looking for alternatives to long email conversations
From: Marcia Zuckerman (marciazuckermanmac.com)
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2020 05:38:01 -0800 (PST)

I’m at Bay State Commons (Malden, Mass).  We just broke ground, and are open to 
new members, but that’s not why I’m writing. 

We currently have extended conversations by e-mail to discuss issues around 
planning the building, which sometimes become contentious or high-volume. It's 
good that we have a way to hear the range of opinions and brainstorm solutions 
outside of our twice-a-month consensus plenary meetings.  But the email 
discussions also have disadvantages, such as:

- Some members are overwhelmed at the volume
- Conversations can provoke polarization via perhaps-unintentionally 
inflammatory statements, which aren't smoothed over as readily as with 
in-person conversations
- Members with more free time on their hands have an outsized contribution that 
might not reflect the group's overall sentiment, yet may color the perception 
of what the "consensus" is
- It can be very confusing to track where the conversation is if it splits into 
multiple threads
- Members feel stressed by the pressure to keep up, and feel they can't step 
away in case their silence is equated with agreement with whatever is being said

We’re thinking about other options.  We’re a mix of techies and technophobes; 
some people could set up Slack channels, but others would likely avoid 
discussions there because chat can feel even more urgent/stressful, or because 
they don't understand it.

Most people in the group do okay with Google docs and spreadsheets, so we're 
thinking about that, as well as surveys or forums. Have people found good ways 
to have discussions through Google docs? What other methods do people use?

Marcia Zuckerman
Communications Committee
baystatecommon.org <http://baystatecommon.org/>

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