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restore dev-tech-xpcom newsgroup.

RESOLVED FIXED

Status

mozilla.org
Discussion Forums
RESOLVED FIXED
10 years ago
10 years ago

People

(Reporter: dougt, Assigned: justdave)

Tracking

Details

(Reporter)

Description

10 years ago
xpcom is so seldom used as a standalone piece of technology, I do not
see much value in a separate newsgroup for its discussion.
This was discussed in the XPCOM group. It's fine by me.

Gerv
Assignee: gerv → justdave

Comment 2

10 years ago
This group is listed on the Devmo page on XPCOM (http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/XPCOM) as the community group for XPCOM, which led me to believe it's the place to go for help with using XPCOM in my Firefox extension. Where are we supposed to go for this topic?
probably .extensions, perhaps .platform.

most of the questions from extension authors in .xpcom weren't really XPCOM questions; rather, they were questions like "with which XPCOM component can I do X", or "how do I use component Y".
The mailing list has been hidden from the public, and tickets have been opened with Giganews and Google to delete the group.

The mailing list will be deleted after the group disappears off news.mozilla.org.
Status: NEW → ASSIGNED
Whiteboard: waiting on Giganews/Google
Newsgroup is gone off of news.mozilla.org.  Mailman list has been deleted.

Still waiting on Google.
Whiteboard: waiting on Giganews/Google → waiting on Google

Comment 6

10 years ago
Don't forget to update http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/XPCOM (which links to this group) to something appropriate (another group, or remove it).

Google Groups reports "You cannot post messages because this group is only available as an archive." (http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.dev.tech.xpcom/topics)
(In reply to comment #6)
> Google Groups reports "You cannot post messages because this group is only
> available as an archive."
> (http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.dev.tech.xpcom/topics)

So it does.  That wasn't there this morning, and they haven't replied to my ticket yet.

Should probably file a bug on the website to get the list on the website updated (there were several newsgroup changes in the last couple days, probably better to do one bug for them to get all of the recent changes).
Status: ASSIGNED → RESOLVED
Last Resolved: 10 years ago
Resolution: --- → FIXED
Whiteboard: waiting on Google
(In reply to comment #7)
> Should probably file a bug on the website to get the list on the website
> updated (there were several newsgroup changes in the last couple days, probably
> better to do one bug for them to get all of the recent changes).

That's bug 381306.
This is nuts. We have way too few people cc'ed on this bug, and meanwhile, the m.d.t.xpcom group (which we went to great pains to rename, along with all the other newsgroups, and intentionally kept, just the other year) is full of live threads, including two important ones on the future of xpcom and the future of xpcom memory management.

These are critical issues to hash out in public.

/be
Status: RESOLVED → REOPENED
Resolution: FIXED → ---
Assignee: justdave → gerv
Status: REOPENED → NEW
I specifically approved this change after it was proposed on the newsgroup itself: the newsgroup has been populated by two types of discussions, "future of XPCOM" discussions that can live quite happily in m.d.platform, and random people asking "how do I do X" where X has nothing to do with XPCOM. I believe the group should remain closed. The discussions about XPCOM memory management should continue in md.platform and random questions should be forwarded to m.d.extensions or m.d.platform as appropriate.
(In reply to comment #10)
> I specifically approved this change after it was proposed on the newsgroup
> itself: the newsgroup has been populated by two types of discussions, "future
> of XPCOM" discussions that can live quite happily in m.d.platform,

Wrong, they were living happily in m.d.t.xpcom and now at least roc and I (and probably others) have wasted time changing groups, mangling subject lines, etc.

> and random
> people asking "how do I do X" where X has nothing to do with XPCOM.

That's not true. I see lots of XPCOM-related subject lines in thunderbird right now. The amount of noise is not terrible, but as dbaron pointed out, you've just inflicted it on m.d.platform.

> I believe
> the group should remain closed.

Sorry, I'm going to veto this. It's nuts for more than the thread-killing and time-wasting imposed on many by you or a few people. It's wrong because XPCOM is not going away, and those (misdirected or not) folks posting to m.d.t.xpcom need a place to discuss it (or whatever they confuse for it). That place is *not* m.d.platform.

> The discussions about XPCOM memory management
> should continue in md.platform and random questions should be forwarded to
> m.d.extensions or m.d.platform as appropriate.

Easy to say, and it cost you little to write it, but the damage has been done and will continue to be done, as dbaron noted. This just degrades m.d.platform and mixes two or more topics in one group. It also removes a group of long standing that should remain. We went to great trouble to rename groups. We should not remove them with so little review, especially with active (and often relevant) threads live on them.

