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starship-design: Newsgroup/list/newsletter/digest or not?

> From: "Kevin 'Tex' Houston" <hous0042@maroon.tc.umn.edu>
> Philip Bakelaar wrote:
> > 
> > At 03:36 PM 7/25/96 -0500, Kelly Starks x7066 MS 10-39 wrote:
> > >Quick check.  ah hum.  DOES ANYONE OUT THERE NOT GET ALT.* ACCESS?  WAKE UP
> > >
> > >I think we can assume if we get no responces, eiather everyone gets it, or
> > >they don't care one way or the other.
> > >
> > >If nothing else it might expand our submiter base, and get the overhead off
> > >our backs.  On the other hand it would pull interest away from the LIT
> > >site.
> > >
> > >Kelly
> > 
> > Make sure you read my last letter, Kelly. I know.. I use newsgroups a lot, and
> > what I said would most likely happen. But, is there a way to have a password
> > or something on a newsgroup? In my opinion, in view of the facts i stated
> > before, that would be the only way.
> > 
Seems I have somehow not received the letters quoted above.
Was it because of switching to the mailing list mode, or something?

> Ben, a password on the group (or having to send all posts through 
> a moderator would defeat the purpose.  
> That purpose being to catch the people who are just
> skimming the titles, and say "hey, that sounds interesting."  
> When they come in, they should find a FAQ and instrustions on how to join 
> the mailist.  flames and crossposts can be easily ignored.
Yeah, I have used to be for some time on a mailing list 
linked to a newsgroup (i.e., all messages to one of them were
also automatically posted on the other) and it worked fine.
I personally do not like newsgroups, preferring mailing lists,
for a variety of reasons - if something goes to the newsgroup only,
I am sure to lose interest fast... But with such linked arrangement
I think it might be interesting, though mostly as a means
of publicity (though the old LIT site was able to attract 
quite a number of members without it...). Pity it became defunct
in such a way.

Concerning the individual mail versus weekly bundled newsletter:
I am for the latter. It worked fine at the old LIT days,
and certainly cuts down redundant or irrelevant chit-chat
(you have a whole series of arguments at one time and in one piece,
you have a week to thoroughly think out the response(s), etc.),
not to say about saving space for long message headers 
in your mailfile...
Subject threads do not help much - for them to work well,
the posters should observe certain discipline in changing
subject fields when changing the subject of their responses -
a discipline not visible on any discussion list
or newsgroup I have seen...
However, the weekly newsletter is incompatible with a newsgroup, 
so they should have to be separate, and it means that in our case
the members will probably split into two separate groups too...

Concerning digests - I do not believe them to be either practical
or possible at a weekly basis without a special hired staff ;-0 
The periodical digests, say once (half) a year or so,
in the form of Status Report which we started (just started...)
some time ago - that is certainly another thing, very useful
and desirable. The problems are:
- time & effort needed to do that (ah, Ben, are you ready?? ;-)
- objectivity: it is easy to make the attempted Status Report
  to become a personal view of its author instead of fair
  assesment of ideas and arguments appearing in the posts
  (sorry, Kelly, I think that this applies to at least half of your
   version of the Report :-(

-- Zenon