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MMD > Archives > August 1995 > 1995.08.05 > 02Prev  Next

Should we become a newsgroup?
By John Grant

Well, I guess this is a decision everybody has to face at some point. My personal opinion is that, in general, low-activity venues are best served by listserves and high-activity venues are best served by newsgroups. At this stage of our development we are definitely low-activity. Since this listserve is not (yet) offered in a non-digest form, we have to take to whole packet or nothing. This is not a problem for me as I would probably be interested in most anything that anyone on the list has to say. With "large" listserves, the digest form is usually necessary to keep from having to deal with literally hundreds of individual messages, even though saving specific individual messages is easier. With the digest form, I have to import the message into a text editor to save specific portions, but this is not a chore when the overall packet size is small. This is really the only listserve I would prefer to receive in non-digest form since it would only generate an average 3-4 messages a day. Listserves are also a bit more convenient to manipulate reading/replying off-line.

As noted, newsgroups are not always universally accessible. When (if) we start generating 50-100 messages a day, however, a NG will be almost unavoidable. Then will come the inevitable "spamming" from the off-topic low-lifes that are such a bane to the 'net. Some of this can be filtered by a dedicated moderator, but it's a lot to ask of whomever is doing the moderating. NGs are also an efficient way to post/exchange binary files (such as MIDI files), although I do not sense that we have a big demand (yet) for this capability. (Anybody who wants my list of available public domain MIDI files, most classical pipe organ works, just send me an e-mail.)

Jody wrote:

> I suppose that things are going well enough that I ought to write up the
> mailing list and submit it to the caretaker of the "Internet list of mailing
> lists".

Yes, please do this. Also, notices advertising the list's existence in selected* newsgroups would probably be a good way of attracting new participants, but we must always stay within your time and ability to handle the increased traffic. What would it take to set up the list to run in a more automated (less labor intensive on your part) way? If there are software costs involved I am guessing the respective Boards of AMICA/MBSI (if approached) might see the wisdom of funding such costs as a way to help spread the message.

My bottom-line vote: Keep the listserve, automate it as much as possible, and consider offering a non-digest form. Form a newsgroup when (if) the list becomes too large and unwieldy (who decides?) Nothing says we can't have both simultaneously but there would probably be a lot of duplication.

Hat's off to Jody for a continuing job well done!

John Grant <>

[ John, thanks for your thoughts on the topic and the positive feedback.
[ I've had several private messages come in today all supportive of keeping
[ things as they are. We should be so lucky that the interest level gets
[ up to the point where it becomes a burden to me. So far its not been.
[ As most of you know I program for a living. At the point where the
[ list maintenance gets to be a drag, I'll make the necessary changes, first
[ starting with automating the subscription/de-subscription process. I'll
[ probably use public-domain Unix programs available in "source code" form,
[ so the cost (besides my time) should be negligible
[ I think that the group should be moderated (which pretty much relegates us
[ to digest form, since I've only got one or two slots per day in my schedule
[ to edit).
[ I "manage" another Internet mailing list which has about as many
[ subscribers but is not very busy and is unmoderated. We had a recent
[ "spamming attack" which resulted in about 20% of the subscribers to
[ un-subscribe. I want to be sure that doesn't happen here. (For those
[ unfamiliar with "spamming", it means to send (or attempt to send an
[ unsolicited message to every address or newsgroup on the net. These
[ messages range from pyramid schemes to attempts to get people to
[ violate US export restrictions.)
[ With regards to transmission of binary files, I will soon offer an
[ anonymous FTP archive here on foxtail. In addition to the digests (and the
[ yet-to-be-written FAQ), I'd be happy to maintain online any relevant public
[ domain or shareware files. At last count I had 4.6 gigabytes of rotating
[ storage directly connected to the net (not counting the PC's and Mac), so
[ making room for some archives should be easy.
[ I'll try to take some measure to handle requests for binary files from users
[ who only have e-mail. For PC users I can send .ZIP files via UUENCODE and for
[ Mac's I can send CompactorPro files via BinHex 4.0. There are probably
[ other formats that are appropriate -- I'm willing to be educated. For those
[ of you who don't know what this is all about, I'll post a tutorial "how-to"
[ at the point where we get the archive set up.
[ Jody

(Message sent Sun 6 Aug 1995, 02:14:34 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  become, newsgroup, Should, we

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