[Yak] Best Form of Online Discussion? (Longish)

To Orchid and Artmetal Listmanagers and Listees,

I’m interested in researching what’s the best form of online communication
for discussion. There is a move afoot in New Zealand to start something up
online where craft artists can communicate with one another, announce,
discuss, and argue issues about all types of craft artwork in New Zealand.

I personally believe that to work best with the majority of people (many
are just starting to get online, and stumbling over learning to use email)
the discussion medium needs to be simple, quick, and real easy to use.

A website has started up recently based at the Dowse Art Museum (they put
on many great crafts exhibitions), and they are aiming for to house a NZ
craft Resource Centre, physical and Internet. The website is quite good in
many ways, but unfortunately it is a little limited for access at the
moment. The W3 Consortium recommends in its latest HTML 4.0 guidelines
that public sites be accessible by many platforms versions and forms of
browser, including braille, laptop, text-only, b&w hand-held PDAs, etc
etc. They’ve responded to this criticism and their webmasters are going
to make it simpler and reduce the requirement for version 4 of the big two
browsers to view the gallery section, and given over the reins to the
Dowse people to upload content themselves. They’re also keen on adding
some form of browser-based discussion medium.

Meanwhile a group of us have set up to look into modes and methods of
communication/discussion, and I’m one of them. We don’t even have a
national magazine. So far there are 28 people online in NZ craft. (!) -
Well that’s how many there are of those who attended a meeting here
recently. I’m getting interested in running a mail list from my computer
or maybe from the Dowse computer.

Q1: What types of online discussion media are available.
Q2: What are their pros and cons?
Q3: What list arrangement (software and people-hours) is used for this
List? Q4: What’s it like from both administrating and participating points
of view? Pros and cons.


A Treasury of New Zealand Craft Resources http://www.craftinfo.org.nz

W3C Recommendations, revised on 24-Apr-1998 http://www.w3.org/
HTML has progressed a long way since the pioneering days. Early versions
of HTML were very simple - which helped popularise it… But the
commercial world began to take note of the possibilities for world-wide
platform-independent communications with consumers, and demanded ways to
improve the ‘looks’ of their web pages… Browser manufactures attempted
to satisfy this demand by adding proprietary tags, but this ran counter to
the original goal of platform independence. Also, embedding presentation
into web pages overloaded them and made them difficult to

HTML 4.0 Specifications http://www.stars.com/Authoring/HTML/4/
This specification defines the HyperText Markup Language (HTML),
version 4.0, the publishing language of the World Wide Web. In addition to
the text, multimedia, and hyperlink features of the previous versions of
HTML, HTML 4.0 supports more multimedia options, scripting languages,
style sheets, better printing facilities, and documents that are more
accessible to users with disabilities. HTML 4.0 also takes great strides
towards the internationalization of documents, with the goal of making the
Web truly World Wide.

I’d appreciate any comments on any of the 4 questions above.
Thank you.
B r i a n � A d a m J e w e l l e r y E y e w e a r �
@Brian_Adam1 ph/fx +64 9 817 6816 NEW ZEALAND