Mailing Lists and Journals
Since subscribing to desktop-devel and gtk-devel a few weeks (months?) ago I often have the desire to respond to some particular topic. I usually don't though because I feel like there are too many issues I don't understand and I find that when I think of my initial reactionary response, a few days after I might have posted, it is usually less insightful or helpful than I originally felt it was. It seems as though this Advogato journal will be a good middle ground alternative for me - an opportunity to give somewhat thoughtful, somewhat reactionary responses.
I think this is possible because Advogato is intentionally personal - my journal is my journal. Often on mailing lists I have the impression that everyone feels they must argue their particular case; as a result discussion quickly degenerates into criticism of who was unfair to whom, who was misrepresented, who wasn't consulted, the list goes on... Mailing lists are public forums where each voice tries to be heard above another. Posts which provoke response co-opt the entire mailing list. A journal on the other hand, is also public, but it invites rather than challenges. If people want to hear what I have to say they come to read it. If they disagree, its in a less confrontational manner and we can discuss it. If they really dislike it, they can avoid it.
Now having said that some journals can also be used in the same way as flames in mailing list and I have vague recollections of skipping journals like that when I browsed through Advogato journals before joining. Additionally, when I joined two days ago, I explored the site a little more thoroughly and for the first time discovered the "Recent Diary Entries" link which I had previously assumed was a heading to the journal entries below it. When journals are viewed this way, its a little more like a mailing list where you just get a barrage of messages irregardless of who wrote them so you may end up reading more inflammetory pieces. Still, even in this case, the nature and frequency of journal postings doesn't build up to the level of flame threads because the responses are less frequent and not directly linked into a theme-like hierarchy. Dilution makes it less potent and therefore less irritating.
I wrote some more about a specific issue on desktop-devel but the html form entry won't accept the entire journal so I'll just post this for now. I'll have to look into other ways of entering a journal soon.