Hey, what would it take to switch from the forum back to Allcom?

Black Rock Rangers Forums Forum Protocols Hey, what would it take to switch from the forum back to Allcom?

This topic contains 56 replies, has 36 voices, and was last updated by  Tulsa 1 year, 2 months ago.

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  • #3606

    Portland, OR

    Hey, we have tried this forum thing for awhile and I am underwhelmed. It’s like Allcom was a big assed junk-drawer and everyone put everything into it and everyone would always go to it and get stuff from it and sometimes things got stale and even moldy in there, but there was all this really great stuff in there and, truthfully, I loved rooting around in it.

    Then we got this really swell new cabinet with all these little drawers and drawers and drawers in it with neat labels and a place for everything and everything in it’s place. Hell, I was one of the people who said we should buy the damned new cabinet in the first place. Except, I don’t use the thing much now … and very few other folks seem to either.

    I feel like we should try new things. This was a cool new thing. Many smart people put lots of thought, care, and effort into making this concept a reality. I feel like part of trying new things is being ready, willing and able to see and admit when the new thing falls flat. It’s always hard to ignore sunk costs [1] and look at what will provide the most utility going forward. To me the forum is a dud. I miss allcom and I think I am not alone.

    What would it take to switch the forum back to Allcom?


    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_costs



    I feel very similarly.

    I think the forums are a nice addition to our tool box, and it’s not needed to get rid of them. I think as each burn passes, more information will be available on them.

    However, I miss Allcom. I miss the energy, I miss the excitement, I miss the semi-annual “STFU, you chattering new people are ruining Allcom” announcements that served as a lesson to many of us new chatty people.

    Frankly, I miss having a gmail label I could click on and get a healthy dose of Rangering from, whether it was 24 hours or 24 days since I last checked. I haven’t found the forums as active as Allcom was.

    I also embraced our new WordPress overlord. However, it hasn’t given me the khaki treats I was used to, and now I think it is no longer deserving of my exclusive attention.




    @pp I had assumed that part of the point was to get us to stop talking over the channel by erecting the log-on, post barrier and that it had succeeded. I realize reading your post that was an uncharitable assumption.

    I have been thinking the last couple of weeks that I am feeling a lot more disconnected from the Rangers than I have before. Parts of this is personal stuff that has nothing at all to do with the event or the Rangers. And there is a little bit of it that does have to do with the Rangers. But I have been thinking that another big part of it, particularly this late in the season when I am normally looking a lot more forward to our shared time, is that I am not hearing that cacaphony of voices that normally gets me psyched.

    Mickey and Da Mongolian talking about gear, Sas randomly commenting on just about everything, Longshot yelling at everyone to get off his playa (which was just a rock shelf until he and the other Piltdown Rangers decided to put some dust out there to make it better) and the general hub-bub of random annoying posts cluttering up my inbox.

    Yeah, allcom was messy and chaotic and could suck sometimes. It was also human and kinda brilliant and had a lot of give and take. Kind of like the Rangers.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  judas.


    After reading these i’m a little confused. To me the main difference between Allcom and the forum is I now need to log into to respond. I still get a million emails all with their handy gmail “rangers” tag. I still never need to log on to catch up on the news. Its all neatly tucked away in my email. If the big issue is being unable to respond form the alerts, there are forums that have that option. Otherwise, I don’t see a huge difference, minus the decrease in volume. Perhaps that was the plan!



    I agree with Kilrog. It’s like allcom, but with just a wee bit of squelch.



    So, I got this thread via email. I read it there, in bed, and I replied. Here’s what I wrote:

    “Allcom, Voyager

    I enjoyed allcom, I learned a lot from the dialog and the liveliness. I have not have any similar experience from the forum.

    I was at training this weekend, asking other rangers questions, and on two occasions I got this response (paraphrasing):

    “oh yeah, I don’t recall but you should ask Allcom… well, you could have asked Allcom. It’s kinda dead now”

    Nothing wrong with forums, although I don’t use them much personally.

    The overall experience I have had is that lots of rangers talked over email, some more than others, some people appeared to want them to talk less or talk through an official system, and now rangers connect noticeably less.

