Au Revoir Official Symfony Mailing List

goodbye-symfony-mailing-listOn the 24th June 2015 the official Symfony 2 mailing list became read only.

The reason for doing this is to reduce the many different ways of finding support for Symfony related problems. This sounds a little nutty – Fabien / Sensio Labs want to reduce the ways of finding help for Symfony projects?

Prior to this we had the mailing list, IRC, the official forums, not to mention the plethora of blog posts out there in Google land. This variety is both good and bad.

Firstly, the mailing list could be a little spammy. As with any public internet forum, inevitably it attracted recruitment types advertising garbage – I’m sure with not a great deal of effort I could dig out that guy who constantly spammed his .net positions to the list for a while. I can’t imagine his success percentage was incredibly high at the end of that campaign.

Having moderated (admittedly small) public forums in the past myself, I can fully appreciate the amount of behind the scenes work that must have gone in to keeping the list as clean as it was.

Secondly, the list wasn’t entirely beginner friendly. As a casual reader you would have believed a certain level of Symfony knowledge were required just to take part. That wasn’t actually the case but few were the basic questions on that list.

And lastly in terms of my gripes was the delay in posting and getting a reply. I believe all the posts were moderated towards the end, so even seeing your post show on the list took a while. Then others had to see it. I think most were doing what I did – getting the daily digest. This then relied on someone reading the digest and using the clunky Google interface to post your reply, which would also throw in your email address for all to see :/

So Long Symfony Mailing List, Hello StackOverflow

The new guidelines are to use Stack Overflow as the preferred and recommended medium for all Symfony related support questions.

Personally, I don’t have a Stack Overflow account. I know, burn me at the stake, right? Maybe it’s time to sign up and start collecting gold stars 😉

We – the community – are also requested to use the tag of Symfony instead of Symfony2 when tagging our posts.

This is interesting to me. My experience of searching for help on Symfony issues over the past few years has been always that Symfony throws up stuff for Symfony 1.x, whereas Symfony2 / Symfony 2 kinda guaranteed a result for the current version.

Ultimately I think moving to Stack Overflow is a good move. From my own business-y perspective I don’t like the idea of putting all my eggs in someone else’s basket, but for a community project like Symfony it’s probably the better of the two options (doing it vs keeping it as it was).

Stack Overflow has the infrastructure, moderation team, and user base to make this better all-round for the community.

Lastly, IRC isn’t affected by this. I’m not the hugest fan of IRC (I find it too distracting having a full on chat room running in the background), but some of the very best support I have received has come from the IRC channel.

Symfony is such a fantastic product and community I’m really glad to see it progressing forwards with no sign of slowing down any time soon. I just couldn’t let a mailing list I’ve been a subscriber / contributor too for the last two or more years go without saying goodbye.

(image credit: Steve Johnson – US Mail)


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