[200q20v] Mailing list archives -- can they be better?

George Fairbanks george at groupedia.com
Thu Oct 19 15:49:28 EDT 2000


For a number of years I've been involved with automotive mailing lists, 
starting with GTI's, then Corrado's, and now Audi 200's.  While I love the 
helpful community and the great advice, I'm always frustrated by searching 
the message archives for information.  On the other hand, web pages like 
Chris Miller's and Scott Mockry's are great sources of condensed 
information, but are clearly personal labors of love.

I've created some collaboration tools for organizing information from 
mailing lists and I'm looking for a few groups to try out the tools.  I'd 
like to be clear from the start about a few things:  I'm not trying to take 
over the mailing list or change how it works, and any participation is 
voluntary and if you don't like it you can stop any time.

Rather than explaining the tools in detail, let me give you a quick 
example.  Recently, 11 messages were exchanged about cooling problems & 
solutions.  In about 10 minutes, I sorted the emails into the "Cooling 
system" category and created a document that summarizes the message 
threads.  The tools we've built allow any group member to edit and improve 
this document, but reserve the choice of which version "goes live" to a 
small number of facilitators (think "magazine editor") so that any errors 
will be caught before publication. Imagine how nice the archives would be 
if we did this for all the topics we discuss.  Many hands make light work.

A full description of the tools including a walkthrough is found on the 
website.  This is not a finished product -- we're convinced that 
collaboration tools will help mailing lists but are not sure exactly what 
is needed.  Your participation and feedback means we build the right 
tools.  We're just a startup company, funded off my savings, with a web 
server in the living room.

- The main page is:  http://www.groupedia.com

- After logging in, you can go to the "Audi 200TQ" web group.  You will be 
able to see categories and emails, but additional controls like "Add new 
document" and "Edit" are only visible to group members, so click on 
"Membership" in the top right and join this group.

- The example mentioned above is found in "Web Groups > Audi 200TQ Home > 
Maintenance / Repair / Upgrades > General Engine > Cooling System".  (The 
site is organized hierarchically like Yahoo).  You should see both the 
original emails as well as the document.  Please edit the document if I 
have something wrong or there is more to say.

What I ask is this:  Can you check out the website and let me know what you 
think about the idea and the site itself?  Any feedback you can give would 
be great.  Volunteers to help organize are needed.  There will be some 
up-front work to set up the topic hierarchy, but after that the 
organization is incremental.  Any time you can spare to make the site 
better for the group is appreciated.

Feel free to call or write with any questions.

george at groupedia.com
91 200TQ 144k, BIRA System 1
(303) 447-0778

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