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Keeping in touch, but how?

Postby TheDoctor » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:27 pm


recently the need arised to contact some of the former key members of this community.

Since then, two things did become clear to me:

  • Many of the now inactive people did not leave this community with bad feelings, but wish this community well and - within their limited resources - want to support it.
  • However, most of them don't have the time to closely follow the forum messages and - even if the communication frequency of our community is low compared to others - they still get overwhelmed by the amount of information. For instance, they no longer react to topic update notifications and possibly also forum PMs.
Since 2009/2010, I've been an active member of this community. Therefore, I do possess e-mail addresses of some of the peoples, e.g. Joe's, Pardner's, Tequila's. Some of these addresses may be publically available, some are not.

Everytime I mailed someone and got a reply, I got an encouraging feedback. This got me thinking how to organize a ultra low frequency communication infrastructure that points the inactive members to important topics, post and questions on a need-to-know basis. Take the above post as an example.

Being quite skeptical regarding new communication platforms, I still want to ask the more experienced members of this community: what would you consider to be the best way to stay in contact with inactive members? Let me give some examples:
  • individual emails on a need to know basis (push information)
  • a monthly digest of the most important community activity send by email (push information)
  • a monthly digest of the most important community activity in the news secition (pull information)

From my point of view, to be effective, the information needs to be delivered (pushed) on the doorstep, in doses, which can be handled by the inactive persons.

What is your opinion? Any advice? Is there anyone who wants to contribute his/her time to support me in this undertaking?

Best regards,

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Re: Keeping in touch, but how?

Postby /dev/random » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:59 pm

IMHO it would be best to write public news post (assuming the information is public), so that everyone can see community progress and also comment on it if she pleases (the pull part).
(A mailing list might be good as well, but I feel they are getting somewhat outdated and are more daunting to newcomers than a simple news website)

When one or several of the inactive members need to be queried for some of part of the news post/activity, write them a personal mail and direct them to the related subsection of the news post (don't repeat yourself).

If this results in too many individual mails per member/month, switch to digest mode. In the e-mail body, address each member for each section (e.g. "pardner, tequila; we need your permission for news-42#new-logo (link to news)") but send the whole/same digest mail to all members that are being addressed.

If possible at all, provide some reasonable answers to choose from right in the e-mail, so the reply can be short in both length and time.
If required for some reason, hint at the importance of a timely decision, and point out what'd happen without it. If possible for that case, offer a default (e.g. "if we don't get any feedback (from member n1, n2, n3) within x weeks/months, we'll assume that y and do z").

Regarding the key members required to make a decision it'd be great if we could find successors/delegates which are more active. For this it'd be great if the current members themselves could point out that "member x/y could also decide this".

As with any community project it is important to track activity publicly, so other people can understand why there seems to be no progress (waiting for [member,opportunity,version,other project] x, y and z). From time to time point out that contributors have chosen to spend some of their time for the project entirely on their own and others don't have any rights to demand more.

P.S.: I'm not in the position to help with this massive task, but I'll continue commenting from time to time :)
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Re: Keeping in touch, but how?

Postby Biondo » Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:24 pm

This is my modest opinion. E-mails are the only thing you can't avoid to read (sooner or later). If you have left behind Smokin' Guns you don't keep reading the forum. As long as e-mail addresses are up to date and the recipients agreed to receive your mailing list messages, I can't imagine anything more effective.
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Re: Keeping in touch, but how?

Postby Barto » Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:40 pm

I am re-reading myself now and I only see it's the exactly same opinion than /dev/random... Anyway let's repeat what he said with my bad english and with less details. :P

TheDoctor wrote:From my point of view, to be effective, the information needs to be delivered (pushed) on the doorstep, in doses, which can be handled by the inactive persons.

Agreed, email is the best system here so far. Asking from time to time a single thing by email is clearly - like Biondo says - the modest idea.

One thing: nobody should abuse of it. Too much emails leads to press the delete button before even reading it. That's what I'm at least doing when I get this shitty weekly news about the jobs offer in my uni. |D

About some summaries of the SG activity, I think the homepage is the best place for it. If someone wants to see news, he just should get to the homepage and see them there without even loggin' in. It will also show us how active we are because actually it's sometimes looking like a desert there.

I wouldn't mind to write something from time to time on the main page. But this is afterwards that you see - as Biondo would recall in his boilerplate website - that I'm definitely not a big poster of any content due to some time lacks and bad language skills.
Thinking of, I'm still having a desktop reminder about the voting system that I started long time ago which likes to segfault on release mode (not in debug, no idea why...), the TK code change TheDoctor mentioned months ago and the idea to make a tutorial to run (gtk)radiant on linux... Oh, I also owe 50 bucks to someone...
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Re: Keeping in touch, but how?

Postby Tequila » Wed Nov 27, 2013 12:47 am

Time to say something :D
Weirdly, I've just been advertized about this thread with an email... Why ? Because I subscribed a long time ago to "watch the 'Saloon' forum". This is a phpBB forum feature: Select a forum or even a thread and look at the footer for a "Subscribe to ...". Well behind that I'm completly free to look at or not the received notification and I'm even free to "unsubscribe". In fact I'm frustrated from the beginning about this feature as I would prefer to received also the post content but for now, I'm only receive the title and the related forum. Maybe it exists a phpBB forum MOD for that, and I remember I thought about checking for that since I'm hosting the forum 2 years ago.

Btw about what was said, I must say here we need people to publish news. This would effectively be a good stuff. I still remember the ReD Neckerson and Pardner's effort when they pulished few years ago a news at a not too short delay. I still remember also that time when I still was a player and waiting for that news. Even a monthly news would be a great stuff !!

Since I'm hosting every thing, I made my best to offer some better tools. For example, the Drupal site is here, safe and news are published in the forum (the "SG News" forum to which you can subscribe to be alerted about a news ;) ). I also tried to use a Drupal module to have the news published in tweeter (I'm still not sure it works as only one news was published since then and I had to published it also manually in tweeter).

I managed also to keep only one user database: the forum one. This means you can use the same user in the forum and in the Drupal site... but also in the wiki or Trac site.

I didn't really announced that, but the wiki or Trac site is totally yours: any SG forum user can create and modify a wiki page, can create a ticket.

About Drupal site as main site, I really can give right to publish news for anyone wanting to publish news. Just ask. As I'm also the hoster, I can give anyone a try and if needed I can revert or fix everything. But everyone should know now I'm mostly not a guy who censure. As I'm free I would like everyone feel free here. I'm leaving in a democracy and I hope SG community is also a democracy.

So until anyone does his best for SG sommunity and ask the right to talk for the community I'll give him the right to. Volonteers will be just welcome !

If too much volonteers asks to publish their thought, you must know a private "Web Site Content Publishing" exists since the Drupal site exists. I created this private forum as a place to prepare news and discuss about it... But this forum lack of volonteer :mrgreen:

Well, I think now I'm talking too much for a forum thread... long threads are not nice to read... Sorry !!

Then just one last sentence: Don't forget I'm still free to hear about good suggestions.

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Re: Keeping in touch, but how?

Postby Tequila » Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:18 pm

Just as a side note, and to show our hosted tools can help, I just created a wiki page with mappers stuff in mind. See: Mappers, please use wiki !

Then, you can take a look at our Trac site Timeline. There you can also see a RSS link can be used to follow our Trac site activity (just in case you're using RSS reader to follow some stuffs like I do).

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