Re: [AMBER] new amber mailing list for beginner questions/mailing list for advanced users&bug reports

From: Jason Swails <>
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2018 11:44:44 -0500

Hi Paul,

On Mon, Nov 26, 2018 at 4:15 AM Paul Westphälinger <> wrote:

> Hallo dear Mr. Case and everybody,
> my question is simple, would it be possible to create an amber
> mailinglist strictly for questions about tutorial and installation as
> well as other questions about how to use the program?

My activity on this list has scaled back drastically since I stepped away
from my role with Amber, but while active I read most (to all) of the
messages coming over the mailing list. There are still people that do.
While this idea has appeal, and other projects actually have something like
this, I doubt the traffic volume over this list justifies splitting off yet
another email subscription.

There is already a (very low-traffic) developer list for communication
specifically regarding Amber development. This list typically sees no more
than 5 or so threads started per day, peaking at maybe 20 total messages.
But a decent mail client will group all emails on the same thread together,
making threads you're uninterested in pretty easy to ignore. I never
really had much trouble wading through all of the emails pretty quickly.

> My reasoning is as follows: I like to stay informed about bugs features
> and other important topics concerning amber or MD in general, but my
> inbox is full of questions about compiling amber and why something in a
> tutorial does not work. (example from today: "Hi I want to download
> latest force field. (GAFF). Please provide the link to download. With
> regards ...")
> From my experience trying to report bugs in amber, I also get the
> impression that developers probably don't pay a lot of attention to the
> mailing list, simply because of the amount of this kind of beginner
> questions makes it very hard to differentiate between important messages
> and the rest. Wouldn't it be sensible to split these two topics into two
> mailing lists?

A few observations here:

- While there are a fair number of active developers, there is typically
between 0 and 1 people responsible for particular pieces of
code/funtionalities (much of the code has no 'dedicated' maintainer
actively working on that code). The lack of developer responses to many
questions is probably unrelated to the beginner traffic on this list. It's
probably more related to the fact that the person with the required
expertise isn't in the habit of responding to the list -- something that is
unlikely to change if we add a smaller list.

- 'Good' or interesting questions on the Amber list take more time to
research and answer than wading through all the emails sent in a day. For
instance, this response has already taken me more time to write than it
would've taken me to read all of the threads this past.

- The activity on the Amber-Developer list pretty much mirror the activity
here. The people that respond there to technical questions are basically
the same as those that respond here, and that list often goes weeks with no
traffic at all. For example, the last message on that list was on November

All the best,

Jason M. Swails
AMBER mailing list
Received on Mon Nov 26 2018 - 09:00:04 PST
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