Re: Accessibility of Community Records
From: Chris Hansen (
Date: Mon, 4 Sep 2017 09:13:47 -0700 (PDT)
Thanks for this Sharon!
I am a recently-appointed secretary to our Board of Directors, and have
been wondering about how other CoHousing communities keep their electronic
archives, records etc
I currently have a good personal and work-related relationship with Google
Drive, which I am paying for larger storage space. Wondering about what
others' thoughts and experiences with this are?
Also- as someone who managed a number of listservs and also lost years of
valued archives when yahoogroups made the unannounced decision to strip
it's attachments; I can't begin to imagine how frustrating losing all of
that history must have been! I'm also wondering- do you back up regularly?
How often? To a hard drive? Other cloud-based venues? Other?

On Mon, 4 Sep 2017 at 08:59 Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>

> 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 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
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> --
Chris Hansen
32 East Village Drive
Vermont 05401
+1 802 5408153

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.