Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Building communities via e-mail lists

Two related questions:

1)  Under what circumstances, if any, is it more desirable to build an on-line community using an e-mail list rather than a web-based discussion board?

2)  Can people recommend a mailing-list system similar to Yahoo Groups, but better?  Yes, I've done some Google searches, and found some likely candidates, but I value the opinions of people on this board.


Alex Chernavsky
Saturday, March 8, 2003

I maintain two mailing lists for a high school.  One is for mailing a calendar every Friday.  It's an ordinary mailing list that is part of the hosting package I use.  We have about 460 addresses. I publish the weekly calendars on the schools website but I don't think anyone but me ever views them on the web.

The other is a LUSENET forum.  We use it to report event results: sports reports, debate results, awards and the like.  We have about 200 folks on the email alert list.  This one is probably more pertinent to your question.  In nearly two years, I've only found 7 people who are willing to post to the forum.  A few others email me the reports and I post them.  Nonetheless, folks really enjoy getting the reports and I'm certain they contribute to the school community.  A further advantage of the forum is that we have an archive of information about the school and that students that otherwise would be lost.

So, the community benefits even though few of them surf and only a tiny number of them post.

I really like LUSENET but I'm always looking for a substitute.

Saturday, March 8, 2003

I am a remote worker and use a VPN connection to my office network. The problem arise when I send mail. When on VPN I use our Exchange Server, when off I use my local ISP's email server. In both cases the email server will reject all emails whith the wrong sender.

I have chosen to use my private email on all mailing lists and web forums to keep my office email spam free.

So to send a private email I have to log off VPN, log off Outlook, log on again and select my private profile. Then I can send. Needless to say, most of the time I don't bother.

Why not combine the two? I like having new replies sent to my inbox. The email could have a reply to link, which give me a web form to edit.

Thomas Eyde
Sunday, March 9, 2003

1. None. I'm signed up for a number of weekly emails with schedules, news, etc. and I don't read a single one anymore.

Monday, March 10, 2003

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