This list's user experience ( was Re: discuss Digest, Vol 34, Issue 12)

14 Jul 2006 - 12:10pm
651 reads
Dave Malouf
2005

HI gang,

partially speaking as admin here, but also some non-admin stuff.

<admin>
background of our list:
We host on dreamhost (dreamhost.com). They give us a shared hosted
environment for relatively VERY little money and included in that shared
service is access to a shared Mailman solutoin. Mailman is an open
source email discussion list software product.

Because it is a shared resource we do not have an ability to customize
this solution as much as we and our users would like.

http://www.gnu.org/software/mailman/index.html

The link is to the GNU project page. Anyone who wants to make an impact
on this solution should feel free to join this open source project and
devote some time to it.

For IxDA's part we are working on making extended offerings that might
help people better use this list. We are taking a very iterative
approach but even with our current plans, resources are still so limited
as to make any affect within as timely a manner as we would hope. There
is a team working diligently and figuring out how to scale that team to
be more effective is one of the IxDA's board's highest priorities.

an example of where we are heading was done by Jeff Howard and its most
public version is available at http://www.howardesign.com/exp/ixd/
Check it out.

If you'd like to work on a larger scaled solution, we are always looking
for volunteers and you can let us know you are interested at volunteers
(at) ixda.org

there is also a Nabble.com IxDA list interface which is at
http://www.nabble.com/ixdg.org-f2305.html
</admin>

Now that being said, I'd like to point people to Christina Wodke's
report back of a recent BayCHI event about Groups by Christopher Allen
(http://www.lifewithalacrity.com/) at
http://www.eleganthack.com/archives/notes_from_baychi.php

I like how Christopher analyzes online groups and I think there is some
really useful information about design group interactions in the report
back.

One of the big ideas that is not in Luke's initial thoughts is
reputation management. I know that BoxesandArrows.com is working with
their system to include reputation management as part of their offering
and to me in a group this active is something key to its future success.

Removing non-conversational topics such as announcements and job
postings would also be good, or at least having clear tagging/labeling
mechanisms for them so they can be more easily filtered (i.e. ignored).

A model that I have a love/hate relationship with is the basecamp
"Messages" model where you post via a web browser, but consume via
e-mail through their notices/alerts system. There is a link in the
e-mail to respond (just opens up a web browser to the right place). The
advantage is that all the messages are stored and easily accessible and
there are redundant yet different mechanisms for consumption and retention.

I find that e-mail by itself is not going to be a long term solution. A
web-based solution that offers an e-mail API where appropriate is
probably a longer-term solution.

Are there any existing solutions that people like?

-- dave

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