jacmoe wrote:If I got it right, they are still hanging out at ye olde mailing list..
True, but some of them occasionally visit here. I guess most of them don't post, but read in silence
It's the same situation on the IRC channel. If you really want to know why... (sorry in advance for the rant)
The mailing lists have been the official communication channels for the project since the beginning almost 18 years ago now, and will continue to be for the life of the project. Many of the developers don't have the time to keep up on both the mailing lists as well as the forums, and the forums are optional, the mailing lists aren't. Would you rather they were spending time closing tickets, and making improvements to the library, or helping newbies with mundane questions that could have been answered by reading the manual or just doing a small amount of research themselves?
The IRC channel could obviously never serve in an 'official' capacity since even if it was logged (and it sort of it, privately), not everyone can be in there at the same time to discuss important details. That doesn't apply to these forums, but these forums have a different problem with them that the mailing lists don't have that keeps them from ever being an 'official' communication channel. There's some aspect of forums that is so much easier to sign up and post on when compared to the mailing lists that there's a much larger flood of much younger newbies jumping on asking even more mundane questions, and giving nonsense responses to discussions (I don't mean to offend anyone here, but it's just the truth). This would quickly become a nuisance in serious discussions about library architecture. It already is on the mailing lists from time to time, but not nearly as bad as it would be here.
In any private company working on closed source software, the solution is simple: you filter resumes, and fire any that get through that become a problem. Very little of the discussion about development is done openly. In an open source project, you need public communication, so you do what you can to keep development moving along as smoothly as possible. You just have to deal with the egotistical 16 year olds, especially when there's usually no indication that you're talking with a 16 year old until it becomes obvious based on technical knowledge and behavior. Anyway, one of the things open source projects can do that statistically helps with those problems is to make your official communication channels mailing lists instead of forums.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate these forums (quite obviously based on my post count and wxAwards), and they do provide a very important role in the wxWidgets community. By now, they've probably been solely responsible for most of the adoption growth of wxWidgets in the last 3 years (it was growing slowly before, but I doubt it would have grown at the rate it has without the forums). Developers come here and learn about the library, how to use it, and a small portion eventually even dive into the wxWidgets source code and contribute back. Some may even eventually become official developers. It has also helped myself from time to time when I just needed a fresh set of eyes on my problem to get it figured out when no-one on the mailing lists were able to help.