/be
> time-wasting imposed on many by you or a few people. It's wrong because XPCOM
> is not going away, and those (misdirected or not) folks posting to m.d.t.xpcom
> need a place to discuss it (or whatever they confuse for it). That place is
> *not* m.d.platform.

That's a strawman: We don't need a newsgroup for every aspect of our technology,or we end up with discussions fragmented around too many newsgroups we have already. If .xpcom lives on it will continue to be a fragmented mess of core hackers working on the XPCOM object model and extensions developers asking about PAC files, JS injection, xpconnect, and reevaluating mercurial.
(In reply to comment #12)
> > time-wasting imposed on many by you or a few people. It's wrong because XPCOM
> > is not going away, and those (misdirected or not) folks posting to m.d.t.xpcom
> > need a place to discuss it (or whatever they confuse for it). That place is
> > *not* m.d.platform.
> 
> That's a strawman:

A strawman is a fallacious argument meant to be knocked down, set up to delay or distract. Kindly stop imputing bad motives to me.

> We don't need a newsgroup for every aspect of our
> technology,or we end up with discussions fragmented around too many newsgroups
> we have already.

Here's a reductio-ad-absurdum fallacy to see and raise your strawman: we don't need more than one newsgroup, period.

> If .xpcom lives on it will continue to be a fragmented mess of
> core hackers working on the XPCOM object model and extensions developers asking
> about PAC files, JS injection, xpconnect, and reevaluating mercurial.

And how is that problem fixed by redirecting those people to m.d.platform?

You are not responding to the argument that XPCOM is a module in Mozilla, like SpiderMonkey (js-engine), Necko (network), and many other m.d.t.* groups. It is not "the platform". We have had an XPCOM newsgroup since 1998. XPCOM is our current embedding component model. It's wrong to do away with m.d.t.xpcom and point everyone using it (for good reasons or not) to m.d.platform (note no .t in that newsgroup name!). XPCOM is Mozilla Developer Technology. It deserves its own group.

Doug's argument in comment 0 of this bug makes no sense. Many modules in Mozilla (e.g., Necko) are not used standalone. So what? Should m.d.t.netwerk too be removed and its users told to use m.d.platform?

/be
We need a newsgroup per community, not a newsgroup per technology/module. We don't have or need a separate community or place to discuss XPCOM apart from our platform. There is really no need for a mdt.network either IMO, but that's a decision for biesi.

And I'm not redirecting all of the random crap from mdt.xpcom to md.platform. Most of it should end up in md.extensions, which is a group flourishing with such questions and an active community to answer them.
(In reply to comment #14)
> We need a newsgroup per community, not a newsgroup per technology/module.

That's a nice assertion, but since different members of the community differ on "need", it's just one person's view. The m.d.t.xpcom newsgroup has many relevant threads, including active ones.

Let's ask in the group, making sure to get the attention of participants who may read less than daily, before even trying to remove the group.

Since the great newsgroup renaming preserved m.d.t.* groups focused on technology (not user or singular developer community) and since communities and technologies come and go, it is unsound to base newsgroup structure on community only. USENET was not so structured. Community is a co-located (in a physical sense, originally) society. There are many, overlapping communities. This is not the single organizational principle to use.

> We
> don't have or need a separate community or place to discuss XPCOM apart from
> our platform.

Another arbitrary assertion about "need".

People do use XPCOM without being involved in the *development* and *design* of the platform. As with m.d.t.js-engine, m.d.t.xpcom has users and developers among its posters.

Hey, you just made this point in response to dbaron's post in m.d.platform. Glad we agree that users and developers can usefully share a group. Why this is ok for m.d.platform but not for m.d.t.xpcom is a mystery to me, which I wish I had been spared, since it has wasted hours today, first dealing with a bounced post and then with this mishandled, relatively hidden bug.

> There is really no need for a mdt.network either IMO, but that's
> a decision for biesi.

Module owners do not own newsgroups. The community you invoke, which is bigger than one person, has a say. Let's ask this community you variously claim to speak for, or to rule as module owner. Let's have a conversation first.

Which reminds me: did I miss a comment from you here or in the group other than as followup to justdave's post of 9/7 in the group?

> And I'm not redirecting all of the random crap from mdt.xpcom to md.platform.

Your only recent post, in reply to justdave's, is likely to redirect people who don't know better (you know, the ones you claim are misusing m.d.t.xpcom) to do more of the same, in the group you name.

