    least in my experience, a polite redirection is generally lower
    maintenance (speaking as a moderator). For one thing, there's no
    complaints from people using NNTP. ;-)

    Jim
    The Novell Forums are organized quite differently, with (for the most part), a forum per product. Since we're focused on one product, we're organized to provide sub-categories for topics. Member feedback always requests more and more complexity, because that makes it easier to browse for content, and enables folks who are interested in only one category to filter out unwanted content. We're never asked to simplify, or group more subjects into one place.

    The down side to this is more and more staff resources are required to keep things in place, because even with a modest forums tree we've never found a perfect way to ensure everyone posts in the right place. We've discussed the approach of the Novell Forums in thread redirection, and I'm of the strong opinion that would still leave a lot of clutter from the misplaced threads. Let's assume everywhere we have a redirect link today we had a closed topic asking the OP to post somewhere else. That's worse than broken NNTP threading, IMO. At least the web links expire over time, so once a thread is moved, eventually it's "legacy" location is moot. The whole issue of organizing a discussion board is a impossible task in itself, as staff attempts to balance ease of information access versus ease of management.

    In the end, there's no way to please everyone, and we're trying to walk middle ground with both complexity and access methods. However, we are foremost a web based forum that offers NNTP access as an option. Those coming from a NNTP or USENET experience see forums management as something that should be handled to ensure the NNTP experience is as perfect as possible. Those coming from a HTTP experience see it the other way. Personally, I love reading and posting to the forums via the NNTP interface, and I hate the impact NNTP support imposes on forums management, so I see both viewpoints as valid.

    We take a big picture perspective that the community benefits by offering both. There are those here who would never use the forums if they had to use a browser, and those here who would never use the forums if they were forced to use an NNTP client. But we hope everyone agrees that combining the experience and commentary of both openSUSE member groups is a win for us all.
    Keith Kastorff

  7. #7
    Jim Henderson NNTP User

    Default Re: NNTP vs Web Interface

    On Wed, 02 Jul 2008 02:16:03 +0000, kastorff wrote:

    > But we hope everyone agrees that combining the experience and commentary
    > of both openSUSE member groups is a win for us all.


    There's nothing you said I disagree with, Keith - while I personally
    don't like web-based forums, my wife loves them, and I understand why. I
    absolutely appreciate having an NNTP interface available, as I've said
    elsewhere, because otherwise I wouldn't be able to participate at all
    because of time constraints.

    I would say, though, that the organization of the Novell forums over the
    years has varied greatly - and has included components of products (in
    fact, the SLES forums currently are sorta organized that way - with
    groups for install-boot, configure-administer, hardware, networking,
    updates, and virtualization. My history with the Novell forums extends
    back before they were in NNTP, through several iterations (including on
    CompuServe, Proxicom, Hypernews at one point, and the current Twister/
    Typhoon/Cyclone configuration).

    I think it is possible, even with a single product being covered, to
    break things down into a logical structure that users can easily
    understand with a minimal need for administrative work with thread
    management tasks. The breakout that I see right now looks very good to
    me and based on my own past experiences SysOping for Novell as well as
    moderating some other online communities over the years that if someone,
    for example, posted a message to the help.hardware group and asked about
    running something on an AMD 64-bit system, a nudge to repost over in the
    hardware.64-bit group would work just as well (if not better, IMHO) to
    get questions in the right place. If you move a thread that originates
    on the NNTP side, the NNTP client isn't going to know about that move,
    and if it's a group not subscribed to, that will cause people to wonder
    why they're not being answered.

    I also participate in the opensuse-user mailing list (via gmane);
    redirection there is similar to NNTP groups, and when something starts
    going offtopic, a suggestion to follow-up to the offtopic list is
    generally put out there as a reply. That list doesn't seem to be on
    gmane, so I tend to not follow those discussions, but at least I know
    where it's gone.

    But the bottom line for me is that the communities have come together,
    and I see that as an immensely positive thing. I've argued on a number
    of mailing lists and groups where people have said "hey, we need a forum
    for this, so I've created one" *against* fragmenting the community; a
    strong and large community only helps a project, whereas a fragmented
    community dissipates the resources, and that's very rarely a good thing.

    So kudos to *everyone* involved in bringing things together.

    Jim

  8. #8
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    Default Re: NNTP vs Web Interface

    * kastorff,

    I think Jim's point was that moving threads isn't really necessary according to our experience in the Novell forums. It's not about pleasing NNTP users' habits ;-)

    In NNTP we can crosspost & follow-up, i.e. make all further replies to the thread appear in a different newsgroup. We don't even do that on the Novell forums:
    As I said elsewhere, the information "Your problem is off-topic here, please repost in x.y.z" is IMHO a good and important information not only for the OP but even for others browsing the forum.

    In a perfect world, NNTP would recognize a moved or closed thread and do something with it: The problem for NNTP users right now is, we don't even notice when a thread is moved or closed.

    Uwe

  9. #9
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    Default Re: NNTP vs Web Interface

    > we've never found a perfect way to ensure everyone posts in the right
    > place.


    well, it is rather simple actually:

    first, never let a thread originating post (from either the HTML or NNTP
    side become publically viewable until it has been vetted and approved by
    a forum moderator...

    that process could:

    - decide into which forum the thread is placed/begun

    - improve subject line info/completeness

    - remove inappropriate postings (personal attacks, unwanted language,
    adverts, spam, etc)

    - inform the author (email, or forum private mail) of the steps taken,
    and kindly urge them to take the hint in future postings..


    now, i reckon someone will say that is just too much work--then i will
    reply that if it is too much work before the thread is started it should
    also be too much work AFTER it is already on the board and replied to by
    (maybe multiple) others..

    the latter is what is going on now, and it is (imho) easier and more
    efficient to do it before, rather than after, the initial posting..

    consider the (fictitious?) posting of
    Subject: Here's a new irritant!!!
    Contents: Offensive language about only 'ugly' smilies available
    Author: Posts to Help/Applications

    wouldn't you rather nip that one in the bud and put it in the RIGHT
    place, with a descriptive subject line...

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: NNTP vs Web Interface

    > The problem for NNTP users right now is, we don't
    > even notice when a thread is moved or closed.


    what does it mean "a thread being closed"?

    does it mean that i won't see it anymore with my newsreader?

    like, if i have a problem next week and KNOW i read the answer two
    months ago in (NNTP) /Hardware, but if i look for it and the thread was
    "closed" will it have disappeared?

    if it has vanished on NNTP, will i be able to find it in the Hardware
    forum on the net?

    if it has _not_ vanished (to newsreaders) and i write a new (NNTP) post
    saying that what worked for PosterX two months ago doesn't work for me
    (and HELP!), what happens when i click send to a "closed thread"??

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