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Re: [aroid-l] IAS newsletter

  • Subject: Re: [aroid-l] IAS newsletter
  • From: "Leo A. Martin" leo1010@attglobal.net
  • Date: Sun, 18 Aug 2002 14:15:21 -0400

I just joined the IAS after being on aroid-l for a while. In my spare time (!?) I take care of the Web page for our local cactus club (url in my signature block) and have given some thought to Web usablility, especially because I can't even get 56K from my modem. I wrote our pages by hand to download very fast. I usually surf the Web with image downloading turned off. Mostly I really care about the text and the rare picture, which I prefer to download on a case-by-case basis.

The purpose of a newsletter is to communicate information.

Nothing is more useful for this purpose than plain ASCII text. I don't mean Word documents, I mean plain ASCII text files (with file extension .TXT). Word unhelpfully does everything possible to trick people into converting plain text to Word format so others cannot read it unless they have the latest version of Word.

Design types think it's pretty to use fancy fonts, colors, etc... but this is unneccessary for communicating simple information, and it takes a very long time to download. We don't all read hobby material at the office during business hours nor do we all have T1 lines at home.

For that matter, Acrobat versions later than 3 do not conform to Adobe's own file specifications. Much of the world still runs version 3 on Windows 3.x and cannot upgrade to later versions of Acrobat because these later versions only run on later versions of Windows. These people get errors when trying to view PDF files in formats later than 3. I save our club newsletters in Acrobat version 3 when possible.

How about posting the newsletters as plain text? Download would be very quick. Plant specialists aren't induced to join by pretty layout but by useful information. I leave Web sites right away if they take forever to load. Photos could be on a separate page with the URL written in the text.

Ron Iles' idea of a text-based forum is a good one. One might envision an IAS Forum page. It might look something like this:

h tt p:/ /ww w.aro  id.or g/forum.h t  ml
(spaces inserted to prevent your E-mail program from thinking this a real URL)

IAS Forum
Communications, articles, brief notes
This is not a mail list; for growing questions and discussion go to
Copyright IAS

1	4	5	6	7
8	9	10	13	14
15	18


and so on. Each month would be a link to a page with the dates in that month. Each date would open in a separate window a text file with the traffic posted that day. This would not include the Aroid-L, but might include topical "Reports, Dialogue & Communication between ALL Members" as Mr Iles writes. Only days with items posted might be listed.

Members without Internet connections could receive in the mail printouts of text and photos on a regular basis.

This would require very much less time on the part of editors than the current system.

Also, I am amazed a large list like this has moderators who approve each message. That is a tremendous amount of work and at times might lead to long delays. Other lists seem to get by without pre-approved messages, on the theory that people can ignore what doesn't interest them, and spammers have privileges terminated quickly.

Leo A. Martin
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Like cactus and succulents?
Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society

Ron Iles wrote:
> Thank you, Elizabeth
> Sadly, using Adobe Acrobat as recommended on the IAS Site, with 56k modem &
> state of the art PC, downloads of complete low resolution 2001 NLs are
> inexorably slow, those of high resolution impossible.
> So to all Aroiders, Members & Prospective.
> Can "IAS Proceedings" be put in files of most easily accessed one page at a
> time?   Maybe then electronic "News" for World Members could be as often as
> needed &  available.  As I said in June 2001 it might allow OPEN Dialogue
> between ALL Members, not quarterly, not monthly, but even daily.     One
> page at a time within a planned folder structure would seem to be most easy
> for the producers as well as consumers.  Having a "production chain"
> arduously to grind out & print dutifully", "THE" "News"letter, maximum
> twelve page quarterly does not seem to be in keeping with the image of a
> vibrantly communicating International Aroid Society.
> Please could we have a snail mail referendum of those who want Hard Copy?
> Please can some of us have day to day AND more historic "Proceedings of the
> International Aroid Society" in most easily downloadable weekly/daily single
> page files in colour on the IAS site.  To me this would appear to increase
> opportunity for sustained major dialogue & understanding the real & dynamic
> needs of World Membership.   Also, would it not transfer much of the heavy
> work load from the willing shoulders of the few stalwarts, especially in
> Florida & nearby who strive so hard & idealistically for the success of the
> IAS & to keep it viable.  As I suggested over a year ago in NL2001 (1) is
> this the evolutionary road which IAS should take?
> There is no SINGLE password protected Site for topical Reports, Dialogue &
> Communication between ALL Members so that all proceedings involving  &
> between all Members are not "in camera" but fully open & democratic.  Indeed
> it might function as the "heart beat" of the Society keeping the body whole,
> healthy, growing & most active.
> I hope my breaking of "radio silence" on matters about which I felt VERY
> strongly proves positive for the International Aroid Society.
> R.B.Iles

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