As the above graph shows, ignoring spikes, there has been a steady uptrend in the growth for usage of the Drools user mailing list. One of the things the core developers are proud of is our community support, we try our best to answer all emails and to date have mostly succeeded in this endevour. However it now seems there is a constant stream of emails and regrettably we are no longer able to reply to all of them, the community itself is starting to answer more of its own questions which is helping a little, but many questions are now going unanswered.
I know that myself I tend to work in bursts, scanning the unanswered messages and replying where possible. Obviously the less vague and easier to answer questions tend to get replies. So now more than ever if people need a response they need to be more diligent in how they phrase their questions and the supporting information they supply.
A little while ago we put up on the mailing list page a few pointers on how to have your emails ignored, its worth repeating those here:
- Start the email with “URGENT”
- Tell everyone how desparate you and how you need an immediate response for your really important project.
- Don’t wait a minimum of 3 days and resend your email within minutes of hours.
- Send emails directly to mailing list members, especially the developers.
- Paste pages of code and then say “it doesn’t work, please help”.
- Paste a long stack trace and say “it doesn’t work, please help”.
- Start your email with “please sirs” or include “do the needful”.
- Ask dumb questions that are in the manual.
- Ask basic java questions.
- Ask questions about JRules
- Reply to an existing thread but starting a new topic
- Start your email with “I’m a member of the drools mailinglist, so please answer me”
- General begging and pleading
- Say some thing to the effect of “Please tell me how I can call a function on the LHS. (hurry my assignment is due today!)”
The positive side is that it shows the Drools community is growing, so we must be doing something right, and as we become unable to answer all questions more people wil have to turn to support subscriptions from JBoss with guaranteed response times – so hopefully this will atleast make my managers happy 🙂