[ros-users] ros-users mailing list volume

Tully Foote tfoote at osrfoundation.org
Mon Sep 22 19:01:17 UTC 2014

Hi Everyone,

I'd like to please repeat the request that we keep discussions of ROS 2.0
on the ros-sig-ng-ros
<https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/ros-sig-ng-ros> mailing list. It
is true that ROS 2.0 is an important topic for the whole community and I
highly encourage everyone in the community to be involved and join the SIG
mailing list. Everyone's participation is important.

The ros-sig-ng-ros mailing list is not a trivial number of subscribers at
126 and all these people have demonstrated interest in participating in the
process. Joining a SIG mailing list takes less time than writing a well
thought out reply to the discussion.

The reason we are using the separate SIG is such that we can have the
discussions there in the open in a place which anyone can choose to opt in.
Although it is important to make these topics and discussions visible to
the entire community we must respect the people who do not have time to
follow the ins and outs of every detailed discussion. The ros-users mailing
list is the best way to reach the entire ROS community and if the volume of
emails gets too high people will drop their subscription or start
automatically filtering the emails. The strongest piece of feedback that we
get at OSRF about ros-users is that it's too high volume and that people
have unsubscribed or automatically filtered it out of their inbox because
they do not have time to keep up. This feedback has come from a large range
of people including students just learning ROS, to people who work full
time on robots using ROS.

>From July's metrics report we have 1758 ros-users subscribers (including
people automatically filtering the messages in their email client) but we
have 8572 users on answers.ros.org and 49,153 unique IPs. Using active IPs
as a lower bound on the number of users that indicates that ros-users has a
maximum penetration of 3.6% of all ROS users. As ros-users is our main
channel for communicating with the greater ROS community we would like the
level of subscribership to be notably higher.

Keeping the above statistics in mind, we suggest that when starting a new
conversation, first start it on a SIG mailing list. If at any point you
determine a wider audience might be interested, send a short notice email
to ros-users inviting people to join the conversation if they are
interested. Google groups allows you to subscribe to particular threads of
a mailing list only, allowing you to pick the email threads which interest
you. Finally, if any consensus or proposal is reached on the SIG mailing
list, the conclusion can be summarized on ros-users.

It has been suggested to generate high level summaries of the SIGs
periodically for posting to ros-users at . Unfortunately Google Groups does
not provide API access to google groups we can use to automate this
process. If anyone knows a way we can set this up that would be great,
please contact me.

Please keep these goals in mind when choosing where to post. Although it
would be great if everyone could participate in all the discussions in
detail please recognize that many people's inboxes are overflowing and we
don't want to push them away. For reference to read this one message
(approximately 600 words, and assuming average reading speed of 300 wpm)
will take an average reader around 2 minutes. This will take the subscriber
list 58.6 hours to read collectively. The recent discussions on the ROS and
Web Clients discussion is ~ 5000 words which will take ~16 minutes per
person to read through. Across the whole ROS community will cost the
community 488 hours, the equivalent of 3 months of an individual's work.
Obviously these communications are important and need to happen, but we
need to understand that not everyone can devote a significant fraction of
their inbox processing time to ROS discussions and we don't want to push
them to leave our main communication channel where we can send out
important updates and community announcements.

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