Re: Switch to a web forum rather than email

From: Terry M. Gray <>
Date: Sat Apr 09 2005 - 12:40:35 EDT

Iain wrote:

>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.

Actually, with proper moderation such problems are easier to control
on an email forum. Posts can be deleted. Posters can edit and even
delete their own messages if they wish. On a list, once the send
button is hit...well the cat's out of the bag.

Spreading out moderator duties is also easier on a forum.

Frankly, I disagree about the "robustness" of our list. I think the
quality of discussion stoops quite low from time to time, often
degenerating into chatty nonsense and quippy backbiting.

>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.

Users aren't anonymous from the admins. Trouble makers are easier to
block on the forum. The forum would not permit anonymous posting as
some do.

The concerns about email are valid and recognized. Some people just
prefer a more "push" oriented channel. I'm hoping to have a solution
for that, but it's likely to have more of a digest feel to it.


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
Received on Sat Apr 9 11:40:42 2005

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