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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: July ::
FYI -- The Future of listserv Technology
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0374  Tuesday, 14 July 2009

[1] From:   Al Magary <
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     Date:   Monday, 13 Jul 2009 12:44:02 -0700
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0370 FYI  --  The Future of listserv Technology

[2] From:   Ron Severdia <
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     Date:   Monday, 13 Jul 2009 13:10:59 -0700
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0370 FYI  --  The Future of listserv Technology

[3] From:   John E. Perry <
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     Date:   Monday, 13 Jul 2009 22:34:28 -0400
     Subj:   Re: SHK 20.0370 FYI -- The Future of listserv Technology

[4] From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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     Date:   Tuesday, July 14, 2009
     Subj:   SHK 20.0370 FYI -- The Future of listserv Technology


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Al Magary <
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Date:       Monday, 13 Jul 2009 12:44:02 -0700
Subject: 20.0370 FYI  --  The Future of listserv Technology
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0370 FYI  --  The Future of listserv Technology

IINM [if I'm not mistaken -- an abbreviation I just invented] the world 
of communications hasn't known any stability since the development of 
telegraphy. It is constantly producing both novelties for the easily 
amused and revolutionary forms -- sometimes in combination (think 
Twitter in Tehran).

Hardy now has more time to devote to SHAKSPER, and that devotion tells 
in the increased volume and, I think, quality of posts and threads. But 
the tech aspects, especially nonsensical ones like ISP blocking and 
server crashes, are taking too much of Hardy's time. What to do?

Migrate SHAKSPER to a more modern format. One time only it will probably 
be a bear (from which there is no exiting) but it can be one time only. 
Blogging is established. Social networks are established. A congenial 
format for SHAKSPER can be found, and Shakespeare too can both exist and 
thrive in the cloud.

Let's do it.

To start with, Hardy can establish a forum at, say, Google's Blogspot to 
explore and discuss and test the many opportunities. Setting up a blog 
takes but a few minutes. The blog can be limited to SHAKSPER subscribers 
and invited guests. It need have no mention of Shakespeare or any play, 
for that is still the mission of the SHAKSPER listserv.

Let us begin.

Cheers,
Al Magary

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Ron Severdia <
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Date:       Monday, 13 Jul 2009 13:10:59 -0700
Subject: 20.0370 FYI  --  The Future of listserv Technology
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0370 FYI  --  The Future of listserv Technology

Thanks for your response, Hardy. I respect your decisions and can 
empathize with your 20-year connection to the list. You've had a clear 
vision and have followed it every step of the way.

However, changing from listserv to something else doesn't mean you have 
to lose control over the look or content posted. In fact, I'd say 
(depending on the choice) you'd gain some control and things that would 
make your life easier. It also doesn't mean that you need to 
disassociate SHAKSPER from yourself. Again, depending on the choice, you 
may actually be even more acknowledged or known. I know it's difficult 
to break out of a 20-year habit from one day to the next and, in my 
experience, when it becomes necessity to act on something it's usually late.

I don't say these things because I just want to criticize you or what 
you've done. In fact, quite the opposite. I'd like to see things 
improve. If you don't currently use Google Groups, I'd recommend you 
check it out in depth (especially the email portions). I'm not 
necessarily suggesting that's the solution for you, but it will give you 
an idea of what can be done.

Cheers,
Ron

[Editor's Note: "I don't say these things because I just want to 
criticize you or what you've done." I understand completely and I 
respect your writing to express your ideas about ways that SHAKSPER can 
be improved. MORE BELOW. -Hardy]

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John E. Perry <
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Date:       Monday, 13 Jul 2009 22:34:28 -0400
Subject: 20.0370 FYI -- The Future of listserv Technology
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0370 FYI -- The Future of listserv Technology

Ron Severdia writes,

 >The days of listserv are numbered. The social networks are only one
 >element of many that has already replaced it. The others are discussion
 >groups and forums like Google Groups and Yahoo Groups, which allow for
 >online discussion as well as the same email exchanges listserv provides
 >(not to mention any modern forum software will do the same, allowing
 >users to subscribe to specific topics of interest). Users are demanding
 >more and more that their preferred content be served up when, where, and
 >primarily HOW they want it. ...

But, Ron, listserv is exactly how I want it. I'm subscribed to a couple 
of fora, and I rarely sign in to them, because they're so much extra 
trouble for _me_.

