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Re: [ontolog-forum] Why is ontolog-forum moving to Google Groups?

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Amanda Vizedom <amanda.vizedom@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2015 13:10:14 -0400
Message-id: <CAEmngXsNr9mt5vQyEwriUAvNZ6B-FDokXhE9FbEygL8Ss7hJYQ@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
[I have added ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to the recipients list, as not all members have been added to the new Google Group yet.]


Last month, I made a brief survey of alternatives on behalf of the Ontolog Trustees, then recommended that we opt for a Google Group. I'm also handling the migration. So, I'll try to give an explanation of that decision and action.  

First, it's important to realize that it has been over a year since we started working on migrating infrastructure in light of Peter Yim's retirement. Closer to a year and a half, really.  There have been technical and resource bottlenecks, especially with the migration of the Wiki. Some other solutions turned out not to be as good, reliable, cheap or free, fast, or other otherwise workable as initially thought. Peter has extended his support very much longer than initially intended or promised, but this couldn't continue. For one thing, he will soon be unavailable for an extended period of time. For another, CIM no longer has other resources (such as people) to throw into support; this showed in the recent list outage (due to malicious activities, in August?) that lasted longer than it would have in prior years. All things told, we had a month to get our lists moved to some other host and mechanism. The backup plan was that if we weren't able to find a better solution and implement it in that time, Peter would move things to the free Yahoo!Groups platform for the time being and hand us the keys before he goes traveling. 

I compiled a list of requirements and desiderata, from the Trustees September conversation and from others over the past year+. The list appears below. The bottom line is that the free Google Groups platform offered the best matching, meeting all of our hard requirements and many of our desiderata. That said, we did not know about lack of access in China, which we will need to find out more about. And I, frankly, just assumed global access, both as a requirement (implicit, and so not on my list) and as a fact (about Google Groups).  We will still need to go to the Google Group for the time being, as CIM support will soon be unavailable. If we need to find a different solution, we'll need more time to find and implement it 


Desiderata for new infrastructure supporting ontolog forum discussion and other current mailing lists:

  • Members can use email to read +++++

  • Members can use email to post and reply +++++

  • Members can view and search archives on web   ++++

  • Migration of lists can be accomplished before end of October 2015 +++++

  • Members can select posts and replies to view by thread ++++

  • Members can use web browser to post and reply +++

  • Manageable learning curve for members, low barrier to entry    ++++

  • Additional options for receiving / reading posts and replies (email digest, RSS or Atom feeds, by topic or by message, etc.) which individual members can access and control for themselves  ++

  • Email service is reliable (and has own, dedicated support) +++++

  • Archives service is reliable (and has own, dedicated support) +++++

  • Use is compatible with Ontolog’s Open IPR policy. +++++

  • Members can upvote or downvote posts and replies (complements limited moderation, helps readers find most useful content in archives) ++

  • Additional options for organizing posts and replies (tagging, categories, etc.) ++

  • Subscription / unsubscription are easily done by members or administrators, depending on configurable settings (e.g., may require admin to sub but member can unsub). ++++

  • Admins can block a user +++++

  • Additional options/mechanisms for control of spam/abuse and removal of abusive content (by admins and/or members) +++

  • Manageable learning curve for admins, low barrier to shared/changing duties   +++

  • Minimal requirements for maintenance by Ontolog volunteers (e.g., lags in individual availability should not result in substantial outages) +++++

  • No cost ++++,  or

    • at workst, very, very low cost (such that it could be met, easily and rapidly, by member contribution) +++++

  • All aspects of management can be handled by a small number of volunteer admins, without much burden +++++

  • Feed options that facilitate potential additional archiving and/or integration with other infrastructure (such as Wiki) +++

Plus, as background, considerations mentioned in various conversations started last year (see, e.g., http://ontolog-02.cim3.net/wiki/FutureOntologInfrastructure and the email thread starting with http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/2015-01/msg00077.html), though these generated very little discussion or interest).

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