Has anyone else grown weary of the discussions on ASAE’s four bazillion listserves? After about ten consecutive years as a subscriber to one or more of ASAE’s listserves, to say the content has gotten tired and predictable would be an epic understatement. You know the drill on these lists:
- “Can anyone recommend a good restaurant for a board retreat in Omaha?”
- “Help, I need a new membership card vendor!”
- “Any strategic planning consultants you’d suggest?”
- “What’s the average retention rate for the association industry?”
- “I have this sticky staffing situation…”
- “[profound social media topic du jour]”
- “[I’m a vendor replying to your message with a painfully obvious attempt to sell you and everyone else listening. And softly of course.]”
- …and everyone’s favorite: “A Friday question…”
Ugh. It’s sad. These listserves are supposed to be like the members-only lounges of ASAE; the conversation cafes where you can talk shop in a highly relevant context. Frankly, I’ve found more relevance amongst those in the blogocluster (hat tip to JDC for that one) than on the ASAE listserves. The signal to noise ratio on ASAE’s listserves has diminished to the point where my investment of time is generating a diminishing return.
Therefore, a few weeks ago I tried to hack my ASAE listserve subscriptions into something less, shall we say, tedious. It was a good effort, but as is often the case, it turns out my hack was a complete and utter fail. Along the way, though, a strange thing happened. I barely noticed they were gone. I hardly miss those lists!
Always endeavoring to be a constructive critic, here are some of my ideas to improve the listserve experience:
- Upgrade the software. Lyris for DOS, while lightweight, is NOT feature rich. Upgrade the software. All kidding aside, the software must be a good five years old. Upgrade the software.
- Split the big lists into smaller groups. Not sure what that ideal number should be, but there’s a reason that the early internet chat rooms filled up and spilled over into other rooms.
- Find a way to kill the out of office replies before they reach my digest. Probably achievable with an upgrade.
- Offer an RSS feed for each list. A secure one, if it must be so to protect the value of membership.
- Enforce the listserve rules. In particular…
- Banish from the list anyone who replies to the digest and leaves the full contents of the digest in the body of the reply for a week or maybe a month.
So, as I try to repair my hack, I’ll be dark on ASAE’s listserves. But please, drop me a tweet to let me know what that great restaurant in Omaha is called.