[Using newer forms of technology to collaborate
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2017 11:21:12 -0800 (PST)
The value of an email list is that it is immediate and spontaneous. It’s 
conversational. People can post humorous comments without trying to figure out 
what forum board they go on— you just post. It’s an asynchronous discussion 
which some people find confusing but most email readers will group or mark 
threaded messages. 

Forums are fixed which is an advantage because you can easily find topics in a 
list of topics, but you have to go there and see if there are new posts or to 
respond to a post. Responses depend on when someone signs in to read posts--on 
all the topics. I like support forums very much when I have a questions about 
features or bugs.

Fred has run this list for 20 years (?) using Mailman which is an independent 
email list management software. He maintains the archives and arranges messages 
by topic. As long as we have Fred, we have a list and archives. I don’t know if 
he has a backup manager for Mailman or not. When he is away, Ann Zabaldo and I 
watch for any problems with posts on the list — trolls, brawls, etc.


The service I have found to be fabulous is It is relatively new and 
is designed as a service for businesses and associations. The free service has 
an incredible number of features. If a group grows and needs the paid and 
customization services, it can. There are only charges if the storage for files 
is larger than a generous allocation.

Every list has a main group and can also have subgroups. Members of the main 
group can join any of the subgroups. This makes it very easy to monitor 
subscriptions for members-only lists. I survey the memberships of about 10 
separate email lists for Takoma Village. All members of the lists have to be 
approved (another task) but there are often former members on those lists. And 
new members often don’t know about the smaller special-interest and team lists. 
For example Parenting, Allergies, Acoustics, Exercise Room, etc.

The subgroups are optional. Their files section does count toward the maximum 
storage allocation for each list.

Each list comes with a calendar, a wiki, a database, photo gallery, 
files/folders, and chats.

It supports hashtags and each subscriber can mute topics by subject line. Dog 
walking, for example, I can mute because I am totally unlikely to walk dogs.

It has integrations to several other services like Slack. I’m not familiar with 
these so I can’t remember the names.

Subscribing only requires an email address and a passcode. Not the name of your 
first born or favorite pet or third grade teacher. No marketing. It will be 
supported by the paid subscriptions.

The transfer process for a list on another service is seamless. My list of 
almost 3,000 members and an archive of 8-900 messages a month for 13 years 
transferred without a hitch. sends a message to each member about the 
change and automatically transfers the membership settings. All files can be 
transferred if you want to keep them.

It is much easier to manage than Yahoo or Google groups. A very clean interface 
and fewer clicks to perform tasks.

To view all features:

The founder, Mark Fletcher, has an interesting bio and is a man who loves email 
discussions. His blog post on why he started

His Old Pretentious Bio:

The new bio is only a picture of him, his wife, and two young children. He 
appears to be surprisingly young given his experience.

Development is more like that of an open source project than a private 
enterprise. There are several open lists on development, for list managers, and 
bugs and new features. People are welcome to participate or lurk on the beta 

Takoma Village is in the process of discussing a transfer but I have other 
lists on the service. In addition to the 3000 member list, I have an 
international list that has new subgroups for Spanish, 
Portuguese, and French—they aren’t really active yet.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.