Please check the status of this specification in Launchpad before editing it. If it is Approved, contact the Assignee or another knowledgeable person before making changes.


This specification describes how we wish to attempt to improve the signal to noise ratio on the ubuntu-devel list by restricting unmoderated posting to developers and the creation of a new (unmoderated) list for non-developers.


The ubuntu-devel list has become noisy, with too many "suggestions" and "feature requests" from non-developers. The drop in signal to noise makes it hard for developers to both keep up with the list and use it for actual development work.

Use cases

  • Joe is a busy developer who needs to keep current on actual developments in Ubuntu but can not deal with the current traffic on ubuntu-devel which contains a lot of suggestions, (misplaced) bug reports and wishlist discussions by non-developers.


The scope of this specification is limited to ubuntu-devel and it's replacement. Signal to noise degradation is however a recurring issue and the ideas in this specification (or similar ones) may need to be applied to other Ubuntu lists.


The ability to post to ubuntu-devel should be restricted to members of the ubuntu-dev and ubuntu-core-dev teams. Post from other people will be moderated. The list archiving policy will not change - ubuntu-devel will still be publicly archived.

The initial moderator will be Jono Bacon, but he will be working to recruit a team of moderators so that the work can be distributed (over people and timezones).

A new list, that can take on the current 'noise' traffic from ubuntu-devel, will be created that is unmoderated and has open subscription and archiving policies. It will be called 'ubuntu-devel-discuss'. The subscriber list will not be copied, people will individually choose whether or not to subscribe to the new list.


  • Once a day a script will be run which will pull out of launchpad the email addresses of members of ubuntu-dev and ubuntu-core-dev.
  • These email addresses will then be synced automatically with the moderate-whitelist for ubuntu-devel on The sync should be non-destructive so that a manual list of additional addresses to whitelist can be maintained in paralell (e.g. for upstream developers we work closely with).
  • A new ubuntu-devel-discuss list will be created
  • The change of moderation policy of ubuntu-devel and the existence of ubuntu-devel-discuss will be announced on ubuntu-devel-announce
  • The new moderation policy will then be applied to ubuntu-devel

Unresolved issues

Pulling the email addresses out of launchpad can be done by webscraping, but ideally there would be an XML-RPC interface with which to obtain this information. James Troup will investigate the possibility of the latter with the Launchpad team.

BoF agenda and discussion

Several possible names for the new list were discussed, including:

  • ubuntu-devel-unmoderated
  • ubuntu-project
  • ubuntu-devel-open
  • ubuntu-devel-community
  • ubuntu-devel-freeforall
  • ubuntu-devel-ideas
  • ubuntu-devel-discuss
  • ubuntu-thundercats

While many people preferred ubuntu-thundercats, consensus finally settled on ubuntu-devel-discuss as the best name.

The possibility of leaving ubuntu-devel as unmoderated list and creating a new moderated list in its place was also discussed, as that is a practice that has been followed by several other groups (e.g. KDE and Perl hackers), but several people expressed a desire that actual development should continue to be discussed on 'ubuntu-devel' -- both so that the name remains relevant, and that outsiders or people coming to the project for the first time don't get the wrong impression by reading an ubuntu-devel list which largely doesn't discuss actual development.


DevelOnlyList (last edited 2008-08-06 16:36:54 by localhost)