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Re: do we need a forum
For what it's worth - I've found that Gmail is indispensable for groups like LD. It's very simple to set up filters and labels, to search through history, and to follow a threaded conversation. I have over a year of LD postings (and many other groups) in my Gmail inbox, and I'm only using 1% of my storage space.
One of the things that makes this list great is the relatively high signal to noise ratio. Not a lot of off topic chatter going on. My experience with online communities shows that without a doubt, forum-style communications encourage high noise ratios, and can have a *negative* impact on a group's ability to share, document and build on useful information.