Re: [was How does your community handle internal communications?
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2016 05:08:56 -0700 (PDT)
I do know that some or many people are hugely disturbed when unrequested e-mail 
appears in their mail reader.  I personally have no difficulty rapidly skimming 
among the messages, and focusing on the ones I care about; I don’t need a robot 
to screen and suppress for me.  But then again, I get only 100± a day, not 

Philip Dowds
Cornerstone Village Cohousing
Cambridge, MA

PS: I sometimes wonder if the complaint about “too many messages” is really a 
proxy for “I feel guilty when I try to ignore community business, so I wish I 
didn’t get so many messages that imply I should be taking an action or 
participating in a decision."

> On Sep 19, 2016, at 10:44 AM, John Sechrest <sechrest [at]> wrote:
> For those of you with a gmail service, you might want to know about the
> <MORE> button on the top right, which has a "mute" function for email
> conversations. Which gives you a poor-man's version of mute thread in
> On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 11:12 PM, Beverly Jones Redekop <
> beverly.jones.redekop [at]> wrote:
>> #7 sounds amazing!!!! That would solve most of the "too many messages"
>> issues.
>> "7. Each subscriber can mute a message thread. Like the recent gardening
>> dispute or the nanny requests, one can select mute and not see any other
>> messages in that thread. Your own groups page shows what threads you have
>> muted."
>> On Sun, Sep 18, 2016, 12:46 PM Sharon Villines <sharon [at] 
>> wrote:
>>>> On Sep 18, 2016, at 2:39 PM, Beverly Jones Redekop <
>>> beverly.jones.redekop [at]> wrote:
>>>> An hour away, at Groundswell Cohousing at Yarrow Ecovillage, we use a
>>>> Google group email too. In the footer of each message is a link to the
>>>> "cheat sheet" with links to everything (calendar, community dinner
>>>> schedules, guidelines for using our wastewater system, members of
>>>> committees, minutes, etc...). A lot of this will move to a new website
>> or
>>>> strata software "soon," but we've been using the Google group for seven
>>>> years.
>>> A new platform for group communications is They just
>>> transferred my ~3000 member neighborhood list from Yahoo without a hitch.
>>> All settings remained the same. They also transferred the 12 years of
>>> archives — the list now receives ~900 emails a month. They can’t transfer
>>> files. We had watched YahooGroups decline in services and reliability for
>>> years but exploration of Google resulted in the conclusion that it was
>> not
>>> much better and we couldn’t transfer easily.
>>> also sent a message to each subscriber explaining the change
>> and
>>> only one person has asked me what the address of the new group was. 1 of
>>> 3,000. I assume I will get more questions later from people who don’t
>> read
>>> or post often, but that was amazing. People love the new list. (I’m still
>>> looking into transferring our cohousing lists.)
>>> I pasted in two messages below  that I sent to my list about why
>> Groups.IO
>>> was better
>>> was recommended by a list member. I’ve been exploring it and am
>>> considering moving the list there. It has many advantages:
>>> 1. They will transfer the whole list and our archives. I have assurances
>>> from other groups that this has been done for their much larger lists
>>> without a hitch. There are no storage limits except for files and
>>> attachments. We don’t allow attachments and don’t use the files often.
>> But
>>> the limit on those is 1 GB.
>>> 2. The list works very much like YahooGroups with many more features.
>>> 3. People can sign up using only their name and email address — no
>> account
>>> set up. No email account. No phone number.
>>> 4. People can be automatically be removed from moderated status after a
>>> set number of approved messages. This will be a great service to
>>> moderators. (We moderate new members to prevent spam.)
>>> 5. We escape from the Yahoo mistake of making us a restricted group so
>> new
>>> members are automatically approved. Removes the appearance of being a
>>> elitist list.
>>> 6. The list can have unlimited subgroups. An example is a travel list
>> that
>>> sets up subgroups for those who take specific trips or have visited
>>> specific countries. Then the list members can find people who went on
>> that
>>> trip or that country or ask questions. Anyone on the main list can also
>>> subscribe to subgroups.
>>> On TakomaDC people frequently have set up separate lists for children’s
