|Accessibility of Community Records||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)|
|Date: Mon, 4 Sep 2017 05:59:02 -0700 (PDT)|
I started this message in response to the Gather program. I pulled it out because it became so long the response to Gather was buried. Some people like living in the present and are perfectly happy repeating history because they don’t know it’s a repeat. They just go along. Others like to glean information and confirm information. We like records. And find them incredibly revealing and useful. So the choice of a good system for maintaining searchable information is important. Without completeness, it is reliable. And without searchability, it’s like a library with no catalog or cross indexing. I’ll repeat a story I’ve told before because it is pivotal in my thinking about all the “free" services out there. Since the beginning in 1998, we used YahooGroups as our storage for minutes and everything else. A number of years ago, Yahoo decided to strip all attachments from stored emails. Overnight we lost years and years of history. Anything not pasted into a message was gone. Years and years —— including all the early drafts and final copies of mission statements, team planning documents, photos, why this was built this way and not that, etc. It was gone with no warning or ability to transfer the information elsewhere. And what may be a new story, we set up a very, very successful wiki on Google Sites for the Facilities Team. People with no technical tolerance at all were suddenly able and willing to keep records of all the repairs and information related to systems. We now have access to a well ordered and searchable archive of information on everything facilities -- IP addresses, the location of the stored replacement feet for the dining room chairs, the model numbers for the HVAC units, the colors for the paint on the walls (you can’t imagine how many people ask for these), who did the electrical work on the old water heater, etc. All the facilities-related information in one place and searchable. But then one day, I noticed that we were at 99% of our memory limit. There is nothing in the documentation, or at least there wasn’t, about a storage limit. And Google has no provision for being able to pay for more memory. Now that we had this wonderful resource, we couldn’t even pay to keep it. Efforts to download our information and move it need more technical expertise than any of us have. And we have no place to move it anyway. GoogleSites was perfect. Now that it has proved itself, it's no longer available. That’s why I don’t trust “free" things. I've recommended Groups.io because it has a long term business plan — for a certain level of service it is free but if you need more it is there, for a very reasonable price. The support network of users and the presence of expert users is large and accessible. Yahoo’s no longer is. You are on your own. That’s why good information architecture is important. We no longer have clerks or “little ladies at home” keeping records and remembering where every piece of information is. Things have changed, but the needs haven’t. We are currently using Association Voice which is far from perfect but it is reliable and very unlikely to go away. It serves a purpose for many, many communities. And provides a living for many people as well. Money is not all bad. Sharon ---- Sharon Villines Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC http://www.takomavillage.org
- Accessibility of Community Records Sharon Villines, September 4 2017
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