    Even now, I’m replying to this from my mobile device, where I am usually connected, via email using reply all, and have no clue if the response will breach the walls of word press or land in the bit bucket.

    +1 for Allcom restoration.

    Voyager clear”

    ….Wait for it…
    These were the responses that showed up in my inbox, in the order I saw them:

    1) “The error that the other server returned was:
    554 5.7.1 <noreply@rangers.burningman.com>: Relay access denied”

    My thought: Oh well, I mean I DID hit reply all and “noreply” appears to have been an original sender

    2) “Your mail to ‘rangers-allcom-list’ with the subject
    Re: [rangers-allcom-list] Hey, what would it take to switch from
    the forum back to Allcom?
    Is being held until the list moderator can review it for approval.
    The reason it is being held:
    Post to moderated list”

    My thought: Hope! There is moderator, and it may go through if approved. I felt compelled to reply to a ranger communication, even though I was busy studying for a three hour technical exam tomorrow morning, and now I know that if a mysterious moderator finds it worthwhile, it may post to the forum. Yay.

    3) “Sorry pardner, this is a read-only mailing list. If you’d like to
    continue the conversation, mosey on over to

    My thought: Failure. User error on my part. No soup for you.
    In the hope that my email reply would be heard, I have been told that I am not communicating in the acceptable manner.

    I work in tech, and I think user experience matters. So I actually got out of bed, booted a computer, logged into my encrypted password store to find my rangerforum credentials, and posted this.
    Time to express: 29 minutes, total.

    Reading the original post on my phone and sending my email reply felt like having a radio. Getting up to share this experience in forum was like walking to an outpost because my battery died, while also being informed that I did not communicate via the correct channel.

    I won’t make this forum effort often, AND I’m still looking forward to seeing you all in person.

    Voyager clear.



    Great post, @pp. I think the best question is not “what would it take”, but rather “how many would want to switch back”. Switching back is as easy as turning off the forum and re-allowing direct posting to Allcom.

    For me, the forum is way better. Like Kilrog, I get all my Allcom messages in the same place I did before. I read them in my Gmail, and then if anything strikes me as interesting (like this thread), it takes me 2.3 seconds to click on the link right there in the email and log in to the forum. That 2.3 seconds seems to be key in helping to filter out 83.6% of the bullshit that people used to post on Allcom. The signal to noise ratio on the forum is much higher than Allcom, there would seem to be little doubt of that.

    But I, for one, welcome the discussion about the way Rangers communicate with each other in the off-season. Here.


    PS: Judas, you’re funny! “an uncharitable assumption”? Nah, not Rangers. No way. Never happen.




    i may be picky, but the URL in my posts is not clickable. I have to copy, open a new browser window and paste in to get here. took about 14 seconds.


    San Francisco

    So I’m wondering what it would take to have the best of both worlds. Can the forum be set up to accept a reply to via email, so a user can just reply to the thread rather than having to log into the forum to reply? That way we could have our desirable archive but the ease of replying to threads? This might mean new threads may have to be started on the forum, however. Is there such a plugin?



    One of the nice things about restricting posting to the forum is that I no longer have to see what some crazed corporate email admin nazi thought was appropriate treatment of Internet-bound email. The .sig that wordpress adds is a little obnoxious, but at least it’s entirely consistent. If we can filter out the worst of the .sig spam and explo-formatting, then yeah, replies by email would be cool–I tried to do so myself to Creech’s message :-)



    I vote for a return to allcom. A gmail address just for rangering served me well.



    Tulsa, as one of the seven people in the Rangers who got any input into the decison or who’s opinion matters going forward that you feel the forum meets your needs pretty much ends any real conversation right there. I mean, the rest of us can talk all we want, but it’s done.

    And you are probably correct in your assessment. Operationally, reducing the noise level is a pretty good thing. Unfortunately, that has also significantly reduced the signal as well. And at least some of us (but since we are never going to take a vote, we won’t know how many and there will always be people on each side so things aren’t going to change) feel like we have lost a lot in community and bonding.

