Why Did We Switch To Yahoo!?
[Note: This article is from 2003, when we switched from a listserve based at Penn State to Yahoo. Yahoo served us well for many years, but finally service on that platform became sub-par. We switched to Google Groups in 2018.]
The Yahoo! NVRC Discussion Group replaces the rather limited Web Discussion Forum the Club had until June of 2003. Regular visitors to the Club web site may have noticed that the old Discussion Forum was not much used. There were two likely reasons for this. First, we already communicate fairly well with each other via the NVRUN listserv and other e-mail vehicles (such as the Thursday Track listserv). Second, the Discussion Forum bulletin board did not forward messages to users' email inbox, necessitating manual checking of the board.
However, there were also problems with our old methods of communication. First, you had to be a member of one of the e-mail listserves to get the messages. Many club members were not on these lists, for various reasons. While on the one hand we'd like to make sure everyone is informed, we realize that in these days of Spam onslaught, most people don't want any more email than what they expect.
On the other hand, we'd like to have a method for Club newcomers and visitors to our site who are not on any of the email listserves to communicate with us, ask questions, have discussions, look for running partners, etc. Some newbies posted to the old Web Discussion Forum thinking that was its purpose (which it was), and that someone would respond (usually, no one did because the club regulars never checked the Discussion Forum). So, the question became, how do we open up the communication channels in a reliable way, but in a way that does not inconvenience members who do not want to take part?
In July, 2003. the Club started a Yahoo! Discussion Group called NVRC. It is now being used actively for just the purpose it was intended. So far we have organized weekend runs, had discussions on the Atkins diet, the Art’s Fest 10K. We’ve also welcomed some runners new to the area, and had other miscellaneous banter. Because of the success of the NVRC group, we will be using it for all the purposes for which NVRUN-L had been used. We are promoting its use on the club web site. The Discussion Group is a moderated group, which means there is a person (two actually, in this case) who admits new users and generally makes sure that no undesirables such as spammers, etc, misuse the group.
The NVRC Discussion Group has the following advantages:
- For administrators (moderators), it is easy to add new members. It’s hassle free for a user to get out of the group, so that the moderator doesn’t have to get involved. It’s also easy to configure the Group to suit the needs of the club.
- The biggest advantages are for the user. New users can join easily. Once in the group, they can easily post and read messages, and can choose to view messages on the web, by email immediately, or in daily email summaries. Thus, users can take advantage of the Discussion Group without clogging their in-boxes. The web-based nature of the Yahoo group allows users to access the group even when they are away from their usual email program. User’s can also post a profile with as much or as little personal information, including pictures, email addresses, quotations, favorite web sites, etc., as they care to. It’s turning out to be a great way for local runners to keep in touch and to exchange information.
Because the NVRC group is so easy to administer and use, we phased out the NVRUN-L list. As of September 1, 2003, the NVRUN-L group ceased to exist. If you liked the old NVRUN-L list, you will find the NVRC Group to be all of what NVRUN-L was, and a whole lot more useful. Please switch over!