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A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

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    Re: Admin: EVERYBODY please read
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2009 Nov 22, 17:33 -0800

    A number of people have written describing some things they use on the google 
    groups message boards: "Reply to Author", as opposed to sending a message to 
    everyone in NavList, is one request. That's definitely do-able, and I will 
    implement that soon. Also, we have a request for some of the posting 
    statistics available at google groups. That's also possible, but I would say 
    lower priority. For now, I would like to ask what sort of statistics people 
    would like to see. What would be useful or even just entertaining? Graphs of 
    message posting volume? Total message bandwidth? Pie charts of posting volume 
    by member? Any other ideas? Email me off-list.
    
    People have also offered lots of more general advice on technical aspects of 
    NavList, and so I would like to say that I would be happy to hear any request 
    for changes from all members. Feel free. Be imaginative. What would you like 
    to see? If NavList was the PERFECT online community for traditional 
    navigation discussion and collaboration, what would it be like? Again, I 
    prefer to hear from you on this topic by off-list email to 
    FrankReed[at]HistoricalAtlas.com, but it's not a rule.
    
    I want to re-assure everyone that I am not going to make any changes that will 
    change the fundamental email side of NavList. Those of you who have 
    interacted solely by email will continue to do so, and you will see no 
    significant changes.
    
    --------------------------------------------------------
    A little history, intended primarily for those of you who have joined NavList 
    in the past two or three years:
    
    NavList is the continuation (or descendant, or evil step-child, depending on 
    your point of view) of a group originally called simply "Navigation" or the 
    "Navigation Mailing List" or "Nml" for short which was hosted on "ronin.com" 
    in the late 1990s. I don't know much about it back then, and I don't know who 
    was the manager. It was a low-volume email community with a couple of dozen 
    posts per month. Dan Hogan rescued the Navigation list when ronin.com could 
    no longer host it. At that time, it was slightly renamed as "Navigation-L" 
    which was a popular style of academic mailing list naming back around 1999 
    and the hosting was transferred to a service called "webkahuna.com". The 
    group was also frequented referred to as "Nav-L" or "Nav List". 
    
    Around the year 2000, email communities or "mailing lists" and their 
    associated "list servers" reached a peak of popularity for social and 
    academic communication and collaboration, and then, like just about 
    everything on the Internet, their popularity began to plummet. Thus many new 
    members of today's NavList may be a little puzzled by the formation of the 
    name (list? what list?). Also around this time, someone quite unconnected 
    with the Navigation list opened a nice web archive on the web site 
    i-DEADLINK-com which displayed Nav List messages in real time and generated a 
    little advertising revenue for its creator. For some members, this irbs site 
    became the primary means of reading messages. It began to resemble an online 
    message board but with no means to post. Importantly, these archives began to 
    be indexed by search engines, and this led to a large increase in the size of 
    the Nav List community. 
    
    I myself found the Navigation List via posts indexed by google and finally 
    joined in December of 2003. It was growing rather rapidly at that time. 
    Unfortunately, starting in 2005 and especially in 2006, the Navigation List 
    servers at webkahuna.com began to suffer from crashes. Also, but unrelated, 
    the archive at i-DEADLINK-com experienced a number of long outages. In late 
    March 2006, the webkahuna list server went completely dead for some days. At 
    that point, I opened the current "NavList" on google groups. The webkahuna 
    service came back to life shortly thereafter, and lasted for a couple of 
    months, and there was some considerable contention over whether to shift to 
    new servers or not. I put it all on hold in June 2006 and then just four 
    weeks later, the old service on webkahuna closed permanently, without notice. 
    And that's how we got on google groups with me as the principal list manager 
    (historically, the person who opens a mailing list has been known as a "list 
    owner" but there's nothing really owned and there's no power in the 
    position). Ironically, despite the decline in prominence of mailing lists for 
    serious discussions, they are more popular than ever for simple group 
    communication and services like Google Groups and Yahoo Groups are available 
    for free, supported by a small amount of advertising. 
    
    Dan Allen is also a list manager of NavList. He has since moved on to other 
    interests so he doesn't post much but he's still out there! Having moved to 
    new mailing list servers, we needed something to replace the irbs archive 
    boards which many people found useful. Google groups has some similar 
    functionality but it's rather clunky and it's not under our control, so I put 
    some considerable time, and some money, into building the message boards 
    which many of you now use at fer3.com/arc. They incorporated a long and 
    nearly complete collection of messages which Dan Allen had kept during his 
    years in the group going all the way back to those early "ronin.com" messages 
    (if you look at the message IDs at fer3.com/arc you will see that posts from 
    then are tagged with "r", later during the webkahuna days, they're tagged 
    "w", and current google groups messages are tagged "g"). 
    
    At first, the message boards at fer3.com did not include posting features. I 
    added that functionality finally in 2008. NavList now functions like other 
    online forums and message boards as well as a traditional mailing list. It is 
    entirely possible to participate without even knowing that one can 
    "subscribe" by email, and in fact the word "subscribe" now causes confusion 
    to some new members (if you invite anyone to join, I recommend that you just 
    point them to the message boards unless they're used to the idea of mailing 
    lists). What we're doing now, if it happens, is shifting to new mail servers 
    for the email aspect of NavList. Again, most people should notice no 
    differences. And there's more to come... In the near future (maybe January), 
    there will be some interesting features added to the message boards at 
    fer3.com which should allow for more structure in posts, better mathematical 
    discussions, and in some ways a style more consistent with navigational 
    literature. 
    
    Again, feel free to contact me off-list if you have any questions and 
    especially any great ideas for the future of NavList. The members are the 
    real "owners" of NavList. It's your content that makes this a valuable 
    community. The technical aspects like list servers and message boards and 
    statistics and formatted posts do support that content and make it more 
    enjoyable but they are secondary. I'm interested in hearing any ideas, but I 
    don't want to create a distraction from the main purpose of NavList.
    
    -FER
    
    
    -- 
    NavList message boards: www.fer3.com/arc
    Or post by email to: NavList@fer3.com
    To unsubscribe, email NavList+unsubscribe@fer3.com
    

       
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