MashupsOfElistsAndWeb20

[from the Web2forDev archives]

Mash-ups of e-lists & Web 2.0 ?

Don Osborn
on December 18, 2007

Greetings! I'm looking at revising communications on Bisharat.net and PanAfriL10n.org to somehow leverage the best of e-mail lists and interactive web applications, but without presenting users with cumbersome interfaces.

I run several lists, including 3 that are linked by an automatic translation feature put together by FUNREDES. I find that GNU Mailman is good but has limitations (can't edit incoming posts, for instance, which is often necessary to improve output from the machine translation). More to the point of this message, though,
1) I get the feeling that the email list format has limitations in terms of accessibility and appeal for some - and
2) that there might be ways of constructively recycling relevant info from archives to enrich new discussions (often people do the latter from memory, and sometimes not, but could an application bring old items around? I know of one H-Net list that highlights "Notable Threads" http://www.h-net.org/~africa/ which I am sure were entered by list editors)

It would be fairly easy to make a more visually attractive "homepage" for each GNU Mailman list, with RSS feed from the list itself (via something like http://www.mail-archive.com/ ) and other features. Or perhaps some sort of "communications central" approach with RSS from all lists related to localization in Africa (the broad topic addressed by the lists). On the other hand, why set up feeds for people who already have them?

There is some talk in other areas of interactive blogs, though the interaction there is different. Quicktopic.com, which offers a really simple message board setup, had the concept of "promoting" a thread from a list to a dedicated message board on its site, but I'd rather not have something like that or a blog diverting discussions, rather something that enhances communication in tandem with the e-lists.

Sorry this rambles but I'd be interested in any new perspectives in getting the best out of e-mail lists in combination with Web 2.0 approaches.


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