>>> issues, sales, crime, Metro Development. That would not be necessary they
>>> could be subgroups of the main list.
>>> 7. Each subscriber can mute a message thread. Like the recent gardening
>>> dispute or the nanny requests, one can select mute and not see any other
>>> messages in that thread. Your own groups page shows what threads you have
>>> muted.
>>> 8. For those who use #hashtags, they can be used in messages to make
>>> searches for those messages are easier. I once tried to search for Takoma
>>> Station Tavern, but it was impossible. There were too many messages for
>> the
>>> Takoma  Metro Station, Takoma gas station, etc. There were hundreds of
>>> messages. #Takoma Station Tavern would have been possible to search. Of
>>> course not everyone would use these, but … Hashtags that have been used
>> are
>>> available on the group’s webpage.
>>> 9. A Wiki. A wiki is an organized information resource like Maggie’s List
>>> that all subscribers can update. If “all members” becomes a problem, a
>> few
>>> can be authorized to do this.
>>> 10. A calendar, where you can schedule events and send reminders. We
>>> haven’t used this often but did use it one year when we had few trick or
>>> treaters and wanted people to know where there would be treats.
>>> 11. A poll feature similar to what we have now.
>>> 12. A full featured database, where we can define tables with different
>>> column types.
>>> 13. Photos and files sections.
>>> 14. A good business model. This ensures there will be no ads and that
>>> features won’t be withdrawn because Yahoo has a new CEO The focus of
>> Groups
>>> IO is specifically making the best email list service available. For $10
>> a
>>> month more features are available including 10 GB of storage. It is
>>> unlikely that we would need this but I think we could easily get
>>> contributions from subscribers equal to $120 a year.
>>> More information:
>>> I’ve received questions off-list about why better than
>>> If groups can be so clear and simple, why can’t
>>> YahooGroups? You would think they would improve themselves the same way.
>>> The answer is that Yahoo is not focused on groups. No one knows what they
>>> are focused on, but it isn’t groups. They do the least they can, and even
>>> eliminate features, to retain enough group members to raise the most
>> money
>>> possible. If a feature makes users happy, but doesn’t increase income
>> over
>>> costs, it is eliminated. Does that hurt anyone? The day they summarily
>>> deleted all attachments to messages? To 10 years of the history of an
>>> organization?
>>> isn’t a charity or volunteer organization either. Instead it
>> has
>>> a good business model that is focused on its key product. It offers free
>>> services to groups to attract and develop the possibilities of groups. As
>>> businesses and social groups become more developed and need more
>> services,
>>> they pay an affordable fee for those services: $10 a month. In time,
>> there
>>> will be more services, I’m sure, as the founder, the staff, the
>>> moderators, and the users have more needs or see more uses for groups.
>>> There is active interaction between the founder, other programmers,
>>> moderators, and  users.
>>> The founder of, Mark Fletcher, is a programmer, not a CEO hired
>>> for management skills, although he has lots of  those and a history of
>>> leadership in software companies: founder and CEO of the news aggregator
>>> website, Bloglines, and the Vice President of until June 2006.
>> (Ask
>>> Jeeves acquired Bloglines on 8 February 2005.) He won one of the annual
>>> Rave Awards, presented by Wired magazine.  He has been a software
>> engineer
>>> at Pixel, Inc.
>>> Fletcher started the free mailing list service ONElist. ONElist merged
>>> with eGroups, which was later acquired by Yahoo! in June 2000. Fletcher
>>> wanted better. He loves mailing lists and saw more uses for them.
>>> Announced in September of 2014, here is Mark Fletcher’s statement of
>>> purpose:
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> -- 
> John Sechrest      .  Need to schedule a meeting :
>                                   .
>                                        .
>                                                .
>                                                          .
>     sechrest [at]
>                                                                       .
>                           @sechrest  <>
>         .
>               .
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