Problems with defining community - basically only really felt a community exists when there had been a face to face meeting, some sort of previous contact.
Consensus that large, unorganized lists not very useful. If there was something useful in there - too hard to find possible solution -- use Eudora to filter out unnecessary messages.
So does that mean that it is better to have a moderated and monitored site? But that may result in the loss of whatever community feeling had existed.
Also it may help to cluster the messages -- but that takes too much work. Create a daily digest to condense the subjects, find yourself a personal subgroup to talk with.
Closed groups were all favorably talked about. There was some useful information that was passed around but then that comes back to the community issue because these groups were often a result of a conference where people had gathered, connected, and decided to continue the conversations on the internet
Create threaded discussion group with prompters and identifiers.
So how do we foster the growth of a community and not just a bunch of messages?
problems: - new readers too intimidated to join in -- resulting in stagnant groups - new members often repeated conversations so that get cycles in chats
some solutions: - establish a personal connections in a separate part of the discussion group - establish a common goal - maybe restricted topic
When kids are able to send out messages and receive a response makes them realize that there is someone out there who is receiving that message.