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The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)

by Masem (Monsignor)
on Nov 07, 2001 at 20:14 UTC ( #123839=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

There was chatterbox chatter yesterday commenting on an idea about some summary of PM for those that are busy at various times. That comment got me thinking about a possible project (yeesh, yet another one) that could be useful.

Update If you are interested in this further, please see The PM Weekly Development Mailing List.

The idea is that through some techniques (see below), someone (probably me) could develop a PerlMonks Weekly Newsletter similar to what is done on p5p that simply points out and summarizes some of the more interesting nodes. This letter could be sent to a one-way distribution list, and can also be cataloged on the web. This way, for those that, say, go on vacation, or have a rather busy at work that they can't make time for PM (wha...!?!), they can still keep up to date on some of the key points that are probably worth their while without having to sort through more of the trivial points on the site. While no hard or fixed numbers would be used, at most I'd think maybe 15 to 20 summaries of nodes would be included, with appropriate linkage for easy reading.

That said, the mechanics of chosing which nodes are 'interesting' is the difficult part. Interesting nodes need not be Best Nodes, and typically, I find a large number of nodes that I find interesting lacking on even the daily Best Nodes list. So I don't even want to consider a Best Nodes placement as some indicator. I could judge which nodes are most interesting, but what I find most interesting, others mind find boring, and vice versa, so one person shouldn't have this job alone either.

So the main 'engine' of the PM Weekly is to have a large number, between 15 and 30, sufficiently dedicated readers of PM on a daily basis use a restricted interface to select nodes that they might find interesting; when it's time to compile the newsletter, one'd simply tally the votes and choose the ones with the most votes. Of course, editor's discretion can play a role ("Why is that homework question rated so high??") but assuming the choice of selectors is good, this shouldn't have to be used very often. Just in case, I'd also have a comment field that those selectors can fill out in case the entry might raise eyebrows. Selectors would have no fixed number of votes that they could place, but it would be expected for these people to use reasonable choices. Again, there's no fixed number of summaries that would have to make it to the newsletter, but no less than 10 and no more than 30 seems reasonable.

The newsletter could also contain items that aren't necessarily obvious, such as a new user list, the ascentions of Monks (at least, for ascentions past level 3 or so), and possibly using the PMstats to generate a list of upcoming bdays.

From this backend standpoint, as well as the delievry (mail, web) this sounds like a nice simple project that also allows me to get a bit more into some XML work as well as clean content delievry. It's probably a quick weekend project, but dangit, Civilization III is out... :-)

However, if I build this, and find that only 5 people use the newsletter, I'd be a mite upset. So I'm more tossing these ideas out to help refine them as well as to see if there's an interest. To avoid PM spamming, if you think you *are* interested in recieving this, but have no further comment on the ideas above, just msg me or email me with that. However, additional comments should be posted below.

Dr. Michael K. Neylon - || "You've left the lens cap of your mind on again, Pinky" - The Brain
"I can see my house from here!"
It's not what you know, but knowing how to find it if you don't know that's important

  • Comment on The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)

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Re: The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)
by ajt (Prior) on Nov 07, 2001 at 20:50 UTC
    Masem has an excellent idea here. I must admit that as much as I scan Newest Nodes, Best Nodes and Worst Nodes I must miss most things going on.

    I think that there are two elements to this proposal:

    • Sound tecnhical implementation
    • Useful and interesting editorial content

    Assuming it's possible to get the process correct, and the it's not too nasty a load on the editor(s), I think I'd love to see Masem's column as a node in it's own right, and when busy as an email.

    If it works well, then we could have one or more "columns" from different people at different frequencies. That way you simply chooses the editor that you like the style of.

    Anyway, my humble 2p.

Re: The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)
by suaveant (Parson) on Nov 07, 2001 at 20:27 UTC
    Although using Best Nodes is not the best way, definately, a more general way to pick out nodes that have generated a lot of interest could be the entire thread's rep... then you would pick up the Best Nodes and the Highly discussed nodes...

    Of course, I am in now way suggesting this is better than a human hand, but it might be a good base to start with... or it might even just make for a good section in PM such as Best Threads... just a thought.

                    - Ant
                    - Some of my best work - (1 2 3)

Re: The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)
by Maclir (Curate) on Nov 07, 2001 at 20:25 UTC
    Sounds a useful idea. These could (should) be archived on the PM site, so we can refer back to them over time. Maybe have the "newsletter" as a node that cannot be commented on by mere mortals?
      although.. is there anything so wrong with allowing comments? Similar to the way the Voting Booth allows comments. Maybe have it be like the front page though, where it just says how many comments, without listing them all automatically :)

                      - Ant
                      - Some of my best work - (1 2 3)

        If comments were permitted on the newsletter page, people may tend to comment on the individual nodes listed and not the overall newsletter. This will disjoin the comments made on the newsletter node from the original nodes they are referring to. Perhaps a summary of the node as described with a link back to the original node for details and further comment would be an ideal solution?

        Excellent idea, Masem!

Re: The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)
by feloniousMonk (Pilgrim) on Nov 07, 2001 at 21:58 UTC
    I would definitely go for this idea

    Maybe I'm a masochistic monk but I would like to see maybe
    the top 20 or so (as you mentioned) but with the
    rest of the links at the end of the message, kind of "I
    don't have time now but might later..."

