New EVDL Archive and Forum

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New EVDL Archive and Forum

EVDL Administrator
For several years I've been jawboning about building a more or less official
public archive for the EVDL, but hadn't done anything substantial.  I had a
fairly extensive list of features I thought were worth having, and as we've
repeatedly discussed this issue over the years, I've added to that list.

Here's an outline of what I hoped to do.

1. First and foremost, I wanted the archive to stretch back over as many
years as possible.  The membership of this list has changed since the early
days.  We have people now with expertise in certain crucial areas.  In past
years, we had members with other areas of expertise.  EV hobbyists don't
always use the most up-to-date components, and information about
controllers, motors, and chargers from 5 or 10 years ago can still be
useful.  Right now, all that knowledge is spread over several old archives.

2. I wanted to be able to maintain the archive myself, instead of depending
on people I might or might not be able to contact.  (For example, our former
principal public archive at mail-archive.com quit working when we switched
to Mailman, and I haven't been able to reach the person responsible for it.)

3.  I wanted outstanding search capabilities.  An archive is useless if you
can't dig out what you need.  

I've looked into various answers over the last several years, but something
always stopped me.  Hosting the archive myself at evdl.org seemed like the
best answer, but the setup and maintenance seemed daunting.  It looked like
that might have to wait until after I'd retired from the daily grind.

Offsite archives were easy and robust, but they didn't have the capabilities
I thought we needed.

A few months ago when the list had some archive discussions, I went
exploring and stumbled across nabble.com.  They offered several interesting
features :

1. Really good searching.  They provide a web form which is easy for
beginners but has the versatility many of us want.  It allows fairly
sophisticated searches on body, subject, topic, author, or all of the above.
 Searches can be limited by date.

2. A forum interface for those who prefer it.  It's not as attractive or
sophisticated as some of the other web forums, so it many not satisfy
everyone, but I think at least some of those who join the EVDL and almost
immediately want to know why we don't use a "modern" system will find this
to their liking.

3. Threaded presentation (with a flat presentation optional for those who
create their own Nabble accounts).  Several users have asked for this and
presently use gmail to achieve it.  Now you can have it on the web.

4. Obfuscated email addresses to make it tough for spammers.

5. Willingness to export our archive should we wish to go elsewhere.

6. Willingness to import our previous archives.

Nabble had some disadvantages :

1. Archives were implemented as Wiki-style forums.  Anybody could change the
structure or appearance of the forum.  That was OK, but sometimes the EVDL
attracts trolls, and I didn't want the potential hassle of chasing one
around.

2. They were free, but ad-supported.  I'm kind of old fashioned and I prefer
an ad-free environment.

Recently, Nabble removed the universal Wiki control on forum design.  Now
only the forum owner can make changes.  That took care of a big concern.  
They're still ad-supported, but the ads are fairly subtle Google-style text
ads.  (Of course we have no way of being sure that the ads will remain
subtle.)

As you may have guessed, I've opened a Nabble archive for the EVDL to see
how it goes.

It doesn't yet have the deep archives in place.  I have a LOT of work to do,
converting my text-based archives in varying formats into mbox format for
Nabble.  But once that's done, we'll have a nearly complete archive back to
2001, with some messages from as far back as 1996.  

Regrettably, a complete pre-2000 archive may not be possible.  In those days
I copied some of my archive to 5.15" floppy disks.  I didn't store them
carefully, and many diskettes are now unreadable.  Anyone who has (or can
obtain) >complete< archives for the EVDL from before 2000, in mbox format,
please contact me about this.  

(My contact info is at the bottom of this page : http://www.evdl.org/help -
private replies to this message will not reach me)

You can check out a beta version of the new archive here :

http://www.evdl.org/archive/

Note the "Advanced search" link near the top left of the page.

A few people here have indicated they're keen on forum style discussion.  
These folks can contribute to the EVDL right from the archive pages.  

As long as you're subscribed to the EVDL as a traditional mailing list, your
posts will be forwarded to the rest of us (a la Yahoo Groups).  There are
links built into the forum for subscribing, for those who aren't already
members.

Let me know how you like it.  I expect its appearance will change a bit over
the next few weeks as we use it and you email me with your thoughts.

David Roden - Akron, Ohio, USA
EV List Administrator

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