And dbaron indeed cites the palpable consequent noise increase in his post today to m.d.platform, to which you replied. So please stop thinking wishfully in this bug, which almost no one reads. You willed the means (eliminate m.d.t.xpcom) to one possible end (lost md.extensions people go there), but not other actual ends (lost mdt.xpcom people go to md.platform). Face the unintended consequences.

> Most of it should end up in md.extensions, which is a group flourishing with
> such questions and an active community to answer them.

Saying what should be here does nothing.

Asking existing users of a long-standing (life of the project, modulo the renaming) newsgroup that's shared by many people, with decent interval for subscribers to catch up, is mandatory. I'm not kidding here.

/be
(In reply to comment #15)
> Let's ask in the group, making sure to get the attention of participants who
> may read less than daily, before even trying to remove the group.

The request to remove the group was originally made in the group itself:
http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.dev.tech.xpcom/browse_thread/thread/cfaa688d89552b07/f9a59fd19adfa088#f9a59fd19adfa088

Three months passed between Doug's post mentioning this bug and the actual removal.
(In reply to comment #16)
> (In reply to comment #15)
> > Let's ask in the group, making sure to get the attention of participants who
> > may read less than daily, before even trying to remove the group.
> 
> The request to remove the group was originally made in the group itself:
> http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.dev.tech.xpcom/browse_thread/thread/cfaa688d89552b07/f9a59fd19adfa088#f9a59fd19adfa088

Yeah, comment 1 said that happened already.

> Three months passed between Doug's post mentioning this bug and the actual
> removal.

Since I read mostly by google groups, I miss old posts from many periods that do not lead to highlighted threads. I bet I'm not alone.

I must be too old; I remember rmgroup discussions on USENET. This "silence equals consent", or "no one uses standalone => no need" comment 0 rationale, which for no apparent reason morphed into "the group is being misused [so is m.d.t.js-engine by DOM n00bs], nuke it" or "one group per community" ad-hoc reasoning just today, does not justify removing the group.

As with USENET, groups can be split due to too much traffic, eliminated if empty (save for spam), and renamed. Voting and rmgroup/recreation wars aside, I would rather take the conservative USENET approach than indulge in ineffectual wishful thinking. We had a chance to remove m.d.t.xpcom with Gerv's big renaming. Any more recent misuse of the group does not nullify valid use of the group, or its continued existence.

Really, all you who think you just made the world a better place, where are you spending your energy to redirect thosee extension authors? Playing redundant games with me here is not helping. If we need to hash out an rmgroup policy, so be it. You already heard that it will not be module, or rather, community owner (we don't have such a person) rules unilaterally, and it won't be based on wishful thinking.

/be
I agree with the decision to remove this newsgroup. I think one of the main reasons it was being misused was that XPCOM is a buzzword that people become familiar with when they start using the technology. They're "using XPCOM" or "writing an XPCOM" (component, they mean) or even just suffered an "XPCOM error", so m.d.t.xpcom seems like a good choice. m.d.platform does not have this problem, so I think it's less likely to be abused. That being said, the solution to off topic posts to m.d.platform is not "reopen m.d.t.xpcom".

Looking through the past 100 or so threads (all since the thread about removing the group), it seems there are about 4 or 5 that are actually on-topic (about XPCOM itself rather than issues with debugging XPCOM components). The vast majority of posts contain questions that would be better off in m.d.extensions or m.d.t.xul, where they're also more likely to be answered. It's unfortunate that the recent threads about the XPCOM memory management and the future of XPCOM were started in a group that was slated to be removed, but I don't think the disruption of 1 or 2 threads (which have already been restarted in m.d.platform) should undo the removal.

I'm having a hard time seeing the same value you seem to see in keeping a group that's being constantly misused, one that has a very low signal/noise ratio. You must disagree with my assessment of the signal/noise ratio, but I can't find the "many relevant threads, including active ones" you say exist. If it's only use is "keep noise away from m.d.platform", we can fix that problem in other ways (creation of mozilla.dev.platform-help, or renaming of mozilla.dev.extensions, or any number of other measures).
I see more than 4 or 5 on-topic threads just looking at

http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.dev.tech.xpcom/topics

(both "Discussions" and "Active older topics"):

"The future of XPCOM ..." (two threads)
"Accessing editor's properties like contentWindow, XPCOM C++"
"more xpcom madness"
"XPCOM component crashes Firefox in vista"
"How to Auto Register XPCOM Component" (this is not obviously about Firefox or extensions)
"Fast string concatenation" (some JS but some XPCOM and not off-topic IMHO)
"cross platform coding"
"Interrupting PR_Poll" (missplaced somewhat but not completely)

The argument for removal in this bug has changed. First "no standalone users, no group", then "misused, no group", now we're arguing about how misused. Maybe we should compare notes by email, since I may be crediting a user-driven (not XPCOM developer-driven) post as on-topic where you are not.

