SBML mailing lists and their management
A number of mailing lists with different purposes have evolved over the course of the SBML project.
The lists and their general settings
There are currently five public discussion lists. The following table summarizes some of their properties.
|sbml-announce||Ultra low-volume, broadcast-only list for announcements of high importance to the SBML community, such as new releases of SBML specifications and upcoming community events.||Restricted to specific people|
|sbml-discuss||Main list for SBML development and community interaction. Announcements of new or updated SBML-compatible software are accepted, but no other advertisements are permitted.||Any member|
|sbml-interoperability||Discussions of use and interoperability of all software that supports SBML. LibSBML questions and other topics are perfectly acceptable here.||Any member|
|libsbml-development||Technical discussions specifically about libSBML and its development, including requests for new features and questions about its operation.||Any member|
|jsbml-development||Technical discussions specifically about jsbml (a new Java SBML library) and its development.||Any member|
|sbml-svn||Automatic broadcast-only list receiving mail whenever a change is committed to the SVN repository. (There is only a single list for all changes to the SBML project.)||Automatic for any project member|
The column Mod.? indicates whether member postings are shown immediately without moderation. The symbol means moderation is turned on and every posting has to be approved by a human; the symbol means no moderation is needed for members. (In all cases, postings by people who are not members of the lists are always moderated.)
New members of all lists initially have their moderation status set to "true", meaning that moderator approval is needed before their postings are passed through to the list. This is done even for the unmoderated lists because it is frequently impossible to tell whether a new registration request comes from a spammer or a legitimate user. So we generally have to let registrations through. By setting initial moderation to "true", we can be sure that postings from the people are legitimate and not spam. Once we see that a person is a real user, we set their moderation flag to "false" and thereafter they can post directly to the list.
The web interfaces to the lists
All of the public discussion lists have web interfaces for people who prefer to interact with them that way. The web forums require registration for posting (but not for reading, which is accessible to anyone).
An important point to remember is that the Mailman mailing lists and the web forum system are independent, and do not share registration databases. They don't even share moderation interfaces. There are some important consequences of this.
- When people register for one, they are not automatically registered for the other. This is a source of confusion for new members but there is no easy way to integrate the separate systems.
- Posting behavior is asymmetrical. If a person posts to the (Mailman-based) mailing list, the posting will show up on the web forum without additional moderation steps needed on the web forum side, because the list forwards directly to the web system. However, if someone posts to the web forum, their message will need to be passed through moderation twice: once on the web forum side, and once on the Mailman list side. (Exception: some of the mailing lists are unmoderated for members, so if someone used the same email address in their registration for both, then if their message is allowed from the web forum, it will go to the list immediately without the need for separate Mailman intervention.)