[darcs-users] darcs-devel, nosy bugs, mailing list traffic

Eric Kow kowey at darcs.net
Mon Sep 14 14:15:18 UTC 2009

Replying to darcs-users:

On Sun, Sep 06, 2009 at 23:34:31 +0100, Ganesh Sittampalam wrote:
> BTW I only happened to notice this because I couldn't sleep and was  
> browsing my darcs-devel folder. Is replying to messages on darcs-devel 
> the correct way to discuss bugs?

So this is a bit of a complicated question, or maybe I'm just making
it too complicated.

Let me make it clear that I understand the fact that everybody gets too
much mail and would like to have a little less.  Believe me; the last
thing I want to do is spam your inbox.  I'm doing what I can to make
sure we strike the right balance between people being aware of things
and not getting flooded.  Sometimes, we will get things wrong.  I'm sure
I'm probably getting things wrong right now with just this one more
message.  I'm trying to get it right and always appreciate your
(darcs-users) input on how we can make these lists as useful as

0. Automatic mailings
Darcs-devel is reserved for automatic mailings eg from the bugtracker or
the build slaves (*).
All discussion should go on darcs-users; darcs-devel is really meant to
be one-way traffic with soft enforcement rather than technical one
because old habits are hard to break and I'd rather nag people than drop
their messages.

1. darcs-devel is nosy
I've recently made darcs-devel nosy on all bugs.

I think this is a good thing as it makes darcs related communications
more visible.  I realise this increases the amount of traffic in
everybody's mailbox (*), and hope that you can live with automatically
filtering darcs-devel into a dedicated folder.
Note that this also relieves pressure on people to be nosy to bugs.  Now
you can really just use the nosy list to be nosy to the specific
bugs/topics that interest you.  But in this case, please also make sure
that mail that is both directed at you specifically and at darcs-devel
winds up in your Inbox.

2. darcs-devel now sets Reply-to bugs at darcs.net
Prior to this message, replying to darcs-devel would not cause the
bug-tracker to be updated.

This was undesirable.

I have taken the liberty of changing the list settings so that it sets a
reply-to bugs at darcs.net header by default.  I hope this makes sense in
the context of points 0 and 1.

3. No discussions on the bug tracker
The bug-tracker should really be used for tracking and not talking.
There is a fuzzy line between tracking and talking, and I don't want
anybody to be splitting hairs about this.  We're just trying to go for a
rough approximation of the ideal behaviour, no perfectionism here.
Rather than waste your time trying to clarify this with my clumsy
language, I shall link to this chapter of /Producing Open Source
Software/.  http://producingoss.com/en/bug-tracker-usage.html It's not
so much that I see this book as my open source bible.  OK *maybe* I do;
Karl Fogel says things that sound really quite sensible.  Please make
sure to slap me when I seem to be following his advice at inappropriate

It may sound like given point 3, reply-to bugs at darcs.net is the wrong
thing to do, but what I figure is that I can always nag people until
they stop.

4. Being nosy means you get email (and that's good!)
If you are nosy on a bug, it means you will get an email update *every*
time somebody adds a message to the tracker.

If you feel you getting too much email because of this, please do not
attempt to defeat the tracker by giving us a nonsense email.  When you
do this, it makes it harder for us to get in touch with you when we
think a bug is relevant to you, and especially when we would like to
solicit your opinion on something, or some debugging steps for a bug you

5. Replying to a bug means you become nosy
Some people really dislike the fact that replying once subjects you to a
flood of messages until you unset yourself from the nosy list for that

For now, the workaround is to manually unset yourself each time you
reply.  You can pre-empt this by adding, eg.  '[nosy=-kowey]' in the
subject line.  In the long run, yes somebody should probably roll up
their sleeves and work out a mechanism to make this optional.  For
example, maybe we could just throw together a hacky nosy blacklist
mechanism as a roundup detector?

Now let the throwing of rotten fruit begin!

(*) Before anybody complains about buildbot noise, please note that Petr
has done a lot of hard work to improve the state of affairs.  I hope
that the higher maintenance requirements and also easier
self-maintainability of the slaves mean that we will get fewer spurious
reports from the slaves.  Give darcs-devel a chance.

PPS: I'm taking today to try and polish off a lot of darcs stuff, hence
the spike in kowey-noise.  Shutting up imminent.

Eric Kow <http://www.nltg.brighton.ac.uk/home/Eric.Kow>
PGP Key ID: 08AC04F9
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