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Re: "This bug report will be sent to the Free Software Foundation..."

From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: Re: "This bug report will be sent to the Free Software Foundation..."
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 13:59:45 -0500 (EST)

[ On Tuesday, January 23, 2001 at 12:14:00 ( +0200), Eli Zaretskii wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: "This bug report will be sent to the Free Software Foundation..."
> On Mon, 22 Jan 2001, Greg A. Woods wrote:
> > 
> > > Sending email exposes the sender exactly as posting a news message.  No 
> > > more, no less.
> > 
> > Literally, yes.  Practically, no.
> > 
> > Unless the user is familiar with the GNU Mailing lists and the fact that
> > the bug reports got to thos lists, they may not even be aware that
> > anyone outside of the FSF will see their report.
> Most people who read gnu.emacs.bug via the mailing list (like I am)
> are ``outside of the FSF'' because most of them are volunteers.
> Anyone can subscribe to address@hidden  When you subscribe, no
> one asks for any credentials.

Exactly my point!

However you seem to be missing the fact that many (most new?) users will
not have any concept whatsoever of what <address@hidden> is and
as a result will be left with the impression that only "The FSF GNU
Emacs maintainers" will read their report.  Without a clear statement to
the fact nobody encountering Emacs for the first time can know the true
extent of the readership of that address.

> > After all the current
> > message says explicitly that the report will be sent "to the FSF", and
> > no hint is given that it's really a public mailing list with world-wide
> > distribution *and* cross-posting to usenet.
> The OP's point was that he would like to know about the news group.
> My point was that there's no difference between a news group and a
> mailing list as far as exposure goes.  A public email address is the
> hint that the message is not landing on someone's private mailbox.

Exactly -- there is no hint in the bug reporting instructions to
indicate that <address@hidden> is in fact a public e-mail
address.  All it says is that it gos "to the FSF".

> > Furthermore even though a public mailing list is indeed very public,
> > unless it's readily available on various search engines (in the case of
> > bug-gnu-emacs this is true, but this is not generally true of all public
> > mailing lists), it's not nearly as widely indexed and searchable as even
> > a GNUsenet posting.
> My experience and data disagree with this.

I'm on quite a few more or less public mailing lists that, to the best
of my knowledge, have never been indexed by any search engine....  In
fact some are ones I wish were publicly archived and searchable, but
alas are not.

So, regardless of what your or my personal experiences may be, the fact
remains that not all mailing lists are anywhere near as public as even
GNUsenet and as a result many users of Emacs may be quite surprised to
find their bug reports on some search engine a few days later....

I think a slightly more revealing description of just exactly where the
report goes, and just how publicly accessible its contents (including
e-mail headers) are, is definitely called for!

                                                        Greg A. Woods

+1 416 218-0098      VE3TCP      <address@hidden>      <robohack!woods>
Planix, Inc. <address@hidden>; Secrets of the Weird <address@hidden>

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