    Just a thought.

    -feloniousMonk --
Re: The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea progressed!)
by Aristotle (Chancellor) on Nov 08, 2001 at 16:56 UTC
    The idea is excellent - however, I would suggest this not be distributed by mail. Rather, ideally it would be posted in a special area on this site only editors have access to.

    My exact proposition, not knowing how much work it would entail to implement, is as follows: there'd be a "PM Weekly" link at the top, the node it leads to would be locked to replies, and would of course come with links to the previous and (if you're reading an old issue) the next PM Weekly, plus the archive which lists all issues.

    The newest PM Weekly issue in progress is almost a regular node, but with the following features: Only the chief editor can post one. It starts life as a node hidden to non-editors - the editors can read it and reply to it (presumably posting a link to a node along with a comment, but also commenting on each other's posts). The editors can vote on submissions simply by using the voting system of PM. The chief editor can view the node sorted by votes of the 1st level replies (so at the end of the week when he edits the toplevel node he doesn't have to manually sort the submissions). He also has a "Publish" button: it locks the node to further replying, makes it world-viewable, sorts the 1st level replies by votes, points the link at the top of PM to this issue, places it in the archive, and sends a /msg to all users who asked for it in their settings.

    As far as I can tell, it's the most flexible mechanism and the only new feature it requires is the chief editor's Publish button, otherwise it only uses mechanisms that already are in place. Editors can comment on each other's posts, allowing for (literally) editorial content. You can see who submitted which node, and how many votes the submission got.
Re: The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)
by jepri (Parson) on Nov 08, 2001 at 03:31 UTC
    I had been thinking for a whole of doing something similar to the "kernel cousin" issues. In any case I'd subscribe.

    I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

Re: The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)
by TStanley (Canon) on Nov 08, 2001 at 06:07 UTC
    This is an excellent idea, and one that I would like to participate in.

    There's an infinite number of monkeys outside who want to talk to us
    about this script for Hamlet they've worked out
    -- Douglas Adams/Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Re: The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)
by petral (Curate) on Nov 08, 2001 at 20:42 UTC
    What the ant said above.  It's interesting threads that are easy to miss.
    There are summaries in the p5p weekly newsletter, but there are also brief
        "Simon brought up Unicode which lead to lots of interesting discussion.
         No conclusions were reached.  The thread starts here."
    sort of things which sometimes are even more helpful.

Re: The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)
by mitd (Curate) on Nov 09, 2001 at 07:38 UTC
    This idea has merit but I tend towards cautious skeptism. Once the content of PM is put through an 'Editorial Filter' it will reflect the editorial leanings of the appointed person or committee.

    This is not to say that Dr. Neylon and committee would provide an unbalanced view. Dr. Neylon has a history of informed, knowlegable and thoughtful commentary. I only caution that it is an editors job to edit.

    So I say do it, but it must be kept independent of PM community a 'private enterprise' if you will. Then publish and let the community decide its worth.

    So would I subscribe to a PM Newsletter? Sure, as long as it fullfiled my needs.

    mitd-Made in the Dark
    'My favourite colour appears to be grey.'

Re: The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)
by strredwolf (Chaplain) on Nov 08, 2001 at 08:09 UTC
    While all of these are good suggestions, I MUST put in a word about spamming folks.

    First of all, doing it without concent is *BAD*. You are wize enough to ask for requests first.

    Second, but more important, not getting a confirmation of that request is just as bad. Spammers with retaliation on the mind are known to sign up antispammers to single-opt-in lists. Also, not running a confirmed opt-in list is illegal in some states (YEOWCH! See for details). I am not a lawyer, but a once of prevention is worth a pound of Bubba being shoved up several places you don't want a cellmate to be in the first place. XP

    So be careful. Let me know if you need any help. I've done a confirmed opt-in in Perl. UPDATE: Masem tells me that it'll be confirmed opt-in via majordomo (Quote: Masem says don't worry -- other mailing lists that I run are strictly opt-in (eg: majordomo open+confirm) ).


      This is not a problem if it is an option to be selected from the user's settings: noone else has (or should have) access.
        It's still a problem. Ebay's been known to pull a "oops, we had to reset these settings due to a bad server configuration...." just to spam, and that's opt-out.


Re: The PM Weekly Newsletter (Idea in progress)
by princepawn (Parson) on Nov 09, 2001 at 16:29 UTC
      The only problem with OSDN is that if I do do this, I would be running it off my poor 200mHz, 128kb/s upstream box/connection. (Mind you, I do have space over at as well, but I don't want to shift the CPU/bandwidth problem around without some argeement) For a once-a-week mailing, certainly not a problem for my box, but if we go through OSDN, I would expect a rather large traffic surge. In addition, I don't know how OSDN handles the ownership aspects of list it advertizes; those that are already there are already part of the OSDN network, and I'd really rather not consider having my lowly server on that.

      Dr. Michael K. Neylon - || "You've left the lens cap of your mind on again, Pinky" - The Brain
      "I can see my house from here!"
      It's not what you know, but knowing how to find it if you don't know that's important

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