[bksvol-discuss] Re: Keeping The List Open To Searches

  • From: "Maria Kristic" <maria6289@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 17:17:56 -0400

Just a quick note to say that I agree with you, Monica. I've always been
fine with the way things are; I've always known about the accessibility of
FreeLists archives, it's been helpful when I've wanted to learn about a
topic or piece of AT from user feedback on a mailing list that I know
FreeLists maintains, and like you point out below, email address domains are
stripped. You've given some excellent scenarios below that I'd never thought
of! <smile>

Skype: MariaKristic
AIM: MCKristic
Email/MSN: maria6289@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
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-----Original Message-----
From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Monica Willyard
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 4:23 PM
To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Keeping The List Open To Searches

Hi, everyone. I have been reading the posts on this list about how and
by whom the volunteers' list can be accessed. Some of you are asking
Bookshare to close the list to searches, and I respect your feelings.
I'd like to understand what types of information you'd like to be kept
private since Freelists is already marking out your email address when
people do a search. Maybe that would help me understand your position

I think I am in the minority for now, and I'd like to share why I like
having our list archives open to everyone. I hope that our list stays
open for three reasons. The first is that people who are in the
process of learning about scanning can access ideas from this list
while they're in the planning stage of choosing OCR software and
buying a scanner. We don't usually get a person signed up to this list
until after the deed is done, and that means we get a lot of people
with poor tools as they begin. Due to the cost of the software,
they're often locked into a product that doesn't suit them and makes
scanning harder. Since our list archive is open, they can use Google
to find out which scanning software works best and get real opinions
instead of sales hype.

The second advantage of having an open list is that using Google gives
me more specific search results if I'm trying to learn about a topic.
The Freelists search feature isn't very specific and gives me all
kinds of results that I don't need. With Google, I can do a search for
a phrase containing scanner recommendation or suggestion but not
Opticbook. This would quickly let me see scanner recommendations for
brands of scanners other than the OpticBook. I can do this search from
the computer store while I'm looking at scanners. I can even do this
search on my cell phone while riding to the store. This would be
impossible to do if the list were closed. Being able to do this search
would save the entire list from getting another round of "which
scanner should I buy." That's a thread that already pops up once a
month or so.

The third reason I think the list should stay open is that closing it
won't actually protect anyone's privacy. Having a closed or private
list doesn't make it safer but does give its members a false sense of
security. Email itself isn't very secure since all a person would
have to do is forward a list member's email to someone else or even
paste its contents onto a website. After that, all bets are off.
Someone from the Bookshare Discuss list proved that last summer when
she posted one of my messages from here to a list where we had been
asked not to post about a certain topic. She used her email client's
forward message button, and my post hit that list ten seconds later
with my email address and Skype name in full view. I had to deal with
the fall-out of that choice for weeks. Having this list closed to
searching wouldn't have changed the situation at all except for one
thing. I was about to be banned from that list, but I asked the
moderator to search our archives so I could prove that my message was
written in response to a question on this list and that it was never
intended for anyone on her list. Because she was able to see that my
email had been posted without my consent, I was not banned.

Right now, Freelists marks out your email address for searches of the
archives. It even filters out email addresses in your signature too.
So only your name and what you write about are visible in searches. I
think it's unwise to put your phone number or mailing address at the
bottom of messages going to lists. That's not because of the open or
closed list deal. It's because anyone on the list can post or forward
that information anywhere he or she wishes with just one keystroke.

So for these reasons, I hope Bookshare will leave the list as it has
been for the past several years. I think it will help our community as
a whole as well as serving the needs of its members.

Monica Willyard
Visit my blog at http://www.scannersguild.com

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