[nafex] Changing the list???
gsmiller at cet.com
Sun Apr 21 01:05:26 EDT 2002
It's been an interesting week as I catch up on email. There has been some
discussion regarding changing the list. There is no perfect solution, and here are my
COST. The point of cost was raised by members of the NAFEX board. There was
some support of the idea that a list funded by NAFEX should be restricted to NAFEX
members only (with some exceptions for closely allied organizations.) I'm not sure
this is an improvement, although this is understandable in that the vast majority of
NAFEX members do NOT participate in this list, and asking them to fund access for
nonmembers is beyond the expectationsl of most organizations. This creates all
kinds of subscription authentication issues. I don't know what Larry London would
charge. If the board doesn't want to fund the list and there is a charge, are the +/-
250 list members willing to pay an annual fee for access in exchange for archives
and no ads?
TOPICALITY. Although there have been some "off topic" posts (most of which I
delete after reading the first few) this hasn't been a huge problem. But one of the
major forces in the creation of the list was the total drift in subjects when this
originated as a USENET group. Will there be someone to keep people on target
with the ability to remove them? NOTE: I haven't banned ANYONE to date, but in a
wide open system can we count on the same?
ACCESS. Two issues here are usability and selectivity. I haven't commented on
the issue of usability to date (in part because it's worked for me) but Lon added to
me a Topica list where I never received ONE message and it kept telling him that I
was an invalid email address. I don't blame Lon, as he went to extreme efforts to try
to fix things. I suspect there are problems with every email service. As far as
selectivity, there have been questions since day one on who should be allowed to
join the list, trying to balance a broad resource of information to support of the
NAFEX organization. Needless to say, NAFEX doesn't need to lend its name and
support to an entity that may serve to erode its membership. Currently you have to
be a member of NAFEX, a similar interest group, or highly motivated to find this list.
SEARCHABILITY. Although net based searchability might sound good, that means
the email harvesting programs will be able to see your email address. Get ready for
some serious spam! I have an email address that I use for USENET that is used for
posts only (delete all received mail as 99% is spam) but I would hope I wouldn't
have to go through that hassle.
ARCHIVING. With large disk capacities I save everything I think might be of remote
interest and use my email program for searches. There are some posts I really don't
need to ever see again (e.g., without substantial global warming there are some
plants that aren't going to grow in Spokane outside of a greenhouse) or are topics
not of interest to me. I don't think it's that big a problem to revisit topics, as that
pretty much describes the history of the list anyway.
SUPPORT. Although not too demanding, I do from time to time get questions that
require human intervention. That would fall to the new list administrator.
SPECIAL FEATURES. Although not use by all, Yahoogroups does allow posting of
pictures or other attachments at the web site. (I understand this is a problem for
some.) But there is no way I am going to open an unsolicited attachment via regular
email no matter how nice you people might seem to be.
I view myself as the simple caretaker of this list. I think I have done an OK job so
far. I don't get paid and I never expect to. If the time has come to go to another
system, I am agreeable, but people should understand that once the change is done
it is tough to go back, and change doesn't ensure an improvement. I would suggest
that at a minimum any change should be free, unpublicized (except through
POMONA or similar interest group publications), automated, and managable by a
NAFEX representative. Larry London's list might fit all of those criteria.
As Dr. Natelson has suggested there should be something substantial to gain before
changing. I think that is advice worth following.
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