Re: Switch to a web forum rather than email

From: Iain Strachan <>
Date: Sat Apr 09 2005 - 04:04:37 EDT

I tend to agree with Don, and would like to have the email continued (or
available at any rate). Modern email clients, such as Mozilla Thunderbird,
and also the google Gmail web interface, have the ability to organize
conversations into threads, which makes going through a discussion on a
topic pretty similar to using a forum. For example, the Gmail interface
stores all the emails in one subject on one line in the inbox, and when you
open it, you get a "stack of cards" with just the sender name and first line
on each tab. You can open up each tab pretty much instantly, and also you
can easily search for phrases in your emails (using Google search).

Admittedly this is only for gmail users like me (though I have a stack of
invitations for others who would like Gmail - which currently only works via
invitation). In my view a web forum would not necessarily be as good - and I
have noticed in the past that the ASA archive web pages at<>are often pretty slow loading, as opposed
to the instant response with Gmail
(or indeed having the email locally on your machine).

Another point that occurs to me concerns a deliberate list policy that Terry
mentioned. I queried the fact that the Reply To: field was to the original
sender and not to the list, so that if you wanted to send to the list, you'd
either have to do "Reply All" or cc it to the list. I'd had a couple of
occasions where I'd inadvertently sent one just to the sender and not the
list. Terry explained that this was to protect the reputation of a poster
who might have made a hasty response - you have to definitely "opt in" in
order to send to the list and it might make you think twice about what you
wrote. This level of protection would be lost if you posted to a web-forum
as the default response mode. I have noticed in the past, that web-forums
can often degenerate into flame wars, and also I have noticed that
discussions in this list have been somewhat "robust". I think there may be
an increased risk of flame wars if there were a forum, and for this reason I
would be against the idea.

Another point that occurs to me is that in Web forums, posters can choose to
hide their email address, as they log in under a display name (e.g. "The
Pink Rabbit"). It seems to me that this invites trouble-makers to join in
and retain their anonymity. I would have thought that using email and having
to reveal an email address is a better option.


On Apr 9, 2005 5:41 AM, Don Perrett <>
> Hi Terry,
> Not to object to the idea, but is it possible that those wishing to have
> emails could do so, in addition to the web based. In other words, if the
> web posting script would send a CDONTS or something out to the current
> list,
> then those no longer wishing to be on the email list, could just
> unsubscribe. They then could just go to the web to check out the posts.
> Still leaving people like myself with the emails. Everyone would still
> have
> to go to the website to POST, but would have emails for reference backups
> if
> they desired. The ability to use them as an offline reference is helpful
> to
> me. I have high speed cable right now, but some with dial up would
> probably
> benefit from email even more. This is also good when sharing computer time
> with family or co-workers. This would minimize the on-web time to just
> downloading emails and then any time needed to respond to the postings of
> choice, rather than the entire time needed to read each post.
> Don Perrett
> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On
> Behalf Of Terry M. Gray
> Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2005 1:16 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Switch to a web forum rather than email
> Hi,
> I received 8 responses to my question. 6 of 8 favored the web forum
> style. 7 of 9 if you count my vote.
> I think it's worth a try--we will need to give it a month or so to
> get used to it and then we can reevaluate. I'm hoping to incorporate
> some features such as email or RSS notification of feeds. The
> software I'm currently using has a "check for posts since I last
> visited" feature that helps you track things.
> I could also send out a daily email to the list with a link to forums
> to help us transition.
> As you all know, we've been averaging 20 or so posts per day.
> Since we had such a small response, I'd like to allow for a bit more
> discussion, this time on-list. If you feel strongly about it one way
> or another (especially if you are against the idea), please post your
> opinion. Let's try not to get bogged down on this topic with quips
> and complaints but if you have a case to make one way or another
> please do it.
> I will also entertain a few questions about how it all works if
> you've never used anything like this before.
> TG
> --
> _________________
> Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
> Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
> Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
> phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

There are 3 types of people in the world.
Those who can count and those who can't.
Received on Sat Apr 9 04:07:22 2005

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