    So it goes. Things change, and people like yourself who have been contributing enormous amounts to the Rangers since long before I was here and probably will be long after I am frustrated and done have weathered *real* change in the Rangers. And it is also possible that through some self interested distortion the fairly huge body of Rangers that I see not here and annoyed by this aren’t really a significant portion of our total number.



    I went digging back through ye olde email archives looking for the Allcom protocols to inform this discussion…I wanted, both for myself and for you all, a touchstone on the philosophies behind the Allcom mailing list and an informed place to start a conversation about whether the forum was meeting those goals.

    I found the protocols in an email titled “Allcom Protocols, Civility, and a Recipe for Soup” (dated 2/10/12 for those of you who keep all your emails); re-reading the email in its entirety and remembering the nasty, unproductive weeks of list traffic that caused it to be written made me shudder a little bit with remembered trauma.

    As someone who is required by my role within the Rangers to read each and every one of the messages that went across Allcom (and now the forum), it was never really the volume of messages that made me think a forum system could work better—a rationale which keeps getting thrown around here as a reason and makes some sense—but was instead the tendency for even inane conversations to veer into loops of unending nastiness with little ability to moderate or separate that nasty conversation from the rest of the less-mean list traffic. For example, the “making strippers cry” thread made me want to punch my computer screen in the face more than once and drowned out other conversations that were going on at the same time.

    There were a lot of good things about Allcom, but I cannot view it with the rosy glasses that I’m seeing start to tinge this conversation.

    I appreciate that @pp asked this question and that many of you are chiming in. I hope that this forum thread doesn’t end up like Allcom often did, where we devolve into strawman arguments and name calling. It would give me hope that the same thing could happen if we do end up going back to an email list.

    And with that long-winded introduction, here is the stated philosophy of the Allcom list (and, by extension, the philosophy of this forum).

    It may be worthwhile to think about which information delivery system met this philosophy best for you as you think about whether an email list is the best solution, while also acknowledging that your mileage may vary from the Ranger next to you.



    This is a Ranger List. This list presents a learning and
    acculturation opportunity. Rangers old and new are on this list if
    you’re an experienced ranger, demonstrate rangerly behavior, if you’re
    hoping to become a ranger, observe, participate, and learn from the
    community. Rangers are open, neutral, and relatively unstructured.
    Rangers aim to be part of the solution, not part of th problem. When
    faced with a difficult situation, Rangers F.L.A.M.E it.

    Any topic is fair game on this list. If it’s not of interest to you,
    or potentially offends you, ignore it. Any topic should be addressed
    as a Ranger. This is good practice for the playa We don’t get to
    choose what we’re exposed to on the playa. Post and reply here as a
    Ranger. Just like on the playa if you can’t be Rangerly, back out.

    Sometimes it is appropriate to take conversation or disagreement off
    list. take it off list: no one wants to have an argument in their

    There will be moderators on the list. Thought generally laissez-faire,
    the moderators will at times help remind list participants of the
    protocols here.

    Remember we have 300 readers on this list. Try to keep posts on
    topic-ish and do not beat dead horses. Of topic posts should be marked
    OT: in the subject line.


    No attachments. Post links for reference.

    Use plain text to post.

    your posts for content and length, edit the stuff you’re quoting.

    Edit the subject line when appropriate.

    Don’t forward off the list without the author’s permission.

    Please don’t cross post (across lists), this can cause hassle and confussion for the list moderators, post to different list in separate emails.

    (thus ending my sixth and longest post to the forum ever).

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  k8.


    Judas, Tulsa

    You said:

    Tulsa, as one of the seven people in the Rangers who got any input into the decison or who’s opinion matters going forward that you feel the forum meets your needs pretty much ends any real conversation right there. I mean, the rest of us can talk all we want, but it’s done.

    Judas, I have said before and I will say again that I always considered the forum an experiment. If you think it sucks, and a predominance of Rangers agree, then we should go back to the email list.

    I really appreciated your post on this topic. It resonated with me, and I bet it did with others as well. It didn’t change my mind, but it gave me things to think about.

    I hope that the people who are annoyed by the forum will take responsibility for getting on here and participating in the discussion. Because any potential change is unlikely to happen as a result of refusing to participate.

    – Tulsa

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