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From: Sam Kuper <>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Ask questions on the mailing lists too
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2022 17:36:08 +0000
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On Mon, Jan 17, 2022 at 09:56:33PM +0700, Daniil Baturin wrote:
> On 1/17/22 21:30, Sam Kuper wrote:
>> SaaSS implies a failure to do "your own computing on data in your own
>> hands".[1]
>> Insofar as Discourse facilitates exchange of data between people,
>> therefore - e.g. to the extent that it replicates the functionality
>> of traditional mailing list manager (MLM) software - it is *not*
>> SaaSS.
>> However, Discourse, like most forum software, doesn't just replace
>> the MLM.  It also replaces the MUA and the features for local
>> data-processing that the MUA provides: a UI for reading posts and
>> composing replies, search/browse functionality, etc.
>> Those (anti-)features, strictly speaking, constitute SaaSS.
>> That might not be bad if, like good MLMs, Discourse instances also
>> provided e.g. Mbox discussion archives for easy downloading and local
>> usage, so that users could easily avoid the SaaSS.  But
>> unfortunately, Discourse imposes accessibility and inconvenience
>> barriers against downloading that data for local usage. [..]
>> [1]:
> Discourse being (or not being) SaaSS and Discourse's email features
> being (or not being) a complete replacement for a mailing list manager
> are separate issues, let's not conflate them. ;)

Those two issues are related to each other, as explained above.

> Discourse could be self-hosted relatively easily, it's just that the
> OCaml Foundation chose not to, because there aren't any real benefits
> in that right now.

Understood.  Still, the hosting arrangements mean that
tends towards the SaaSS end of the spectrum.  The software isn't under
users' control, and it isn't even under the OCaml Foundation's control.

> Discourse could also be improved to provide a better email interface.
> It's technically possible to add pure email-based registration and
> enable email interface for all users by default, and it will be
> functionally indistinguishable from a "real" mailing list.

Yes.  That would be great!

> If the OCaml Foundation was using using, let's say, Reddit for its
> official forum, that would classic SaaSS at its worst—impossible to
> even migrate the data from and self-host it, and obviously impossible
> for anyone but its operators to improve.

Yes.  Reddit would probably be much worse.

> A Discourse-based forum could be made to run in a hybrid mailing
> list/forum mode, the only question is if there's enough momentum to
> make it happen.

Right.  But so far, there has not been - and in the meantime, users with
accessibility barriers to using miss out.

> To me, as much as I hate to say it, any web UI beats a mailing list
> simply because I don't have to wonder if the people I'd have wanted to
> see my message can actually see it, or the Big Email™ companies they
> use using silently discarded it again.

Users can readily change email provider.  But they can't readily

So, mailing lists beat a web UI on this front.

(I'm very grateful the OCaml mailing list exists, or you and I probably
wouldn't even be able to have this conversation.)

> It's a sad state of the ecosystem and it's incredibly ironic: email is
> more affected by the SaaSS issues than web-based forums even though
> it's an open protocol stack.

Sad indeed, as far as it goes, but as I say, users can readily change
email provider - and civilised email providers do still exist.

> However, turning Discourse into a full-grown hybrid forum/MLM solution
> is technically and legally possible, so being a
> hosted instance at the moment is not an unbreakable barrier, as it
> would be if it was a proprietary SaaSS solution.

Right.  But so far, this has not happened - and in the meantime, users
with accessibility barriers to using miss out.

Best wishes,


A: When it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: When is top-posting a bad thing?

()  ASCII ribbon campaign. Please avoid HTML emails & proprietary
/\  file formats. (Why? See e.g. ). Thank you.

  reply index

Thread overview: 37+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2022-01-14 18:57 [Caml-list] Type Error in OCaml Code mukesh tiwari
2022-01-15 21:19 ` Nicolás Ojeda Bär
2022-01-16  9:40   ` [Caml-list] Ask questions on the mailing lists too orbifx
2022-01-16 14:32     ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-17  9:20       ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-17  9:34         ` Daniil Baturin
2022-01-17 14:30           ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-17 14:56             ` Daniil Baturin
2022-01-17 17:36               ` Sam Kuper [this message]
2022-01-17 21:08                 ` Gabriel Scherer
2022-01-18  1:51                   ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-19 15:46                     ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-18  9:49                   ` orbifx
2022-01-18 15:55                     ` Simon Cruanes
2022-01-19 16:31                       ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-19 17:55                         ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-19 18:09                           ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-19 19:09                             ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-19 20:53                               ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-19 18:43                           ` Simon Cruanes
2022-01-19 19:03                           ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-19 20:50                             ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-20 20:56                         ` Edwin Török
2022-03-11  8:46                           ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-03-11  9:38                             ` Vasilis Goumas
2022-03-11  9:43                               ` Gabriel Scherer
2022-01-19 15:33                   ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-19 21:43                     ` Gabriel Scherer
2022-01-19 22:02                       ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-19 22:38                         ` Sébastien Hinderer
     [not found]                 ` <>
2022-01-17 22:47                   ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-17  9:54         ` Alan Schmitt
2022-01-17 13:53           ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-19 15:18             ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-19 15:54           ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-20  9:13             ` Alan Schmitt
     [not found]             ` <>
2022-01-20 14:16               ` Sébastien Hinderer

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