DMARC and taking responsibility for sending group email

As it looks like strict DMARC policies are here to stay, OnlineGroups.net has improved its handling of posts from a domains with a strict DMARC policy. This means that as other providers switch to strict policies, we will automatically be able to take responsibility for delivering emails. Here is an explanation of the change we have made, a summary of recent DMARC-related trends and some thoughts about where we are heading with all this. Continue reading


Who says email is no longer an effective means of collaboration?

In yet another article slamming email, and lamenting the lack of alternatives, Robert Barmorth writes, in Collaborative conversation in the post-email enterprise:

Email is no longer an effective means of collaboration and some companies have even banned it – but what is the alternative?

In the relatively short time of the couple of decades email has been widely used, it has migrated from a useful, simple universal communication tool to a burden.

Who says email no longer an effective means of collaboration? Email is the favourite scapegoat for the ills of the connected workplace. It is email, not digital technology in general that has caused work to follow us home. It is email, not being able to keep tabs on so much more activity than ever before, that causes overload. Continue reading


How to launch an online group

The launch is an important moment in the life of an online group. You are enthusiastic about the potential for your group to collaborate. You have chosen and set up the platform for the new group. Now it is time to engage your participants in making your vision a reality.

Building participation online is not always easy. It is a chicken and egg process. People collaborate when others collaborate with them. It is up to you to initiate that process. It is important to get people excited about the potential for collaboration in the group, and knowing how to use the new online space. That will get participation off to a good start.

A successful launch of an online group needs an attention-grabbing event. It also needs careful preparation and sustained follow-up after the event. Here is a guide that will help you prepare for, carry out and follow-up after a launch event. Continue reading


How OnlineGroups.net used the Yahoo! DMARC crisis to make a better Mailing List Manager

Two days ago, Yahoo! made a change to its email servers that caused severe problems for almost all Mailing List Managers, including OnlineGroups.net. Any email sent from a Yahoo! email address to a mailing list could not be delivered to an email address at Gmail, Outlook.com (including MSN, Hotmail and Windows Live Mail), Comcast or Yahoo! itself. By responding quickly, we were able to limit the impact of this change on our users. As from earlier today, deliveries to email addresses at those providers were back to normal.

I will explain the problem that occurred, how it affected Mailing List Managers and their users, including ours, what you can do if the problem affected you and what we did to resolve the problem.

I will also comment on how this incident points the way towards email being more reliable and useful for group collaboration. Continue reading


Why people still use email for collaboration

In How Social Tools Have Failed In the Enterprise So Far, Dennis Duvauchelle writes:

Amazingly (to me), most people still rely on email as the primary method of communicating, collaborating and sharing.

It does not surprise me that so many people still use email for collaboration. Despite the proliferation of social tools, supported by IT or not, email continues to win because it has everyone on it already. It has won Metcalfe. Like it or not, email is the social tool that has most increased productivity.

Alternative social tools suffer the problem that they have to be way better than email to ever beat it. Collaboration is inherently difficult because if you want to know what is going on in a group, you simply have to review a lot of messages.

That problem is more or less incompressible. People moan about all the time they spend ‘clearing’ email as if information about what is going on, who is discussing and working on what, is just noise that gets in the way of real work rather than the actual stuff of collaboration. Continue reading


How to whitelist an email address with Gmail, Outlook.com or Yahoo! Mail

You are trying to reset your password. The site says “check your inbox for a password reset email”. But there is no email in your inbox. This frustrating problem can also occur when you are signing up with a site, or adding an email address to your profile. It can also stop you getting posts from an online group (aka listserv or mailing list).

With sites like Gmail, Outlook.com or Yahoo! Mail, who are you going to call?

You can get the email you want by whitelisting an email address with Gmail, Outlook.com or Yahoo! Mail. This guide explains how to do that. Continue reading


Listservs (aka mailing list managers) explained

List servers (aka mailing list managers) are applications that allow a member of a group to email the other members of the group. They are mostly used for discussion and announcements. They are distinct from email marketing systems which handle email newsletters and other marketing email.

List servers go by various names, and there are several of them to choose from. They all have the same basic function. Here is an explanation of what list servers do, a list of their various names and an overview of the main differences between the most popular listservs. Continue reading


Five ways that online group collaboration beats face to face

Group collaboration is a great way for people to things done, learn and have fun together. When people work with others in a group, they can solve complex problems, coordinate their work and share valuable learning. Face to face meetings are great for group collaboration but they also have problems. Collaborating online can get around some of those problems but it is often seen as poor alternative, an evil that is needed to get around the problems of meeting face to face.

Online group collaboration does get around some of the problems of face to face meetings, but it also provides some benefits that face to face meetings can not provide.

Here, I’ll look at the problems with face to face meetings, how online collaboration gets around them, and some advantages that online collaboration has over face to face. Continue reading


New Zealand’s Treaty of Waitangi: a model for collaboration as equals

the TreatyToday is Waitangi Day in Aotearoa New Zealand. It is a public holiday. The day when we recognise the Treaty of Waitangi, which is in many ways the founding document of our nation. It is why we call our country Aotearoa as well as New Zealand and why M?ori is an official language of New Zealand. Although our short history is littered with breaches of the Treaty, and the Treaty itself is fraught with problems, the document describes a partnership between equals that is worth aspiring to. 

I should not be working. I should be reflecting on Te Tiriti and what it means to me, to my country and to the World. It turns out, I am doing both. And I am reflecting on what it means to the business of fostering collaboration in organisations.

Building culture of collaboration takes leadership. But leading collaboration is not easy. There is no map. We have to use our own knowledge, skills and resources — and to maintain our resilience through the challenges that arise. Where do leaders of collaboration look for inspiration? Perhaps Aotearoa’s journey with the Tiriti o Waitangi can offer some.

Continue reading


Online groups and email vs WordPress blogs for group collaboration

Can blogs save us from the pain of using email for collaboration? Yes, if you take the pain of changing away from email. An easier option is to use online groups with email to give you the advantages of blogs without the pain of changing from email.

In his article Is There Life After Email? Yes, And It’s Amazing, Scott Berkun makes the point that what annoys us most about communication technologies is how people use them. He says it’s “culture that defines these habits, not the tools”. He goes on to explain how at WordPress.com, this effect works the other way around: because there is a culture of engagement with actual work, the communication channels have a high signal-to-noise ratio.

At the same time, Scott Berkun accepts that each technology lends itself to particular kind of use, or abuse. Continue reading