Online forum vs. email

Hello,

Thank you for setting up this user forum.  I am anxious to see the contributions from others on your valuable software.

One comment I do have.  I know I might be too late, but I really perfer email-style forums, particularly for software.  I just don’t take the time to check-in to the online forums I belong to as often as I should.  The email format provides instant updates and info.  Plus, it provides a nice offline reference.

As an example, you might want to check out DayLite (marketcircle.com) a CRM program for OS X.  They have both an email user list (for users to provide feedback, ideas on how they use the program, and bug reports).  It is a great list and I get daily input on how to use the program as well as quick answers to questions I have, just by reading my email.  They also have an online forum (which isn’t used much), but that is saved for reference material.

Perhaps the forum you are using can provide for both.

Just a thought, this forum (in whatever format) will be a valuable help to your users.  

Thanks,

Joel

Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, the bulletin board software we’re using does not support hybrid web/e-mail forums. It does support e-mail notification, though, so you’ll be always up-to-date with all responses to your own postings.

But what about a separate email list - it doesn’t have to be integrated into the forum (although that can help).

I agree with the first poster - email lists are much more useful (to me) than forums. But I guess they don’t provide the easy access to reference material that a forum can provide.

Adrian

At first, they’re much easier to use by most of the people. People are no longer used to such things as listservs and so the number of requests concerning registration/removal and the like is far higher than with web forums (I already administered an e-mail list with a few hundred members).

And, yes, they feature quite a few useful functions such as an archive and a search command.

I think anyone considering using DEVONThink is more than capable of using a listserv :slight_smile:

Adrian

I thiks so too…!:wink:
And I also vote for a mailing list too.
We are at point (number of posts) it becomes time consuming to go through all the subforums to have a look which post is important at the moment.

Maybe its possible to send the messages from the Online forum automatically to the a DT yahoo mailinglist .Yahoo does this gratis and it workes fine… That would come very close to a combined solution. I m not a programmer and dont know buletin boards SW very well, but I think that should not be a big problem with cgi… (keep it ASCI) simple is allways the best way to do that.
my 2 cents…

I just spent over an hour going through my mail, deleting unwanted posts and unsubscribing from forums.

Having it all online means my mail is that much less cluttered. I like this way.  ;D

It works well enough for me since I can subscribe to get summaries by email and can click a link back to participate, or not.

I liked listservs better but the world seems to assume I use an expensive computer and high speed internet, now, in order to get the same effective average throughput of text-per-hour that I used to get with my old 300 baud acoustic coupler and vt100.  This is called progress.

I’m new to the forum so I’m late for this party, but this is too important a topic for me to ignore. :slight_smile:

But there isn’t any way I can see to get a summary of new topics, just notifications for old ones.

The biggest challenges with nearly every forum I participate on are keeping track (reliably) of read/unread messages (impossible with Yahoo!'s web forum, for example) and catching up with backlog (within reason, depending on volume).  So far BroadQ Forums, which use FUDforum software, are the most satisfying and productive because of the ability to conveniently browse all unread postings gathered and merged from all forums.  That’s the quickest way for me to catch up on backlog with infrequent visits, even with quite a few postings, with sort of an e-mail-like feel to it that I like.

Something obviously lacking with this forum software is that topics on the Notification page aren’t clickable; only the username is.  Makes it hard to use them as pseudo-bookmarks.

A few points:

Too much redundant discussion about the same topics will eventually distract the more experience, intelligent participants.  As the forum grows it’ll be helpful to keep questioning whether it’s remaining a valuable resource for as many people as possible.  It may eventually be desirable to restructure forum categories in light of those observations, in an open and “non-discriminating” way that benefits newcomers and veterans of different experience, interest, knowledge levels.  Whew. :slight_smile:

I think it’s important is to discourage the forum from becoming too much of a FAQ or knowledge base for product information, tips, etc.  Exporting “best of” information from the forum (e.g. culled from “Usage Scenarios” and “Tips & Tricks”) to other resources that can be more conveniently browsed, searched, referenced would be useful.  Forums can be fun and productive for discussions but they make lousy databases.  Integrating different communication resources would be useful, and easier if done as part of the infrastructure instead of trying to retrofit solutions later.

I wouldn’t advocate separate forum and e-mail discussions because it fragments useful information and contributes to redundancy for folks who’d participate in both.

From what I’ve read so far on the forum (still catching up :slight_smile:) the DEVONtechnologies user community looks like an interesting, diverse, and talented group of people.  I look forward to participating here.