[Cdt-l] A controversial subject: The CDT-L is awful.

Dr. Patch O'Malley IV patch at charityhikers.org
Thu Dec 17 11:19:24 CST 2009

Hmmm...with some forums, the only thing separating them from a mailing list is
the fact that emails are replicated on the web, and forums posts are replicated
to email.

If you look at google groups, this is largely how it works. It's the best of
both worlds, plus you get search baked in.

Jonathan, I think there's a very valid point that search sucks on our current
system (and has for a LONG time). If we moved it over to Google Groups, we'd
still have a mailing list, plus we'd have a couple more advantages:
 - people would have a place to go to (un)subscribe (so no more "please
unsubscribe me" messages, and an lower barrier to entry for newbies.)
 - People can use a web form to participate, if they prefer (and some will)
 - enhanced user profiles (for what that's worth)
 - it's still an email list
 - Nobody has to run the servers, maintain the archive, etc.

OK, this is a bit tongue in cheek, but really, it does seem to me that it's time
we have search turned ON for the content we create on this forum (among the
other benefits).

If you want to talk about this, and hash this out, I'm down to help. This is the
kind of thing I think about/implement regularly.


Dr. Patch O'Malley IV
aka Michael Lissner
PCT 2005
Te Araroa 2010?

Jonathan Ley wrote on 12/13/2009 01:17 PM:
> Jack,
> I know what you "mean" - sure there are better ways to communicate &
> disseminate information these days. However, the listserve / e-mail
> format does have some advantages.. Nearly everyone gets e-mail already,
> so they're more likely to actually read/notice the messages. Though, I
> suppose you could achieve the same thing with a forum that automatically
> e-mailed you for any new post... The volume on the CDT-L isn't huge (at
> least usually...), so it tends not to clutter people's in-boxes.
> There is very little "overhead" - It works well for people who are
> actually out hiking and using text-only / e-mail-only devices... though,
> I guess those types of devices are less ubiquitous now. It also works
> well for people with dialup... Of which, there are probable more than
> you might think in the CDT-hiker demographic.
> I think some people "reply to sender only" because that's what they
> intend to do... it's like a way to send a private message.
> There are a variety of forums "out there" as well... and you'd think if
> those were better, people would simply gravitate to them. But for
> whatever reason, the CDT-L has turned into "the place" to go...
> There is an archive of recent messages here:
> http://mailman.backcountry.net/pipermail/cdt-l/
> Though, as you said, the search capabilities are not great... But, you
> can click to "view by thread" for any particular month... which will at
> least give you some idea about what people have been discussing.
> -Jonathan
> Jack Haskel wrote:
>> The CDT-L is awful. That's not a personal attack, it's not about you.
>> The people of the CDT-L are fantastic. You are some of the highest
>> quality people that I can imagine, and the information on this
>> listserve can be superb.
>> It's the format of this information sharing that is horrid. Listserves
>> date back to the genesis of the internet. They are outdated and
>> inefficient. I predict that someday we will move to a more effective
>> communication medium than this.
>> A notable problem is that people respond to emails/messages to the
>> original sender only. One could respond "to all". This would
>> effectively disseminate your comments to a broader audience, and thus
>> be helpful to the long distance hiking community as a whole. Also, it
>> is difficult to see the history. What is previously known? What of
>> which is previously known has been improved upon? How does one search?
>> Why can't we integrate photos, audio and video? Sadly, the decades old
>> technology that we use doesn't allow for editable, fully real time
>> history that would most effectively let the CDT grow. I believe that
>> the revolution of the CDT-L, the revolution of communication about the
>> trail, is the singular most important step that can be taken by trail
>> advocates. Perhaps our activist organization, our beloved CDTA, could
>> modernize our communication. Or perhaps we should migrate to something
>> else. ANYTHING would be better. A web-forum, a wiki, facebook, google
>> wave, web 2.0. For the sake of the trail, I believe that it's time to
>> start a conversation about moving beyond email communication.
>> I do not attempt to suggest that we move to a simple solution quickly.
>> I merely think that we could start a conversation about the future of
>> CDT communication. What do we want? How do we get the buy in of our
>> community? Who will lead the way?
>>        HYOH, 
>>                Jack Haskel 
>> PS: I do not know the history of this discussion because it's too
>> difficult to obtain via the CDT-L :(
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