[PD] pd~conf 2.0

Chris McCormick chris at mccormick.cx
Mon May 8 06:52:08 CEST 2006

On Mon, May 08, 2006 at 12:02:57AM -0400, Mathieu Bouchard wrote:
> On Mon, 8 May 2006, Chris McCormick wrote:
> > On Sun, May 07, 2006 at 03:53:53AM -0400, Mathieu Bouchard wrote:
> > > Why is the mailing-list so inefficient? What can be done to improve the
> > > mailing-list? Are there affective issues? If so, we might need a Simple
> > > Hug Transfer Protocol.
> > Don't you find that you learn a lot at conferences? I reckon that there
> > is no better search engine than asking a question of an expert, face
> > to face.
> If this were really the case, teleconferences would be the super craze 
> just about right now. But anyway: I'm not arguing that conferences are 

Teleconferencing doesn't have an established pattern of usage in the same
way that conferences do. There is lots of different software and the set
up is often complicated. One must agree on protocols, and have the right
hardware, bandwidth etc. etc. Add to this the fact that most people are
busy, and don't have a lot of time to teleconference with just anyone,
and you have the solution as to why teleconferences aren't the super

[Normal]conferencing fills the gap. Experts make time for conferences
whilst they might not make time to talk to someone personally. Maybe
you have had different experiences, but being able to speak to famous
hackers and artists about their software and techniques in person has
always been way more valuable to me in terms of information gained per
unit effort, than emailing them.

Besides, it's much more pleasurable.

> useless, and even if people really learn a lot more at conferences, it 
> doesn't mean that mailing-list interaction can't be improved. So do you 
> have suggestions for more efficient mailing-list interactions?

No, sorry. I think mailing-list interactions are fine for what we
use them for. In any case they're something that evolve and are not
engineered explicitly, so even if we came up with efficient mailing list
interaction protocols, probably nobody would follow them unless they
were particularly fun or compelling. That said, you are welcome to try -
I am not disrespecting your idea at all, I just don't have anything
useful to contribute to it.

> How about a non-verbal markup language? (Isn't the niche that smileys were 
> made to fill?)

I guess it could work - smileys do. Sometimes reading tags like "<irony>"
ruins the irony though. Maybe that's a good thing because it makes us
all talk as directly as possible in order to minimise confusion. What
are your thoughts on a non verbal markup language aside from emoticons?

> > This is simply because of the bandwidth involved. The speed at which you
> > can hone your request using conversation, body language, etc, is much
> > more efficient than IRC, mailing lists, or any other computer based
> > communications medium that we currently use.
> How do you say "Intel/AMD isn't going to abandon SSE any day now and it's
> not an excuse that you can give to me" using bodylanguage in a way that my
> interlocutor will understand that he can't BS me on this? Cause if
> bodylanguage can't do that for me, then I don't think it's so great ;-)

I find it's more useful to ask questions than direct statements at people
who know more than me. In my experience body language occurs subconciously
to indicate a non-hostile attitude which puts the other person's mind
into a relaxed state and makes them more likely to provide you with
useful information. For example, saying "your opinion is totally flawed,
professor." with a quirky smile on your face is a bit different than
saying it with a creased forehead and an angry confrontational face. Same
thing with voice intonations as in the case of sarcasm. Because we all
know how super easy it is to detect sarcasm in email. ;)

> And when I say "bodylanguage", I consider that grabbing someone by the 
> necktie is sort of cheating.




chris at mccormick.cx

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