Skip to “How to Join” if you know about Google groups
About the Google Group (long-winded explanation for those new to the idea):
Imagine we all lived in the same small village, and there was no such thing as email. The regular circulars would be delivered by Ian by putting envelopes in everyone’s letterbox. But if any of us wanted to contact the others – say, to tell people about en event they may be interested in, or to discuss some cycling-related topic – there are two ways we could do it. Either we could do the same as Ian does with the circulars and put notes through everyone’s letterbox. Or, we could have a big noticeboard on the village green and put our notices on that for others to see. The noticeboard could have a number of headings, and if you use this option you could put your message under the appropriate heading. Then, anyone reading the messages could choose to read only those with a heading that interested them.
The beauty of a Google Group is that it caters for both these options. You can opt to have “individual emails” (the letterbox option), or you can opt for “no emails” and then log in to the group to read the messages online (the noticeboard option). The electronic version of the heading on the noticeboard is called a “thread” and it corresponds to the subject line of an email. The online version of the Google Group is arranged in threads which look just like headings (except they go from top to bottom instead of left to right). So if I click on a thread labelled “Christmas Social”, I can expect to see all the messages about that topic.
Any member of the google group can send a message to it (either by emailing the group address, or by logging on and clicking “New Topic”). To reply to a message if you are on “individual emails”, just reply in the normal manner (but if you change the topic, please do not reply to an old message – send a fresh email); if you are reading online using the “no emails” option, just click the “Reply” box in the message.
Unfortunately for us noticeboard readers, there are two other options called “abridged” and “digest” which mess up the threads because they change the thread title. People opting for either of these get several messages sent to them in one email – a bit like getting a big envelope in your letterbox with lots of individual notes inside it. The individual messages are listed under “topic” headings. If you reply to an “abridged” or “digest” message you create a new thread, so that a single discussion then gets split into two or more threads. This problem can, however, be overcome (I think) by changing the subject line of your reply to the name of the “topic” heading of the message you’re replying to.
If you want to join the Google Group you can email me and ask me to add you, or you can visit the group’s web page at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/brighton-hove-clarion.
To join on-line, or to choose the “no emails” option, you will need to create a Google login if you don’t already have one.