One thing I did in the creation of all of my groups that I have seen few others do is that I unchecked " Allow members to send messages to the entire group." Those messages get sent via email, and I know many people will think of them as spam - leading to arguments among participants on whether or not they are appropriate. So I figured if the option isn't there, that road won't be traveled.
At least I assume the button "Send Message to Group" doesn't exist in my groups. It's an automatic admin option, so as the admin I don't know how it looks to everyone else in the group.
That the broadcasted messages don't appear in the group is another good reason to turn off the option, as people who join the group after the broadcast will never see what was said. Perhaps they have the answer to the broadcaster's query, but they'll never know the broadcaster was seeking.
A google search on "site:genealogywise.com" will list all the pages that have been indexed so far. Not many, but blog posts, group pages, and individual discussion threads have been indexed.
Also, I should note that you can subscribe to any group's Discussion Forum through a news aggregator such as Google Reader or Bloglines. You will see the full text of the messages in the forum. Unfortunately, you can't subscribe to the Comment Wall.
Well, I got a message today that's spam apparently through a GenealogyWise Group. I only admin one GW group so I have opted to remove the 'messages to group' option for now.
Is this kind of format - getting a notification e-mail with no content - one of the limitations of using the .ning platform? .
Yes it is. Ning does not grant many options for the admin yet concerning emails. I imagine as they get further feedback from community sites, they'll make the appropriate changes. But for now, we're stuck with what we have.
GenealogyWise needs to address this spam issue. I know 'they' were reading some group discussions. Anyone 'official' here? Need some FAQ etc. for group creators/leaders. (Also for users, but that's another thing.)
I believe there are two definitions of spam being discussed here.
The notification emails that have no content - these can be turned off easily by the individual in their settings. They don't have to leave the groups. And the group admin disabling the "Send Message to Group" feature will do nothing to stop these notification emails.
The emails that are sent to the entire group by clicking on the "Send Message to Group" link. These emails contain the entire message, and they don't appear anywhere on the site. Someone was using this 'feature' to send commercial spam - leading many group admins who hadn't already to disable the "Send Message to Group" link.
In both cases, I don't see what GW needs to address. They have addressed the issue of commercial spam - ultimately banning the individual who did it after they gave him a warning. Group Admins are learning that the "Send Message to Group" has pros and cons, and are making their own decisions on whether or not their group will have the feature.
While it might be nice for the notification emails to have content, it's not clear that Ning is flexible enough to do that. Since the individual can turn the notifications completely off though in their settings, its not really something GW needs to address. What they need to address is explaining how to do this -- which I suspect they will in the FAQ they have said they are working on.
I do understand the difference between the notifications & an e-mail sent to the whole group - and I wouldn't call the notification e-mails spam. Annoying as they are - the person receiving them has agreed to get those.
Where did we hear that GW had warned & banned a spammer?
Thank you, John, for that link.
I don't understand the haphazard nature of GenealogyWise's response and communication. Why wasn't that posted here, for example, in the Group Admins discussion group. (I'm assuming that a 'Genealogy Onsite Administrator' is an employee. Is there a list of official contacts somewhere?)
I do think it's a shame that your comment on June 17th wasn't addressed earlier.
It looks like GW is just now developing a policy to address these types of issues. There is a forum discussion going on now about it (GenealogyWise Community Guidelines), so I'm sure everyone's input would be appreciated.
In a more critical view, there does need to be better communication from GW to it's users. I believe they are learning in the same way we are - by experience and seeing what works and what doesn't. In many ways, this allows us to participate in developing what GW will be, but in other ways it creates some chaos in the process. With patience and vision, I believe we can make this something great!
Well, I'm afraid I am still 'waiting to see'. This is a venture by a well known company which has very experienced business & genealogy people, at least one with both, so I do not understand how most of these 'teething problems' hadn't been anticipated. (Most of these problems aren't genealogical, they need plain business sense.)
There can be no real participation, without communication.