A big question I don’t have an answer for is how to turn the mailing list I’m starting to publish into a conversation. I want to make it easy for people to send feedback, ask questions, and hold discussions about topics I post, and about other things of interest to subscribers they bring up with each other.

In other words: I want to build a community. I’m just unsure what the best way to do that is these days. Here is my current thinking:

  • A couple of years ago I killed blog comments, because for the year prior to that all I got were spam postings and the occasional troll wandering by from Digg or another aggregator site who felt it necessary to point out how much smarter he was than everyone else. That’s not a conversation.
  • I’ve experimented with twitter hashtags; it can be part of the solution, because it’s a way to fairly easily send feedback to me directly and I can engage in conversations with people, but it doesn’t foster group discussions, and not everyone wants to use Twitter like this.
  • An obvious and simple solution would be a Facebook groups, but… I’m really, really pissed at Facebook right now for how badly they’re handling abuse issues on the site, and I don’t want to invest any resources into making it more useful or help Facebook make money. Also, a bunch of people I know have quit Facebook and so couldn’t join.
  • I know I’ll be told to set up a Slack group, and maybe that’s what I’ll do, but Slack works better with more technical people than it does the general consumer. And it runs into the “one more damn system to join” problem, which goes against my “single point of contact” goal.
  • Maybe I just create a discussion mailing list, like in the good old days?

Right now I’m leaning towards creating a mail list on groups.io, or a Slack group. What else should I be considering, and why? Drop me an email, chat with me on Facebook or Twitter, and help me come up with a good solution for this.

What I want: one single conversation home, easy to use, low friction, not annoying. doesn’t suck the soul out of users, steal their personal info. Doesn’t require to be a nerd to operate. What I’d really like is “Facebook groups” but not on Facebook: easy to use and join, gives a lot of flexibility in discussions, and allows opportunities for users to have conversations that I don’t need to start or organize, as long as it’s within the realm of acceptable topics/content.

What I don’t want is all the other baggage that comes with doing this on Facebook.

What am I not thinking of? Please point me in the right directions.

Thank you!