The mailing lists are the core of it all. There are a lot of different mailing lists, but plone.users (for the generic usage questions) and plone.dev (discussing the development of the core of plone itself) are the most-used ones. Now, how to keep track of them? Here's a few of the things that I tried and thoughts that I have.
Especially plone.users has a large volume. That necessitates a strategy. Not reading this list at all is an option, though not for me. Helping and getting help is important. Important for developers to learn the issues that baffle users; important for yourself if you're stuck and need an answer or new search direction fairly soon; important for plone as a support channel. A quote from a mail to the plone.users mailing list that I saw coming in just a minute ago by Larry Pitcher:
Thanks for your comments guys! One of the things I love about Plone is that so many of the core developers take the time to answer questions and write documentation.
Having a load of mails from the mailing list end up in your inbox is a recipe for disaster. Either filter it out or, better, use one of the available mail-to-news gateways to read it via nntp. The choice is then whether you'll read it directly on that news site (gmane, nabble, etc) or in a newsreader.
I tried google groups, but I ditched it. I couldn't send messages from my normal email address: google was determined to use my gmail account. Which meant I couldn't post until I re-subscribed with my gmail address to all those mailing lists. Which I did, but it was too cumbersome in the end. Instead of a quick key combo to jump from new entry to new entry, I had to select the threads and the newsgroups by hand (=mouse). Ugh. That just took too much time.
I very very very briefly tried nabble, but I couldn't find any shortcuts there: even the individual messages had to be selected by hand. Perhaps I missed something. Well, it turns out that nabble is advertised on plone.org as an easy way for people to pose a question and look for answers without needing to subscribe to the full mailing list (and subsequently learn the meaning of the term "inundation"), not as a way for core developers to follow it all.
I'm now back to the best-working combo I found out till date (which I used before trying google groups and nabble): gmane plus thunderbird. Gmane provides the nntp interface to the plone mailing lists and I use thunderbird to read it. The advantage, for me, over google groups is that I can just hit the space bar to go from new message to new message, quickly going through all the threads. I'm already noticing the difference as I'm about twice as active as in "my google groups period" :-)
My brother mentioned slrn as his newsreader of choice. I'll leave it to him to write a praise-filled blog entry about it as I haven't gotten around to testing that one out yet. I could use it as an excuse to try out old trusty pine again, though :-)
My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.
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