SEO Meetup Groups – How to Really Screw Up With Organizing One… and (Hopefully) Fix It

October 22, 2008

Today I made two or three mistakes and misjudgements concerning an issue with our SEO Meetup group, and then made several follies when trying to fix the problem.  I’m a mess.  What a disaster!

Here’s the basic situation:
The group has a mailing list where any member can email all other members.  In the past 9 months there had been maybe one or two times this was actually used, with little fanfare.  In the past 2-3 weeks its been used twice and what has happened was that all email replies to the original email ended up going to everybody.  Many people complained that they were getting bombarded with tons of email that they did not want… basically two people might have a string of emails back and forth but another 90 people were getting CCed on it.  A mess.

Here’s how I tried to handle it:
I created a new policy that basically told everyone they could email the group but then all subsequent replies should be addressed to the individual, not the group.  Problem is there is not a setting I can find in Meetup.com to configure it that way… it seems many emails have the group’s address as the standard “reply-to” field.  Several people posed a better idea to me… a Forum.

Here’s where I was really stupid:
I tried to send an email to one group member apologizing for making them look like the villain here when really that was not the case.  However, I was a complete idiot and sent my personal reply to the entire group.  Clearly, I’m incompetent when it comes to mailing lists and basic email management.

Here’s where I was lazy:
I didn’t do 30 seconds of research before sending out the email about the “new policy” to see that in fact there is a message board built-in to the Meetup.com site… I just had to “enable” it.

Here’s where I’ve hopefully fixed it:
1) I’ve decided to enable the message board. This was easy.  I just didn’t know it existed and I rushed to address the issue before doing my homework.  Dumb.

2) I’ve decided to disable the ability for members to email all members via the email list.  Instead if they want to broadcast something they can either send it to me and I will send it (at my discretion) or they can post in the forum.

Here’s why my fix might not work:
At this point I’ve sent a gillion emails with a new policy, and then “psych, there’s actually a NEW new policy”.  If I were receiving all these emails, I probably would have started to completely ignore them by now and thus would not see the new “solution”.

Hopefully someone learns something from this!

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