And still the wishful thinking continues. Getting rid of this group will not make those posts that are truly misdirected appear in the right group. Saying we could create m.d.platform-help is ludicrous. Why not create m.d.t.xpcom-help, wouldn't that do the trick? Come on.

If you think renaming m.d.extensions would help, try that too. Just removing m.d.t.xpcom still looks like a destructive act with bad unintended effects to me. We'll see how tomorrow goes over in m.d.platform, since it looks like there is no fast path to restoring the Giganews-hosted data.

/be
I said this in private email, I'll share it once here.

The approach taken to a real problem, misplaced posts drawn by the "branded module" (the m.d.t.js-engine group has this problem too; "JS" always has drawn "DOM" and other off-topic posts) is both brutal and ineffective. It's like treating a village hit by an influx of refugees due to neighboring bad politics and wars by blowing up the village. That will solve the refugee problem!

What's a more positive step to try first? Be creative.

/be
Here's one of those refugees, booted from camp mdtxpcom to mdplatform and now walking off into the desert:

http://tinyurl.com/2rufg4

Is this really a case where the poster deserved no reply in either group?

/be
We have platform usability bugs that need to be filed, but the feedback from addon developers, probably from XUL app developers, and possibly even from random XPCOM embedders, is considered noisy and/or mis-posted.

Getting greater signal and redirecting people to the right group(s) is hard work. There's no substitute for posting followups, posting FAQs and rules, and mailing privately. This can be done; it should be done. It could be done in m.d.t.xpcom, and then we might be better off keeping that group.

I know, it's hard work. I used to do it for m.d.t.js-engine, but I stopped around the time I stopped using Thunderbird for mail (because, frankly, Google groups sucks for "catching up"). I'm using tbird for news reading again.

As things stand, I'm wondering whether there's a damaging subtext here: that XPCOM is considered both n00b-bait and something we will "get rid of" (in Mozilla 2 -- but probably we'll just change it incompatibly for the better, and reduce our use of it inside Gecko where we can, and not promulgate it to embedders of Gecko), and therefore people think it is better to bomb the village.

If so, please say so. Professing intentions but acting in ways that bid contrary unintended consequences, and in any case ignoring the posts of those refugees, is not the Right Thing(tm).

I'm not moralizing just to sound pretty. As noted above, I have stopped doing the right thing for m.d.t.js-engine (except sporadically, when I can afford to take a look). What would be best is clarity of purpose and action consistent with those intentions. Removing a newsgroup is not enough.

/be
We already have an active and  committed community who is willing to answer questions, write docs, and be patient with questioners in md.extensions. They write new docs on MDC for common questions, and answer most questions promptly and accurately. Instead of splitting up resources between multiple groups, or worse yet never answering questions (which is what happens in mdt.xpcom now), we should merge low-value groups such as mdt.xpcom with high-value groups.

It's not blowing up a village, it's relocating a starving community into a well-run healthy community. 
Benjamin: what about the refugee cited in comment 21? His were not the only posts that went unanswered, previously in mdt.xpcom, now in md.platform. I'm sure this is not an isolate incident because of the many such posts (as you and gavin cited) in mdt.xpcom.

Something does not add up. A committed community wouldn't leave those threads dangling and hope the posters find their way to the right group when the one they managed to use is removed. What's more, docs are not the only answer. The platform usability bugs should be filed and fixed. Maybe they're on file. The postings from people whom they bit went unanswered in mdt.xpcom, so how would anyone know?

/be
Wait, what's the argument? That we should keep mdt.xpcom alive even though the 5 regulars who do read it don't have time to answer every question (especially the ones that are poorly formed)? Or that we should transition more slowly?
My argument is that those misplaced posts have signal as well as noise, and (among other reasons, skipped here) therefore we should not just get rid of mdt.xpcom and make a wish that the refugees find their way to md.extensions (if that is indeed the better group).

You didn't respond about the example in comment 21. There is someone who did exactly what I predicted, and followed your pointer to md.platform, and was again ignored. There was no pointer for this person to md.extensions, and it still isn't clear to me that he's a Firefox addons developer.

