moderated Downloadable Manual

I am receiving upwards of a hundred emails in 24 hours from GMF.  As Owner of two groups that have operated decades with very little “moderation” I just can’t afford the time necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff.  So I will soon unsubscribe...I have another life which cannot afford the seemingly ever-increasing time necessary to even skim all these questions and answers.  Too much “noise”.

But I am not one to complain without suggestions for improvement.  GMF advisors/moderators do an amazing job considering the chasm between their incredible experience and comprehension and that of those asking most questions.  Nonetheless, the process needs swift and drastic improvement.  I can read 1000 words per minute with good comprehension, yet find GMF exchanges overwhelming.  

Several issues stand out to me in the overall.  I recently had a message “rejected” because I sent a screenshot self-explanatory to the topic with “???”.  I found that disrespectful.  A simple request for further information could and should have been made.  Apparently some, if not all GMF advisors/moderators don’t receive screen shots sent; or so severely limit attachment size that meaningful discussion of photo size and clarity are unnecessary difficult.   

If this is because of security or data overload, surely can and should change such “culture”.  Groups/advisors/moderators exist to prioritize service to members.  Screen shots are the modern “picture” that takes the place of a thousand words.  Again and again I read repeated good faith attempts by various parties to explain a location or procedure when each side is looking at different screens [online vs offline emails, menus, etc.]  

Below Bill Hazel describes the GMF Wiki as “...mostly a huge FAQ since many pages are based on repeat questions on the group.”  The fact that “repeat questions” comprise so much of the current email traffic of GMF identifies the very problems most in need of clarification.  A common and comprehensive “beginner’s” definition of terms commonly used here is usually the “lead-in” to any “instructions” or “operating Manual”.   

Below Bruce Bowman was more to the point stating: "Expecting a single Help page to provide more than a FAQ for total newbies may be unrealistic. What is really needed is a downloadable, manual.  At one time this was discussed:  (”  Discussion without action resolves nothing.

An enterprise as complex and versatile as MUST distill the information necessary for ALL groups joining to thrive jnto an easy to use dynamic form.  No matter how brilliant the product or software, if the average user can’t understand or use it reasonably well, those OPTIONS NOT USED, for that user, do not exist.  Focus on the ball, not the players or the fans.

Compiling and maintaining such Manual(s) should be given appropriate priority as well as intellectual and financial resources in perpetuity.  It should be obvious that a single “manual” would be so intimidating in size and scope as to be useless.  Like Disneyland, such an effort is never done so long as capabilities continue to expand.  

To paraphrase what Michael Pavan says below, IMPROVE WHAT RAISES THE [most] QUESTIONS first.  Much of the current unnecessary and unproductive day-to-day “chaff” on GMF will go away as these issues are properly addressed and resolved by adequate documentation and cross reference.  The best manager is the one that organizes his/her areas of endeavor to the point that their services are no longer necessary.

Of greatest need is a “basic” manual describing a “default” map new groups can quickly be operational.  This would introduce definitions of common terms used and cover such fundamental decisions such as “public” or “private” choices (and pros/cons of each), and step-by-step instructions for filling out the Administrative “Settings” page options of “General”, "Privacy", "Spam Control”, "Message Policies”, “Reposting Policies”, "Message Formatting” and “Features”.  The IRS does a pretty good job with its simpler forms and instructions.  A “Decision Tree” such as is frequently used in troubleshooting is another excellent way to show interrelationships when choices are made.  

There could be multiple “intermediate” manuals covering the pros/cons of functions (and warnings) of being “public” or “private, extending and accepting “invitations” (with options, advantages/disadvantages of each, and examples), etc.  In my opinion inherently complex subjects such as optimizing use of each of your present “Features” choices (with options, advantages/disadvantages of each, and examples) should be covered in one or more “complex” manuals.




Re: [GMF] Does anyone have a high participation wiki that non-subscribers can view?

On Jan 17, 2020, at 11:43 PM, Michael Pavan <michaelpavan@...> wrote:

On Jan 17, 2020, at 10:45 PM, Duane <txpigeon@...> wrote:

On Fri, Jan 17, 2020 at 08:13 PM, Bill Hazel wrote:


The [wiki] here on GMF probably is as good an example as any.  Yes, most of it has been written by a limited group of people, but more are beginning to assist.  I think that's mostly a matter of becoming familiar with how it operates.  Way back when, it started with a couple of simple pages and has evolved as things change.  You could say that it's mostly a huge FAQ since many pages are based on repeat questions on the group.

I think the Wiki has helped.

However the fact that some questions are repeatedly asked really points our what features are not intuitive and/or not well explained where and when users encounter them.
The best solution would be to improve what raises the questions.

Re: [GMF] Help Page (was: Adding Display Names to email address in the members list)

On Jan 18, 2020, at 1:11 AM, Bruce Bowman <bruce.bowman@...> wrote:


Expecting a single Help page to provide more than a FAQ for total newbies may be unrealistic. What is really needed is a downloadable, manual. At one time Mark hired a technical writer to prepare one (ref: How far this has gotten is unclear <snip>


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