Recently, I’ve seen a couple of deep-links to crass statements on mailing lists again.
None of them has lead to quality discussion. The discussion about these is predictable:
a) The discussion becomes a meta-discussion about whether such a communications style is good or bad.
b) Almost anyone just reads the mail, but not the mail it was a reply to or the discussion that comes out of it. (In which the poster might even admit that they were wrong) Mailing lists are deeply contextual. What would be an offhand dismissal on this very forum here might be an “everyone already knows my stance, so I won’t go in deep” on a core mailing list. This leads to people in the know having to explain context here on lobste.rs, which is stealing their time.
I believe both touch interesting subjects, but this form is not discussion-ready. A discussion of leadership style cannot be done based on a single email, a discussion of a leadership statement can only be done with appropriate introduction of the context around the mail.
If you feel like the need to point out a discussion or a pattern on a mailing list, please write an appropriately-researched blog post on that (or find one that does) and then submit it here.
A good example were the recent discussions about Theo’s statements on the openbsd list, which had both Rust people straggling to correct misinformation and OpenBSD people providing context that we and others missed. A structured writeup of the issues that Theo pointed out (and where he’s wrong) would have been gold, the discussion is not.
I know these links will be passed around in other places in that fashion as well, but that doesn’t mean we have to do that, too.