[NAFEX] Membership, focus, journals, etc...the face of NAFEX

Scott Smith scott at cs.jhu.edu
Thu Feb 14 10:57:43 EST 2008


Heres my take on the membership issues.

1) The board should be free.  If you look at the "competition" in this  
arena you will find GardenWeb and Daves Garden.  GardenWeb is far more  
popular because you don't have to pay to see posts or the archives.  I  
post mainly there because it was the first fruit forum I found on the  
web, and it has the most readers.  Their arrangement is paying members  
don't have to see all the annoying ads.  Personally I was drawn to  
NAFEX membership by finding this list when searching on various topics  
brought up posts in the archives.  Several other people have already  
stated the same thing.  So if the archives were closed, what seems  
like the major source for new members is closed as well.

2) I like the idea of an electronic membership at a level cheaper by  
the cost saved for printing and mailing Pomonas.  CRFG offers a  
similar arrangement.  For people in real financial need I don't think  
it is worth making a membership level for them.  One way some  
organizations do is to allow anyone to petition for a membership fee  
waiver based on financial need; I support that idea.

3) This mailing list needs to be upgraded to a more modern bboard.   
Bboards can be designed with low overhead so modem users don't get  
frustrated.  One organization similar to NAFEX is seed savers.  They  
just launched a forum and I think it is a good example of what NAFEX  
could do:  http://seedsavers.forumco.com/  Notice that you need not be  
an SSE member to join, and you don't even need to create an account to  
search the archives.  That board is new and has little traffic up to  
now, but I think a NAFEX board would start with lots of traffic due to  
all the people already on-board with this list.

4) There should be some recognition of members on a bboard.   Some  
forums have members-only areas.  I would say the best idea is to  
identify NAFEX members vs non-members beside their posts.  There are  
several commercial bboards that make their money this way -- people  
become members because they want  to become part of the club they  
notice other people have joined.   One such site I frequent is  
pizzamaking.com (a great resource for making your own pizza by the  
way).  You will see around one-fourth of  the posts are by paying  
members; payment there gives you absolutely  nothing extra besides  
some stars beside your posts that you are a paying member - no  
magazine, no annual meeting, no nothing.  But even with that, one- 
fourth of the people are paying $25 per year.  I expect a NAFEX bboard  
would do a lot better than half.  Another idea is to have a scion  
exchange forum with access for members only, another reason to entice  
people to join.  The  BYFG group in Pennsylvania has an active scion  
exchange between members.

Scott





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