Newsgroups are more freewheeling lists, and have corresponding defects. 
  If they are moderated, the moderator manages the spam and intrusions 
of all sorts, just as Hardy manages all this for us. If they're not, 
spam and a few inconsiderate clods can ruin them (example: 
sci.electronics.design, which is now worthless for its nominal purpose).

As for banning, some newsgroups are also banned. That's not a defect of 
lists, but of inappropriately configured filter software. And as for 
filtering, I can't comment on the Microsoft stuff since I've used linux 
for decades, and Thunderbird for years, but all the mail clients I'm 
familiar with allow me to filter mail messages based on almost any 
criteria I choose.

A particular advantage of lists is that the moderator can format 
digests, so I can see what I want to see (let's leave aside for the 
moment that I actually look at nearly every message -- thanks, Hardy, 
for a stellar job) in related groups, in one inclusive message. Many 
list servers will automatically generate digests, and limited formatting 
is available based on the moderator's configuration selections. I'm not 
aware of any forum that features email digests, or user-configured 
filtering. Granted, I not aware of any fora that are banned, but it's 
quite possible.

I like very much having one place (my mail client) to come to and read 
my personal mail, my professional mail, and my hobby and other interest 
mail. Having to log into a bunch of fora is a hassle I don't want to put 
up with, and it takes a truly pressing interest (along with a lack of 
other means of community communication) to induce me to put up with it. 
I look at blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and all such the same way.

 >Those who have their proverbial heads in the sand should consider
 >embracing change as an evolution and progress, rather than an
 >inconvenience.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. Bad change can be fixed 
(usually). Good change can be ruined (and often is). We all decide what 
we want and how we want to get to it. I echo wholeheartedly Hardy's 
statement that "those who are interested in the features that Ron has to 
offer will register at PlayShakespeare.com just as those who are 
interested in discussing the "authorship question" can do so somewhere 
else." I won't be among them.

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:       Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Subject: FYI -- The Future of listserv Technology
Comment:    SHK 20.0370 FYI -- The Future of listserv Technology

Many points have been brought up in today's posts and in private ones I 
have received. I was preparing to address these points individually, but 
I realized that they was no need for me to be defensive and verbose. So 
let me give less comprehensive responses to some of these issues, both 
pro and con.

1. Other technologies are free

This point is an enticing one since I have been paying all of what has 
been required to keep this list operating for many years, and these cost 
are considerable.

[FYI: When we do set up the new site -- I am seriously considering 
finally becoming a corporation (either not for profit or for profit, and 
I will probably pay a lawyer to complete the paper work for me since I 
have little patience for legal documents, which normally give me 
migraines.) Becoming a corporation will enable me to be able to accept 
donations -- I don't think that I would ever REQUIRE subscribers to pay 
for the SHAKSPER services; but I have just retired, and I do not feel as 
money-is-no-object generous as I once did. Having something additional 
coming in to help with expenses would be nice.]

2. A number of subscribers have written to me saying they preferred 
having e-mail delivery of the SHAKSPER digests than having to sign in to 
an Internet site as some methods require.

3. Technological difficulties. Having my PC crash could happen to 
anyone; the blocking incidents have been more infuriating to me.

4. Automatic formatting: I have worked hard establishing a look and feel 
for plain text (ASCII) digests -- formatting that I hope creates for 
readers a familiarity they are comfortable with -- and I have not found 
an alternative I am happy with.

5. Blogging, Google Group, Social Networking, or Newsgroups: I simply 
prefer my creating digests to any alternative I have found.

6. Change: I have given much thought to changing to another format, but 
I have decided against doing so. Many members are perfectly happy with 
current arrangement (John Perry's post was just one of many I received). 
With the current arrangements, I can and do give individual attention to 
member needs in ways that I have not found possible with alternatives.

7. Ron Severdia wrote, "I know it's difficult to break out of a 20-year 
habit from one day to the next . . ."

Yes, I have had a life-long struggle with dependency addiction issues 
and with my delusional belief in my ability to control things. I have, 
as a result of my studying of eastern thought in particular Buddhist 
philosophy and Taoism, recently had an epiphany in this regard, 
recognizing that I have no control after all. Nevertheless, right now, I 
simply have no desire to change.

Hardy M. Cook
Editor of SHAKSPER

[PS: A heads up: I am planning to attend over the next few months 
several workshops, retreats, conferences, at the Omega Institute that 
will blessedly take me away from all my concerns for a week or more at a 
time. -HMC]


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