[all] One month with openstack-discuss (a progress report)

Jeremy Stanley fungi at yuggoth.org
Thu Jan 3 19:41:52 UTC 2019

First, I want to thank everyone here for the remarkably smooth
transition to openstack-discuss at the end of November. It's been
exactly one month today since we shuttered the old openstack,
openstack-dev, openstack-operators and openstack-sigs mailing lists
and forwarded all subsequent posts for them to the new list address
instead. The number of posts from non-subscribers has dwindled to
the point where it's now only a few each day (many of whom also
subscribe immediately after receiving the moderation autoresponse).

As of this moment, we're up to 708 subscribers. Unfortunately it's
hard to compare raw subscriber counts because the longer a list is
in existence the more dead addresses it accumulates. Mailman does
its best to unsubscribe addresses which explicitly reject/bounce
multiple messages in a row, but these days many E-mail addresses
grow defunct without triggering any NDRs (perhaps because they've
simply been abandoned, or because their MTAs just blackhole new
messages for deleted accounts). Instead, it's a lot more concrete to
analyze active participants on mailing lists, especially since ours
are consistently configured to require a subscription if you want to
avoid your messages getting stuck in the moderation queue.

Over the course of 2018 (at least until the lists were closed on
December 3) there were 1075 unique E-mail addresses posting to one
of more of the openstack, openstack-dev, openstack-operators and
openstack-sigs mailing lists. Now, a lot of those people sent one or
maybe a handful of messages to ask some question they had, and then
disappeared again... they didn't really follow ongoing discussions,
so probably won't subscribe to openstack-discuss until they have
something new to bring up.

On the other hand, if we look at addresses which sent 10 or more
messages in 2018 (an arbitrary threshold admittedly), there were
245. Comparing those to the list of addresses subscribed to
openstack-discuss today, there are 173 matches. That means we now
have *at least* 70% of the people who sent 10 or more messages to
the old lists subscribed to the new one. I say "at least" because we
don't have an easy way to track address changes, and even if we did
that's never going to get us to 100% because there are always going
to be people who leave the lists abruptly for various reasons
(perhaps even disappearing from our community entirely). Seems like
a good place to be after only one month, especially considering the
number of folks who may not have even been paying attention at all
during end-of-year holidays.

As for message volume, we had a total of 912 posts to
openstack-discuss in the month of December; comparing to the 1033
posts in total we saw to the four old lists in December of 2017,
that's a 12% drop. Consider, though, that right at 10% of the
messages on the old lists were duplicates from cross-posting, so
that's really more like a 2% drop in actual (deduplicated) posting
volume. It's far less of a reduction than I would have anticipated
based on year-over-year comparisons (for example, December of 2016
had 1564 posts across those four lists). I think based on this, it's
safe to say the transition to openstack-discuss hasn't hampered
discussion, at least for its first full month in use.
Jeremy Stanley
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