Category Archives for Articles

problems with online community gamification

3 Problems with Turning Your Community into a Game

A year or two ago gamification was the fun, exciting new thing. Games are fun. Working and participation are boring. So let’s turn the boring stuff into a game.  Gamification can be a powerful tool for an online community. (It can increase participation as in this Kaplan study of gamification in online learning.) But while […]

Continue reading
share information

Why Do People Share Information?

We’re living in the information age. In the 21st century, thanks to the Internet, information is easy to share with our friends, neighbors, and perfect strangers. But our love for sharing is not confined to this millennium. The human species has always loved sharing information. We draw buffalo on cave walls. We pass on stories […]

Continue reading
alternatives to yahoo groups

Presenting 4 Alternatives to Yahoo Groups

Do you have a Yahoo Group or are you thinking of making one? Are you wondering if there are alternatives to Yahoo Groups? First, a brief history as to why you might want to consider another place for your community. Originally, Yahoo groups was a pretty good place for a community. It was a free email-based […]

Continue reading
how to keep your inbox empty

How to Keep Your Inbox Empty

Do you have trouble figuring out how to keep your inbox empty? I definitely do. A few weeks ago, for the first time in three years, I actually had an empty inbox. It was beautiful. But now it’s a mess again and I miss that beautiful, empty inbox. I’ve dug up some ideas on how to keep […]

Continue reading
email discussion groups

The Case for Email Discussion Groups

Email discussion groups provide a private online meeting space for like-minded people. By sending and receiving emails, they can participate in open-ended conversations at their convenience. But why email and not, say, Facebook groups, web forums, or other platforms? Only people who regularly use Facebook will use groups, but email is nearly universal. Practically everybody […]

Continue reading
push social media vs pull social media

Push vs Pull in Online Communities

What is the difference between push social media vs pull social media? In simplest terms, push media or technology comes to you, while pull media makes you go and get it. Pull media includes online message forums and blogs, which require people to remember to check them, taking effort on the part of community members and […]

Continue reading
reasons group mailing lists get reported as spam

The Cat Sat on My Keyboard, and Other Excuses

Want some reasons group mailing lists get reported as spam? Some ISP’s provide a Report As Spam button, for people to click when they see a piece of spam. Unfortunately, this button is usually right next to the Delete button, and sometimes people click the wrong button. When we tell them that they have been […]

Continue reading
electronic mailing list

What’s the Best Way to Run an Electronic Mailing List?

So you’re starting a community using an electronic mailing list, but you’re wondering what’s the best way to run it. There are many ways to run an electronic mailing list (or listserv or email discussion group) and many facets to this topic. But for this post I want to compare two particular methods. In one […]

Continue reading
reply in a mailing list

What Happens When You Reply in a Mailing List?

What happens when you hit reply in a mailing list? Well, that’s sometimes confusing, isn’t it? Email was never designed for mailing lists, and it shows. While email groups are a great resource, they could have been even better with a little bit of planning back around 1980. One of the prime areas of confusion […]

Continue reading
what does a mailing list moderator do

What Does a Mailing List Moderator Do, Anyway?

What does a mailing list moderator do? Like the answer to all nontrivial questions, It Depends. The goal for online discussion groups is usually the same–to nurture up a group of people to share their knowledge, wisdom, and experience with like-minded people for the common good. The question then is what does a mailing list […]

Continue reading