Wikis don't seem to do all the stuff I want. First, AFAIK
they require you to check the wiki all the time to see new
stuff. This isn't bad when you're building a knowledge
store, because then you can find new information when you
need to look at it, but it isn't as conducive to a
Mailing lists are good because people can forget about them
when they're quiet, but when someone posts, you're
immediately reminded. You have big flags showing when
someone is asking a question... you don't have that built-in
on a wiki.
So, I think there are definate places for mailing lists.
They haven't been replaced by wikis, and I don't think they
will be. They serve different needs.
But I'm not just interested in mailing lists.
Mailing lists are everywhere, and they're pretty easy to put
up. What I'm interested in is the egroups infrastructure.
It's insanely easy to put together a new mailing list, for
one thing. But once you do, you get all sorts of tools:
- A file area.
- A calendar, which would make it even easier to schedule
things than a mailing list.
- Little flatfile databases you can use, with predefined
schema for address books, recipes, FAQs.
- Polls, included automated shutoffs, result counts, etc.
- Automated mailing of faqs and such
- A chat room
You get all this stuff for every list, without having to put
the pieces together yourself. Now, most lists I've seen
don't use all that, but it's there, and easy to use
if the group decides to. And you can take advantage of
everything without having the knowledge to set it up, and
they all have pretty decent interfaces.
It's just like sourceforge. Sourceforge gives every project
tons of tools, which they may or may not use, but they're
more likely to because they don't have to develop or install
those tools themselves. And the release of the sourceforge
code means you can set up your own targetted project
groupings on your own machine.
I want that kind of thing for free software mailing lists.
A wiki isn't a replacement for all that, although it would
certainly be a good tool to add to the list. (After all,
people could want their own wikis for their groups... less