Why this message board is a good idea.

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Summertime Serenade : One Thread

This Web-based technology has good and bad things about it, like all technology. Since it is so new to most people, I'd like to begin by pointing out what I think are the obvious advantages and how it can supplement the several general meetings that Blue Skies hold throughout the year.

First, it allows people to participate in an ongoing discussion without having to travel long distances (although people who don't have a computer will have to visit their local library or a friend who does) and meet at the same time. If I like to get up at 5 in the morning and find out what people have been saying and then add my comments, this message board makes it possible. I find it very fustrating to attend a meeting where an agenda item I want to talk about gets squeezed into the final two minutes and is not adequately dealt with. Everyone has lots of time with this format to think about what they want to say and then add it to the list.

Secondly, my experience with electronic-based discussions is that they can be much more focused and to the point, without a lot of the extraneous comments and kibbutzing that goes on at a meeting. If you have to write down your comments before you send them into cyberspace, you will generally make sure you are saying something germane to the discussion wheras people in a meeting often talk off the top of their head.

I don't want to sound like I dislike face-to-face meetings. I don't. They are an important way to connect with each other and keep the energy of the group up. But there are drawbacks with limited time and an insistence on a consensus model of doing things. Not everybody gets listened to or has time to make comments. Maybe this type of Web-based message board can help correct that shortcoming. What do people think?

-- Anonymous, April 16, 1999


Hi Steve and any other 'Happy Campers' looking in.

Thought I'd take a peek at this Blue Skies area after you mentioned it last night Steve. I think having this sort of forum is a pretty neat idea for us Blue Skies folk. Gives us a chance to hash things out in the moments between festival, meetings and get-togethers. As long as we remember it's just another way to talk to each other, and not some sort of end in itself.

Right now I'm thinking that it would be pretty cool to be able to chat with Toby and Mitch way out there in Edmonton without having to pay long-distance charges. Are you planning to circulate this address to as many of us as we can find addresses for. I think Richard and Lynda have started to compile E-mail addresses.

Anyway, I like the idea and haven't had much trouble finding my way around the system despite being pretty new to Web based discussion groups. Nice work.

So long for now


P.S. Wasn't the weather at the fall meeting mind blowing! I think that was the warmest on record. Anyone been keeping tabs?

-- Anonymous, April 16, 1999

My answer describes what I feel are the most important positive AND negative features of the message board. It thus also answers the related question: "Why is this Web-based message board NOT a good idea?"

As discussed at the Fall Meeting, time is a vary scarce resource at most of the organizing committee's meetings. Many items on our agendas have received less attention than they deserve. This message board provides an opportunity to conduct much valuable discourse between meetings, to exchange information and opinions. The meetings themselves should proceed much more efficiently and smoothly as a result of this kind of preparatory exchange.

Also as mentioned at the Fall Meeting, however, the use of this relatively recent technology will function to exclude part of the community. Even if 95% of committee members either have or can acquire access to this message board, there will still be people within this group for whom the technology is too inconvenient to be practical or who, for personal reasons, reject such technology.

Looking at both the above features in balance, it seems that use of the message boeard will almost surely create different classes of attendees at the meetings: those who have had the benefit of potentially extensive advance consideration of certain issues and those confronted with the issues (or at least others' perceptions of them) for the first time at the meeting.

For this to achieve greatest value as a tool for committee members, perhaps we should consider distributing, with the meeting notes and agendas, a printout or summary of messages posted on the board up to the time the mailing goes out. A full printout might be too big to handle in this way. On the other hand, very careful and tactful editorial skills would be needed to produce a summary that accurately reflects all the points of view in the postings.

-- Anonymous, April 16, 1999

You bet, John, I think the more people from Blue Skies who visit this message board and start posting, the better it will work. The only delay is I want to get a page up on my personal Web site that explains what is going on, etc. and is linked to from the Message Board as the Blue Skies Test Page. I should be able to get it done by this weekend (September 26-27).

One of the neat things about the Message Board is that you can start a thread on a new topic very easily. Just try and make the subject as clear as possible. Some possible ideas are:

"How to solve the parking problem at Blue Skies"

"How to keep drummers and non-drummers happy"

"How the Blue Skies book is doing"

"How can Blue Skies make better decisions?"

"Are people happy with the main stage sound system?"

I'm sure you could think of other topics.

-- Anonymous, April 16, 1999

In theory this is probably a great idea. In reality it is another opportunity to be misunderstood. As a matter of fact I bet what I just said will be misunderstood. etc., etc., etc.

-- Anonymous, April 17, 1999

Hi, Blue Skies Friends, I have read what has been written and have not formulated any opinion (fence sitting) but thought I would leave an electronic footprint. Which of course I do have an opinion about and I think it's a little scary,

Joel, lurking in cyberspace somewhere near Perth Ontario

-- Anonymous, April 21, 1999

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