Why the Bozone Orgs email list Has to be Overhauled

Submitted by jimurl on Tue, 02/23/2021 - 14:29

Even the mundane posts to the list can be insights into our community -- this  is one of the reasons I have encouraged things like job postings, stuff for sale, or "we're looking for chickens" type posts. But the shear volume has become a problem. I can admonish everyone to "Respect the Inbox," but that only goes so far. Many of our 'original' subscribers have been shocked and disappointed by the small number of core-enviro type postings, as compared to all other posts. Given the subscription and unsubscription volume, I can tell people sign up, become overwhelmed, and leave; missed opportunities for our community.

Our historical email interface, called Sympa, and hosted by npogroups.org ( Electric Embers, based in Seattle ), is great in many regards, with attention to detail and consistency of service. But the web interface is old and difficult to use, and not mobile-friendly.

Basically, splitting into multiple lists helps all of this. The lists are: Core-Enviro, Community, Housing, Commerce, Stuff, Rides. Everybody is auto-subscribed to Core-Enviro, but can choose to subscribe to the others, one or all. This can reduce the volume for some users by 75% of stuff that they don't necessarily want.

Our email group is suffering from "The tragedy of the Commons." The Commons were a field in Ye Olde Country where anybody could graze their animals, for free. Guess what happened: the Commons became overgrazed, that is the 'tragedy' part. A shared common public resource is over extracted from, and the resource is degraded. Bozone Orgs still has quite a bit of social value, though, and I intend to preserve that.

Remember the mantra of "Respect the Inbox" ? Overhauling the Bozone Orgs system is a step towards that goal which I can take.

A custom system allows us to add things like:

  • Removing large attachments and (where possible) including smaller versions of images, while linking to large attachments.
  • A referral system, whereby one current bozone orgs member can refer another to the administrator. Smooths out the signup process.
  • Similar, when new folks join by sending an email to subscribe@bozone-orgs.com, they can include a message describing who they are and why they are joining. More secure that way.
  • Allows the administrator to 'lock' posts, so that replies to that email are not delivered to the entire group. Good for those rare occasions when things get out of hand.
  • I may expand above-mentioned 'lock' capability to the authors of a message, so that folks don't need to send a follow up email  to announce "Stuff has been claimed!" or similar.
  • Allows for randomized, egalitarian sponsorship messages to appear in the footer of each email.