Harp-L Google Group

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Miriam Lefkowitz

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Aug 24, 2014, 6:29:11 PM8/24/14
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Why not THIS☝ method for Harp-L - a google group.

Facebook is a terrible idea. Harp-l messages respond to specific subjects.  A facebook group is designed for one topic only.

There is also a Forum method, like this one: www.crazyboards.org.  At this point I think a forum is too much too soon. But it is a great way for a group of people interested in a one subject, to divide up into topics. You do not have to join to read. This will bring in so many people.  If you want to post, you have to join.  And most of all - it would be much easier to search. For instance, you could have a section for Embouchure, one for Performers, one for Amplifiers, another for Tuning.  And within those sections, members can post whatever topic they want. But again, at this point, it does not make sense.

The downside with the forum idea is  it has to be hosted and then maintained by an admin. Much more complicated than the listserv.

But a Google Group is very easy to maintain. I am moderator for Freecycle and two google groups. There is very little I have to do.  The downside is it is not much different from the listserv, EXCEPT the archives are organized by title, not date. I find the Harp-L archives very difficult to search.  I am a new harmonica collector and a new harp player.  I am soaking up as much as I can.  At the beginning the Harp-L interface was very annoying but then I got used to it.  Perhaps some of the members are sentimentally attached to the current format? 

best,
Miriam


El Rey de los Super Mochomos

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Aug 24, 2014, 7:19:22 PM8/24/14
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Harp-l is currently mirrored on Google Groups.  If you want harp-l via google groups go to 

You can read it without belonging.  If you join using the same subscribed address you have for the regular harp-l group at harp-l.org you can also post from google groups.  You'd set your regular harp-l subscription to nomail so you wouldn't get duplicate list mail.  The google groups archive is not as extensive but it's growing daily.

So why not migrate the list to google groups?  Google is corporate and they would control the content of the list.  Live and die by google's sword.  The single most valuable asset harp-l has is it's archive.  Way back when harp-l was mirrored on e-groups.  Yahoo ended up buying e-groups, that entire archive became inaccessible plus the actual group was compromised due to nobody knowing who had started it and for over a decade I couldn't get Yahoo to delete it even though there were nefarious links being posted to the group.  I finally got it excised by complaining that posts there violated the terms of use of Yahoo.  We are still mirrored on Yahoo but under a replacement name which I think is harp-l-archives.  That group's content isn't really mine  in that Yahoo ultimately controls it and that archive has diminished with time but since I am the listowner of that group I can delete it if things weren't working out.  Every single post ever made on harp-l currently exists including the gapped years in the harp-l archive.  I have everything.  20 plus years of archives is no mean feat.  That treasure trove of data would not exist if we'd migrated to Yahoo or Google as our only site.  

Regarding search, DO NOT USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION IN THE HARP-L ARCHIVE, it is broken.  Use the Google custom search on the harp-l.org web page.  It's near the top and easy to miss.  That search rocks.  It works really well.  Greg Heumann had several good suggestions regarding how to make the existence of a working search more obvious to subscribers. We'll work on that as we migrate servers.  

I admin a Yahoo Group, several Google groups and a Mailman Group.  The Mailman software allows much more granular control over what's happening than the other 2 choices.  Regarding the thought that the current listowner prefers what is because it is what the listowner is used to, perhaps but understand that if the listowner is not comfortable using the list (s)he manages then what point would there be in that person being the listowner?  Absolutely none.  You might think then perhaps it's time for a new listowner and you'd be right if harp-l was losing subscribers, it's not.  We serve a particular harmonica related market niche and it's not an insignificant niche.  

Miriam

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Aug 24, 2014, 7:40:40 PM8/24/14
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I was NOT referring to the list owner, but to the members in the listserv.

El Rey de los Super Mochomos

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Aug 24, 2014, 8:07:33 PM8/24/14
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Miriam, I understood that from your post.  I was cutting to the chase.  If I don't want to admin a particular platform it is a significant hurdle to making a particular change.  I can say with certainty, Facebook is out, not gonna happen on my dime.  Not that you were advocating for FB, you weren't.  Oh and I do run a topical Facebook page so it's not like I have no familiarity with the interface.  

I think it's important to listen to the wants and needs of  subscribers.  I do not disregard suggestions and requests which are made by subscribers.  

El Rey de los Super Mochomos

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Aug 24, 2014, 9:21:30 PM8/24/14
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Here's a better explanation. It's confusing because I have two roles here.  I am a user of harp-l and ultimately my user experience of harp-l matters at least as much as anyone else's.  I've articulated some of the reasons I prefer an e-mail list over a forum, a sentimental attachment wasn't one of them.  I am sentimental about the internet.  I pine (no pun intended) for the early days when everyone on the net was a PHD, knew the rules and played by them and LYNX was the only something resembling a browser out there.  The reality though is I wouldn't want to turn back the clock to 1989 because I'd be giving up too much functionality and immediate access to information.  I could admin a different list platform, that's the easy part.  What would be difficult is running  a list I really wouldn't want to belong to and again, ultimately, what would be the point?  The answer is there really wouldn't be much of a point to running a list you wouldn't belong to.  My intertwined roles make it difficult for me to separate out motivations but my user experience definitely informs my role as listowner.  
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