I have several reasons to prefer a list over a forum...This is a follow-up to this posting in the World of Glorantha mailing group.
1) A forum cannot do what this list does!
In a mailing list you read spontaneously what other members ask or contribute. This list is so lively because its motor works: It was in your mailbox. So you read. So you learn or contribute if you like. In a forum on the other hand, you would not read much about a subject you don't know at all, or one you think you know everything about. Only in between (what you want to know) is what you ask or search for in a forum.How often did you experience something like this in our list:
- Gosh, interesting, I did not know this!
- This reminds me, I have something to contribute
You may think this is very subjective now, but I have experienced it so often I think it should be provable by statistics.
I am following both many lists and forums, on various subjects in my professional and hobby profile: computer related, motor biking, scuba diving, general travel, RPGs. My experience is, members of lists are more dedicated and profesionell. The "density" of useful information is higher. There is almost never a useless contribution - be it standing on its own, as a question, or an answer.
I don't have a real explanation for this, it is just my guess it has to do with this modern carelessness in the Internet that came with all this facebook, twitters, and ilk. You carelessly write without thinking, click on "like" and be friends. (How do I know what I think before I read what I write?) This habit infected forums, and somehow mailing lists seem still imune to this.
2) Longevity and future accessibility
A burnt child dreads the fire. I am that child. I have seen so many forums disappear. Even Yahoo will not live forever. Google groups limited their service and killed files shortly after their birth. Whole websites vanish. Geocities died, aolhome, fortunecities. (Okay, a different case, these latter rarely had forums, I just want to point out the treacherous belief in durability of anything that relies on the Internet alone.) Lists and NNTP servers powered by the right system will always be able to export their complete contents in standardised mbox format. Afaik even Yahoo cannot do this. But every person having it in their Mailbox can. This way, famous Glorantha Digest (and some more) survived and can be brought back in any form, like here in HTML:
All these lists (and no forum here!) are still here because they survived long after their corresponding sites, owners, and contributors ceased to exist or care. Forums can't do this. You can save it for the afterworld without any difficulty.
3) UsabilityJust look at the screen shot I did of my mail client in list view. Do you really want to compare this to the chaotic way of stumbling through a forum?! Come on, get back your senses!!! I find every posting in an mbox in a fraction of the time and mouse clicks, than I would need in a forum - entirely independent of Internet access - even offline!!
4) AccessibilityIndeed some users already mentioned it: It is not only their need to be online all the time, most companies prevent access to game sites. Moondesign, Glorantha, Mongoose etc. included. I never experienced mail being filtered like that.
Moondesign has every right to create their forum, they already did, and there is no big point to speak against it.
But I plead to keep this list, or build our own. I would be willing to host it. My personal techie-driven preference would be NNTP, but this seems to forbid itself due to limited accessibility by most users.
I cannot find ANY reason for our special community to do it in any other way than have BOTH the list in your mailbox AND be searchable in www through our own search engine AND/OR the big ones - even after its activity died - like they do it in temppeli. I never wanted anything but the best - especially if I can have it at no cost!