[sdnog] Should we keep using mailing lists

Nishal Goburdhan nishal at controlfreak.co.za
Wed Mar 25 21:47:21 SAST 2020

On 25 Mar 2020, at 12:01, Samir Abdullatif wrote:

> Dear SdNOG Community
> Hope everyone is staying safe in these times
> I want to ask the community here should we consider moving from the 
> mailing list to more "friendly" way of communications such discord, 
> slack, discourse or any other forum tools.

what is unfriendly about email?  :-)

> My personal Motto is a smart engineer is a lazy engineer :) , and I 
> feel like in some areas email chains are a bit cumbersome to deal with 
> specially when I'm trying to look for and old email or reply to 
> someone

how is this fixed in any of the other tools that you mention?  that’s 
a genuine ask;  i don’t use any of them.
sure, they are “prettier” than email, but, that’s not the problem 
you cited.  so i don’t think that email is the _best_ tool, but, if 
you’re going to replace it with something, then that new thing needs 
to fix a real problem;  and not just be the “tool of the month”, eh?

> not to mention media attachment.

and, this is a mailing *list*, full of people with quite different 
security practices.  ideally, you do *not* want media attachments.  even 
worse, why would you want to open some random, potentially unsafe 
attachment, from someone you don’t really know?

i’m also lazy;  but i value predictability, and i really like 
tareq’s point about ownership, and think that’s more important.  one 
of the organisations i work with, was considering slack, but we looked 
at the slack outage notices, and realised that it actually was a lot 
more stable for us to host a private “chat” server ourselves.  
let’s not even talk about the data security issues attached to that 
with sdnog, you *know* who owns this list.  and the website.  it’s you 
(the community).  it’s not subject to some other party’s terms of 
services which may, or may not change, and whom you should feel beholden 
to.  building autonomous infrastructure is what built the internet;  and 
it’s what, in times like now, make the internet stronger, imo.

> I would like to hear everyone opinion in this, what to you guys think? 
> should we keep things as is? or do you have other suggestion or even 
> are using other alternatives in your work

i have no vote in this :-)   but i’ll add some history.

the mailing lists option was chosen because they it is :
* publicly archived;  they form useful knowledge sharing repositories, 
and an indication of history
* public and plain text;  that’s the the easiest way to get to most 
people.  ie. no barrier to entry  (like an account needed to read/write)
* ideally, hosted locally.  which, was the case with the sdnog mailing 
list, until sudren was dissolved.  this is important because it’s a 
*domestic* want to communicate that needs to be solved, even if your 
connectivity to the rest of the world is compromised.  and it was meant 
to teach those people some skills (maintaining *nix servers, lists, 
etc).  in fact, i remember the mailing list archives being broken the 
day before sdnog-1, and, task you, samir, to fix it - i’m sure you 
learnt something in that process   :-)

i am involved in one NOG that tries to co-ordinate via skype chat.  i 
really don’t recommend that.


ps. if you run infrastructure in sudan and are willing to host the sdnog 
infrastructure inside sudan free, ping list-mum, sara or myself 

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