Sunday, July 15, 2007

Open letter to Blogpower

Members, we have had many situations on our hands and this is the latest.

Membership has suddenly split into two parts - the 19 or so people who have joined Yahoo and the 30 or so members who are not in Yahoo.

I always knew this would happen which is why I opposed a closed mailing list as a second discussion venue - not because the mailing list is a problem in itself but because I knew that it would become a second forum and from fora inevitably comes policy.

This in fact is what has been happening in these last two days.

Ideas such as new members being on 6 months probation before approval by the older members and other fundamental issues, even those the members have already thrashed out by due process and have a policy on, seem to have reached the consensus stage with about seven members taking part in the discussion.

Only one of these was an admin.

Meanwhile, the wider membership has no idea this is going on. This is why this blog has been to date the accepted forum for policy formulation. A glance through the archives will show that everyone has had a chance to comment.

Admissions Policy - it was agreed that any person wishing to join us contacts Ian Appleby [look at our sidebar]. Members have enough faith in him to use judgement in putting the name to the Pending List. If he feels there's a problem, it's put to the admins and then to the membership if it seems to be an issue.

In all this, Ian Appleby only ever acts with the interests of Blogpower overall in mind. It doesn't need regulations and policy documents and the like. We are a small, homely club. It was accepted by members by virtue of no opposition being expressed to it.

If noone expresses any objections to the new member, that person is in. That was what was decided and settled but now, it seems, is up for discussion yet again in certain quarters.

So the real issue this Sunday is who formulates policy in BP?

I state strongly that the membership does. Members express ideas on our forum here and if there seems to be some support for an idea, the admins take it up, formulate a proposal and put it back to the membership. Any problem with that?

Which membership?

The full list - every last one of them, not just a small group of political bloggers of a certain bent.

Where should policy be formulated?

In a place to which ALL members have unfettered access [including for technical reasons].

If the wish of members is that the policy forum shifts from this blog to the mailing list, [thereby making this blog moribund], then it's an all or nothing proposition. All members need to be in that mailing list or else they've been disenfranchised.

Therefore there are two clear choices:

1] The policy formation remains here, where it always has been until this weekend; or

2] All members should join Ian Grey's Yahoo mailing list and do it soon, within the next week.

Absolutely no policy formation should take place in a closed forum away from the Blogpower site until such time as all members are:

a. in one place;

b. au fait with how to go in and out of that place freely.

Discussion is fine, debate is better but deciding that something will be policy is another animal altogether.

As one of the founding members, I hereby recommend that all members get themselves into the Yahoo group as soon as possible, by clicking on this url:

and going through the signing up procedure which I did yesterday. It's really not arduous. If it's a current member, Ian Grey will immediately approve the person.


Lord Nazh© said...

Until everyone is joined to the mailing list, all policy discussions should be copied to this blog. That is the purpose of this blog after all.

Comte de Straf-Bastille said...

Yet again I find myself agreeing with you.

Matt M said...

It wasn't my intention to split the group, or formulate policy - I merely thought that the Yahoo group was a good place to kick around some ideas. But you're right and in future I'll confine any suggestions to the comments section of a post here.

david said...

I have to say had I know Ian Grey was a member of the club I wouldn't have joined and this split he's kicked off seems to justify my view.

Baht At

Lord Straf-Bilderberg said...

Matt - it will go to the Yahoo because I agree with you that it's easier from there but we must all try to get everyone in there first.

As for your ideas, they're excellent and I don't know why you're not an admin. We need you.

Matt M said...

Lord Straf-bilderberg,

When I get back to blogging properly (beginning of August, probably), I hope to be more pro-active when it comes to Blogpower, as I know I've been a bit slack about the whole thing so far.

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I have been following the discussion at yahoo groups, but when I registered, I presumed it was a simply a mailing list. Is it possible I can change the email address registered there, so I can comment there?

Lord Straf-Bilderberg said...

Follow the link in the post, Crushed and you're in.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

i had no idea this was going on. I registered with the yahoo groups and thought that I was in the blogpower group there as I did it via IG's link. But I checked just now and I'm not. I found it quite arduous signing up in the first place and now it's asking me to go through a load of rigmarole again to join the blogpower group. I thought it was going to be simple? I do think that this blog should be the forum for discussion and policy. I have no problems with any of the policy that you have outlined above, James.

Shades said...

Crushed, I think you are thinking of a receive-only mailing list, sometimes called an announcement list. Whilst Yahoo will do that, it wouldn't be a discussion list then. You can set up other emails from YahooGroups- choose "my account" underneath the welcome message and you'll find it under edit member information.

Baht-at (if that is you) it is your choice to join, or leave. I have no idea why you have a downer on me.

Welshcakes, just send an email to and then you don't have to mess about with any registration or validation. A few members are on the list that way and whilst it doesn't give them archive access, they will get to see what is being posted via their inbox.

Shades said...

Re the joining by email- Yahoo does send you a confirmation query that you have to reply to before you go into the pending approval. You used to be able to turn that off but I can't see the setting now- probably too many problems with automated & spam registrations.

Lord Straf-Bilderberg said...

Ian, that is precisely the point. By sending to the:

... it doesn't work. This is what Lady Macleod and I both did and it got nowhere. We received a message onsite here that we were close but not yet there.

When I switched tactics and sent to:

... suddenly I was in and able to take part in the discussion.

I can't say why the technophobe address didn't work because I'm a technonincompoop.

All I know is that the otehr address given - the techgroups address - worked.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi. I already did that and then I got all the confirmation emails and so I'm signed up to yahoo groups but I don't seem to be in the blogpower group.. I want to see the archives! I'll go over again in a mo.

Lord Straf-Bilderberg said...

Welsh, to be fair to Ian, once you actually make it in, it's pretty easy but you have to go to the left sidebar and click on messages. Just under that link is "Post". It's pretty straightforward. Sit and look around the page awhile - that's how I did it.

Shades said...

James/Welshcakes- I tried registering my work email via the technophobe address today- it sends you an "are you sure?" style of confirmation, although this got caught by our spam capture product as a "may be spam". I suspect that is possibly what happened with all of you- the 7 day confimation email may well be sitting in your spam folder. The "you are close" was my words- you said you had done it but it hadn't turned up yet.

Welshcakes, you are in now.

Another point- the mailing list archives can be made readable to all and sundry by browsing with a couple of clicks- if that is what people want.

Lord Nazh© said...

If we ever get around to actually voting on whats what, I vote for the blog instead of the group.

A mail group defeats the purpose of this blog and makes BP a more 'non-public' group of people as it was billed before I joined.

One of the best things about BP was you could find out all about it before you joined, not after.

lady macleod said...

I have gone back and registered again as I was not in (gasp). I have missed all the excitement. I do so hate it when that happens.

I agree that all policy issues should remain here until and when everyone is registered at yahoo.

MJW said...

I've signed-up to the Yahoo group, going to make more of an effort to get back into the loop. Blogging activities have been fractured lately due to other commitments.

Matt W said...

I see that the Yahoo group is up to 31 now.

Imo it doesn't matter what we do, as long as we do it decisively and stick to it.

Personally I like yahoo groups as they stay in the same place and do the polls and things. You have a bit of pain at the start but then they usually just work - even for non-geeks.

On blog comments it is more difficult to trace old discussions.

But - as I say - either can work. As a newbie, I will not be commenting on policy matters (beyond this comment) until a working setup is complete.

So - choose one and stick to it, and make it clear that that is where policy is decided.


Matt W said...

One bit more:

On Yahoo Groups, we could make the archives public - then we could read the list in RSS.