Should we move "volunteer" discussions to an email list? | General Discussion & Questions | Discuss

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Should we move "volunteer" discussions to an email list?
July 31, 2012
2:06 pm
Rochester, NY
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Forum Posts: 103
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February 7, 2012
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We added a forum to this web site to encourage discussion, because we wanted visitors to see that we're making progress and because it would help our search engine rankings.

But it has issues. Only a very small fraction of us who are actively working on getting a maker space started are using it.  It's also had some bugs and usability issues since the developers completely rewrote it a few months ago. There are also many things we want to say or share that aren't important enough or well written enough to put on the web. And there are some things that should maybe discussed a little less publicly.  

So I'd like to create a "Volunteer's Mailing List" that anyone can join without approval. We actually already have one. A Google Group was created months ago but we never really used it. So what I'm really proposing is that we add a link to it on the menu bar and encourage its use.

The new list would be in addition to the "Important Announcement" email list we already have. And we would continue to use this forum for many things, like introductions, announcements, research and topics that we want to get wide input on.

I'd also like to prune (delete) some of the topics in this general discussion forum that aren't very important or don't have long-term value. My goal is to focus our visitors attention on the topics they might find the most interesting or useful

I've also been wondering if we should create a "off-topic" forum for chatting or telling everyone what you are working on. 

What do you think?

July 31, 2012
4:58 pm
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Forum Posts: 19
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June 23, 2012
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This sounds like a good idea to me. What I'm afraid of happening, though, is that there will be too many places for people to be involved in. Already there is the the blog and the discussion boards and the email list. If people aren't inclined to participate in the first two, then let's use the third.

How about this, instead of creating a new mailing list for volunteers, we can use the list we already have going (people signed up to get announcements… calls for volunteers would qualify) and maybe once or twice a month at most writing a brief email saying "hey, this is what we've been up to, here's our next steps, we could use help with x, y, or z and if you'd like to lend a hand, here's how." But I'm afraid if we start a new list, then we're starting from scratch and potentially will lose people who signed up a while back and forgot that we were here.

July 31, 2012
5:59 pm
Guest

I am with Jon on this. Also, is there a way to give the discussion list more visibility on the home page. Don't mean to criticize it, but it could be more intuitive and easier to access IMHO.

July 31, 2012
6:37 pm
Rochester, NY
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Forum Posts: 103
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February 7, 2012
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I promised subscribers to the "announcement" list that we wouldn't bother them unless we had something important to tell them (meeting announcements, occasional status updates, urgent appeals, etc.)  So we can't use it for everyday discussions.  

Also, the new mailing list wouldn't be for everyone, although anyone would be welcome to subscribe to it.  It's primarily for those who are actively involved in getting us started (you, me and about 4 or 5 others right now), those who are very interested in getting involved (3 more), and those who really want to know what's going on.  We would continue to post here on the forum or on the blog when appropriate. 

I think it would be a easier and more effective way to discuss things. Email is easy to monitor and and use while this forum requires you to make a "special trip" here to read it. 

I'm open to other suggestions or just leaving everything as it is.  I just think we need an easier way to have discussions. 

July 31, 2012
7:06 pm
Rochester, NY
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Forum Posts: 103
Member Since:
February 7, 2012
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John, I love criticism of my web sites.  I can't get better unless someone points out my mistakes or suggests a better way.

I could change the name in the menu bar from "discuss" to "discussion forum" or something else.  I can also move the list of recent forum posts to a different location and make the list longer or shorter.  And I can add the date of the post, the poster's name, avatar and some other things to the list (which tends to make it harder to read but I can try playing with it again). 

What do suggest?

July 31, 2012
7:24 pm
Guest

The first item (renaming) & making the list longer would work for me. But only if it is not alot of work on your part.

Sorry to be so nit-picky. Would not want you to adjust this site for everyone that has a gripe.

July 31, 2012
8:40 pm
Rochester, NY
Admin
Forum Posts: 103
Member Since:
February 7, 2012
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No problem.  It only took me a minute to increase the length of the list to 10 posts. I also made the change to menu plus a couple of more.  I also changed "Blog" to "Blog / News".

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