Mailing lists have a lot of advantages over message boards, actually.
Their focus tends to be narrow. The participants are generally known to each other, and there is normally a base competency required to be involved in the mailing list and so the subject matter tends to be significantly more technical (and therefor interesting). They also tend to be more selective about what kinds of problems they work on, none that I'm aware of ever work on issues involving mis-configuration or user error, they aren't a public service used to educate and assist other members of the Linux community (at least not directly).
Message boards, on the other hand, deal almost exclusively education and correcting user error.
In a mailing list, when a problem is reported. Several members of the list will often try to recreate the problem in order to insure the list is supplied with accurate data, these members will lead the discussion while the other members offer advice and suggestions. Most members of the list will not participate directly unless they have expertise to offer that relates directly to that particular issue.
Last edited by dijetlo; 06-22-2014 at 10:55 AM.