[SLED] Change this LIST?

Waters, Thomas C waterstc at pitt.edu
Tue Jul 22 09:13:38 PDT 2008

I realize this is a dissenting view and won't receive much support..

I really question if forums are "slower to deal with."  From my perspective, the need to read an email subject line, and determine if I keep or delete is a time consuming process.  I quickly scan subject lines but if I added up the minutes this takes, it is not insignificant.  A forum may seem a slower process, because one's engagement with it is different, but not necessarily differing in the actual time it takes.  The number of posts I save are truly small, and the times I have gone back to look for something.. Can count on a single hand.  For me, when there is a really great post I need to keep, it is often something I put in delicious, or I add an entry to a blog so that others in my school are made aware.

The problems with most forums, is that they are designed for lots of user input, but lack good search capabilities.  But then, my email client, Entourage, lacks really good search capabilities as well.  But at least with a forum (or a list that has archives) it is easy to look for things in the past. As for posts ending up with the wrong topics, that is not really different than emails where the topic changes, but the subject line remains the same as it was.  In otherwords, these are issues on any system, email or forums.

One thing I get from this thread (and agree with BTW) is that people create a process of gathering/ storing this info that works for them.  As we are all busy people, time is limited and most people would prefer to keep their system as is- they know it works for them (or it doesn't) and staying with what they know seems more valuable that a new potentially improved tool.  And I'm for that.  It is just intriguing that a community of people interested in using innovative technology, are so hung up on an archaic tool like email, when the use of Wikis or blogs with good search capabilities has so much to offer.

In the old days, in my experience, lists functioned better when people followed some netiquette which appears to be gone.  Like, never post to the list, just to say  "Thanks" or "nice post" or "I agree."  Even if these are truthful, they add nothing to the information- the value of the content.  They are warm fuzzies that are better sent to the poster individually.  This list is a very social, warm, and comfortable list, where people freely offer warm fuzzies and kudos.  That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but does increase list traffic.

I am glad that having multiple email accounts works for many people, and I think the suggestions to use a separate gmail account makes a lot of sense.  Good tip. But in reality, all that is is the creation of a local copy of a forum.  So, if even 10% of the list did that- how many copies of emails are being archived?  Duplicated content, poor use of storage space.  Easy for the end user to manage, but duplicated effort.  The pros may outweigh the cons, but the cons are real none the less.

Like many here, I have found a way to work with the list so that I get real value from it, and the community here is tremendous.  Staying the same or changing, I'm grateful for everything and everyone who makes this such a great source and space.


On 7/22/08 11:30 AM, "Alto Xeno" <alto.xeno.sl at gmail.com> wrote:

Total agreement, Gavin. I discard messages that don't interest me or are transitory ("tea party today!"), archive those that I might want to refer back to, and use some filtering. Forums are slower to deal with and unless they are really well moderated (few are IMO), postings wind up in the wrong topic areas or people cross-post heavily in the hope of getting attention.




On Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 11:34 AM, Gavin Dudeney <gavin.dudeney at theconsultants-e.com> wrote:

I find if it's a forum I have to go along to the website, log in, look for possible threads of interest and then explore them. But what happens if someone posts something of interest in a thread whose title doesn't grab me - presumably I miss out? I like the way the list works right now - I never have a backlog - I read those messages that interest me, and discard others after a quick scan of the first few lines. Occasionally I reply when I have something to add, or a solution to offer. I think I might be much more lazy were it a forum.


From: Michele Ryan

Subject: [SLED] Change this LIST?

After over a year of reading the daily messages from this list, I believe that it we should start to consider other alternatives. Like many others have commented over the past year, the content has certainly changed. I am starting to think that a forum style would be better.

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