If we can't handle the "redirect misplaced incoming posts" workload, let's say so. If we can handle the load in md.extensions with the committed community you cite, then some of that effort can go into redirecting lost posters from mdt.xpcom. Otherwise I think you're talking but not walking.

/be
A short comment: I actually feel we followed a reasonable procedure, but I also completely acknowledge Brendan's right to step in and change things if he still wishes. So I'm going to let him and bsmedberg duke it out, and whatever is decided can be implemented.

Gerv
(In reply to comment #17)
> (In reply to comment #16)
> > Three months passed between Doug's post mentioning this bug and the actual
> > removal.
> 
> Since I read mostly by google groups, I miss old posts from many periods that
> do not lead to highlighted threads. I bet I'm not alone.

I read with Thunderbird, but I too miss old posts when I first subscribe to a group, since I don't have time to go back through all posts, so I start out by marking existing posts read.


(In reply to comment #27)
> A short comment: I actually feel we followed a reasonable procedure, but I
> also completely acknowledge Brendan's right to step in and change things if
> he still wishes. So I'm going to let him and bsmedberg duke it out, and
> whatever is decided can be implemented.

I agree that parts of it were reasonable (initial discussion in the group, subsequent filing of a bug), but we fell down in not notifying the group about the decision and giving advance warning of the pending action.  We should have posted to the group weeks in advance that we were planning to shut it down, giving its users enough time to absorb or object to the change.

That's especially the case given the time that passed between the original discussion/decision and the actual removal.  Three months is plenty of time for the utility of the group to change and for readers to forget about (or never have seen) the original thread.

Ironically, had the removal taken place sooner (even a few weeks ago), it probably wouldn't have been controversial, and the recent active threads about the future of XPCOM would have just happened in md.platform, while the XPCOM help requests would have split between that group and md.extensions.
Not only are we not handling the misplaced-posts workload, we're not even handling the well-placed posts workload. I don't think it is pratical to ask the ad-hoc community in md.extensions "hey, can you guys also read and answer questions in mdt.xpcom"... which leaves the same small group of responders to deal with the signal and the noise.

If it is possible for an admin (justdave?) to post a final "please direct questions about using XPCOM and mozilla technologies to md.extensions" post to the still-closed newsgroup, does that deal with the problem of misplaced posts ending up in md.platform?
Auto-responder?  One of the primary sucks of newsgroups is that they can't redirect or forward well, but we could put an autoresponder on the mail alias and improve the experience that way.
FWIW, I contacted Giganews to make them aware of this dispute shortly after all the flames heated up, and we did get them in time to snag a backup restore of the newsgroup data.  I've been informed that as of yesterday afternoon the backup data has been restored where it can be gotten at, so on the chance that it's decided to reopen the group, all the posts will be there still when it's set up again.
dbaron just unsubscribed from m.d.platform due to the noise injected unintentionally when m.d.t.xpcom was removed, and bz is on the brink. I am going to override the decision to remove m.d.t.xpcom here, because

(a) m.d.t.xpcom might reduce the noise in m.d.platform;
(b) m.d.t.xpcom deserves to live in its own right, for XPCOM-specific threads, at least two of which were active when the group closed;
(c) professing that m.d.extensions is the place for all the noisy misplaced posts without actually pointing those posters, one by one via email and with monthly group notices, is willing the end without willing the means (always a mistake).

So restoring m.d.t.xpcom won't make things obviously better unless (a)'s "might" turns out to be valid. We need helpers willing to work in groups subject to noise, whether m.d.t.xpcom or (now) m.d.platform, to mail and post offenders with friendly and firm advice about where to post, (if not actual help for real platform usability bugs). Let's do that too, but in the mean time I am asking justdave to restore the m.d.t.xpcom group, working with Giganews and Google.

/be
Dave, I think you should own this bug.

/be
Assignee: gerv → justdave

Updated

10 years ago
Summary: remove dev-tech-xpcom newsgroup. → restore dev-tech-xpcom newsgroup.
Newsgroup has been restored on Giganews (they were already prepared since I had them grab the backup earlier), and the list has been recreated on Mailman.

Ticket has been opened with Google to swap it back to allowing posting on their end.
Status: NEW → ASSIGNED
I pinged Google on this again just now since it still hasn't switched back yet.
Whiteboard: waiting on Google
The Google Group is open for business again finally.
Status: ASSIGNED → RESOLVED
Last Resolved: 10 years ago10 years ago
Resolution: --- → FIXED
Whiteboard: waiting on Google
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