OpenSSL project is considering to close this mailing list

Tim Hudson tjh at
Sun Mar 19 21:20:43 UTC 2023

On Sat, Mar 18, 2023 at 4:10 PM Dr. Matthias St. Pierre via openssl-users <
openssl-users at> wrote:

> Reading through the replies it seems obvious that the response is an
> unanimous "No, please don't do it!!"

It is to be entirely expected that those who are on a mailing list and feel
impacted if it closes are the ones that would respond - that was pretty
much the question - asking for those who would feel impacted.
Right now it is sitting at about 20-30 people who have responded. That is a
small set of feedback (given the size of the list) and the details in the
feedback need to be looked at and responded to.

There is a lot more activity on GitHub and there is a *high overlap* in the
types of items raised as issues and the openssl-users mailing list - and it
is clear that at least a few of those on the openssl-users mailing list
aren't participating in GitHub related activity - which means they are
missing out on the *majority *of the activity that is happening in the
developer community.

GitHub "watch" allows you to follow *all *the activity (which is in essence
the only way openssl-users works - you get everything or nothing and you
have to select what items you dive into and respond to).
If you are on openssl-users to lurk and you are not also subscribed
watching on GitHub then you are not actually achieving your stated
objective of watching other peoples questions and other people's answers.

You should go to and click on Watch now
- selecting "All Activity".

Quite a few of the responses from committers to this thread are interesting
if you look that the *majority *of their own responses to questions are
actually on GitHub and not on openssl-users.

The volume of traffic on openssl-users is small - and the number of items
raised for which there is no response or there is a response which doesn't
answer the question is relatively high if you look over the mailing list
The number of GitHub issues for which there is no response after 24-48
hours is pretty much non-existent.

Those who are commenting about GitHub itself going away being a reason to
keep an email list are also missing the point in my view - the majority of
the developer-contributing community is on GitHub and interacting - and if
GitHub should ever disappear we will simply relocate to a replacement.
GitHub's APIs are open and migration and gatewaying into GitHub is a
straightforward process - and that is an *entirely separate topic* from
keeping or closing openssl-users.

Issues on GitHub cover a wide range of topics. I don't think there is a
single topic on openssl-users that isn't also in the GitHub issues - except
for a small amount of announcements which are sent to openssl-users *and *

- if you are simply lurking, then you should be watching GitHub issues as
you are missing the majority of the interactions
- if you won't go to GitHub regularly and simply want to see things in
email, then you should be watching GitHub issues as you are missing the
majority of the interactions
- if you are responding to questions and you are not also responding on
GitHub and would cease to contribute if openssl-users disappeared then
please speak up - the majority who have responded indicating a preference
for the mailing list are also highly active on GitHub

It would be useful to understand who is on the mailing list and not already
watching on GitHub - I'm taking an educated guess here that it is a
non-zero portion of openssl-users (and probably many of those are lurkers).

One thing we could look at doing is adding a label for GitHub issues that
denote them as user questions rather than developer questions (as those are
all intermixed both on GitHub and on openssl-users).
Having an email gateway that forwards just issues containing such a label
might be useful for non-developers - it would serve the purpose of
lurk-only users.

That leads to another question - what is the mix of developers /
non-developers on openssl-users - a question to which we don't have an
What is the mix of those who answer questions to those who ask questions?
And of those who answer, what portion is not also active on GitHub?

Remember what the question was:

We are seeking input on this potential change if you are currently
actively contributing on openssl-users mailing list discussion and *you*
*believe such a change would substantially reduce your participation in*
*the project*.

The majority of the responses so far aren't indicating that this change
would result in a reduction in participation.
There are people pointing out they prefer email - but the majority of those
people who have responded so far are also watching GitHub issues and are
also responding to GitHub issues.

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