Mailing lists for specification of enhanced metadata in Java SE 8

Neil Richards neil.richards at
Wed Jul 25 04:15:04 PDT 2012

Hi Alex,
Thanks for your reply. 
It really helped to clarify how the two-list (-experts & -observers)
approach operates.

By observation, it seems that most activities in OpenJDK have used the
(unified) -discuss model for their mailing lists, which is why, I guess,
I'm unfamiliar with this alternative.

In general, I haven't noticed conversations in these forums spinning
wildly out of control due to rogue input from the ill-informed, but as
I'm not claiming to be an expert, perhaps my spidey-sense is not attuned
to it.

Perhaps experts for other language-related lists such as lambda-dev or
mlvm-dev might have a view on whether running discussion on a single
list is unduly painful in this respect ?

The few exceptions to this one-list way of doing things (in OpenJDK)
seem to be those mailing lists directly related to specific JSRs.
There the division between experts and observers is clearer, I suppose:
experts are those on the Expert Group of the JSR, observers everyone
(i.e. for JSRs, the mailing list structure just reflects that coming
from the JSR itself).

But as you're looking for this activity to be covered by the Java 8
Umbrella JSR (337), I'm not sure this makes sense here, as I don't think
you're suggesting the membership on -experts is that of 337's EG.
(In any case, 337 already has its own mailing lists).

Also, in a two-list approach, I guess I'd still hope that the experts at
least follow the traffic in the -observers list. Otherwise, there's not
much point to discussing things there as there'd be scant chance of any
good input in -observers getting adopted by the experts.

Having said all that, I very much appreciate the notion of holding the
design / spec conversations on a separate list to those for its
implementation in OpenJDK, so thanks for looking to cater for that.

Please don't interpret what I'm saying as active hostility to what you
propose. I suppose it's just that I suspect you may not gain that much
from the overhead it introduces.

Incidentally, will the list of experts for this work map to some OpenJDK
artifact, e.g. membership of an OpenJDK Project, or something ?
Will it be clear how new people might apply / be proposed / join these
experts ?
(The OpenJDK Bylaws lay out the mechanics of how this is done for
OpenJDK artifacts, so it's all clear how this would work if there is
such a mapping).


On Tue, 2012-07-24 at 13:10 -0700, Alex Buckley wrote:
> Hi Neil,
> On 7/24/2012 9:23 AM, Neil Richards wrote:
> > Hi Alex,
> >
> > Once created, will these mailing lists appear (for subscription) on
> >, alongside the other (existing) lists ?
> Yes.
> The only reason there are two lists is to stop people from subscribing 
> to -experts and diverting the experts' discussion. This is a non-trivial 
> problem wherever Java language design is involved. I realize it's not 
> the friendliest thing in the world.
> > Is your intent that (the traffic on) both mailing lists are publicly
> > archived, or is -experts traffic to be more "closed".
> Both lists are publicly archived. There are no secrets on -experts. 
> -observers is simply the mechanism by which -experts is followed if you 
> want an email record. If you want to read on the Web, just visit the 
> -experts archive.
> > Would you expect the experts to subscribe to both lists, so they can
> > see/respond to discussion in -observers ?
> There is no expectation that members of -experts follow -observers. This 
> is analogous to the pair of lists for the SE 8 Expert Group.
> > Would you expect interested observers to subscribe to both lists, so
> > they can see the pronouncements of the experts in -experts ?
> Interested parties can't subscribe to -experts; that's the point. If 
> they want an email record, they subscribe to -observers, which receives 
> a copy of everything on -experts.
> > Do you expect the traffic on -experts to be moderated, whilst that on
> > -observers is unmoderated ?'
> Yes.
> > I'm trying to understand the working distinction between these two
> > lists, so I understand (as an interested observer) how I should interact
> > with them.
> You effectively cannot interact with -experts. In email, you can only 
> see its traffic via -observers, which you can comment too.
> Since sending out my proposal, I have been wondering whether it's 
> simpler to forget all about it and instead have a single 
> enhanced-metadata-spec-discuss list. Anyone could join and read and post 
> and leave as they wished. There would be no moderation. Posters would 
> still need to sign the OCA before making material contributions. I don't 
> know whether drive-by contributions from non-OCA signatories on a list 
> populated by mainly OCA signatories will raise legal issues. Comments?
> Alex

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