Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Communicating more effectively

I'm not a great fan of conveying information amongst groups through the medium of blog comments. Being a "pull" technology it requires conscious effort to visit and it is far too easy to miss stuff along the way, especially if fragmented over several blog entries. Online forums are better, but are still "pull" based.

Instead, I'd like to propose a "push" technology- a web based/accessible mailing list, specifically the Yahoogroups offering which I have been comfortable with for many years as admin for various lists.

It is fairly flexible, with regular email based posting/distribution but also offering web access and digest/announcement only options. The list home site would be a handy place to store files, photos and useful data.

I don't see it replacing the Blogpower blog, but being more of a place slightly out of the public gaze where we can discuss policy, admin and issues in a more coherent manner (never missing a message).

It is actually open for business already- you can vote with your feet by signing up at Joining approval is turned off so you are straight in rather than having to wait for me to work out who you are and approve you.

If you wish to retain anonymity and don't have a suitable private email then I'd suggest use of a Hotmail type account. You don't need to register with YahooGroups but it adds a lot more functionality if you do.

I can also invite or enrol people manually on request, as well as attend to personal settings (e.g. daily digest, individual messages, announcements only, no email). If you'd like me to do this for you, drop me a line at ian dot grey at iangrey dot org dot uk.

I'm also happy to give admin rights to others as appropriate.

Ian Grey (First volunteer keeper of the mailing list).


Lord James Cholmondley Blitz-Higham of Straf-Dresden said...

Ian, we need the comments visible on the BNP and other matters and here is our site to do this.

Ian A has switched all comments on this matter to the last post and it seems a reasonable way of communication.

As for a mailing list, not all members wish to give up their anonymity this way. A BP mailing list was always going to be a partial list unless we make a decision on Monday to make it a requirement when joining to supply an e-mail.

Then it would make sense, further complicating the issue.

Ian Appleby said...

I beg to differ, James, I think this is an excellent initiative; I'm a member of various other yahoo groups, and they do provide a range of potentially very useful extra features as well as just a mailing list.

There is something compelling about being able to send things out to interested parties, rather than hope they happen across whichever thread is carrying a given debate. It may also be useful to have a forum which gives us the chance to wash our dirty laundry in private - yes, I accept there is value in our deliberations being transparent, yet for whatever reason, some people may prefer to express an opinion in a closed forum, whereas they may just keep schtum in an open comment thread. (Messages to the list could be made public via RSS feed if we decided that's a route we wished to pursue... would work well on Pageflakes, for example.)

Making some form of contact email address a condition of joining is not such a bad idea, not least because Yahoo groups allow one-member-one-vote polls, and so it will be easier to control than a blog-based poll, which as we have seen, is all too open to allegations of manipulation. Thst being the case, Ian, I'd recommend switching on owner approval again...

As Ian G pointed out, it is easy to create an email account with hotmail or the like specifically for this purpose if people are worried about anonymity issues within a closed mailing list, which I accept they might be.

I'm all in favour.

youdontknowme said...

If we want to talk to each other fast why don't we all just get msn messenger?

I like the idea of yahoo groups though.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Oh, god, more technology!

Lord Straf-Dresden said...

I agree, Welshcakes. The Luddite in me is aroused. However, we appear to be outvoted on this.

Gracchi said...

I agree with the Ians- Welshcakes the technology for this is simple- just a matter of signing up an email address to yahoo.

Wayne I'm not sure abotu MSN- am I right in thinking that you can only talk to one person at a time on it- anyway I have to say I'm not a great fan of anything supplied by Microsoft it has a tendency to be buggy- so I think yahoo groups is probably better personally.

youdontknowme said...

You can have multiple people talking in the same conversation if you invite them.

Ian Appleby said...

The thing about MSN and other IRC chat services is that you need people to be there at the same time. Now, if we could talk to Tom about space in Second Life... With a mailing list, the message is there waiting for when they go online.

youdontknowme said...

I think you can do the same with ICQ and Yahoo messenger. Haven't used them in a while though

Lord Straf-Dresden said...

Comments now transferred to "Issues to be decided this weekend"