RS Communities or Groups
So you are on the net searching for a place to park yourself and get to know people who love to stamp just as much as you do. You want to find a quality community, one where the people are nice and welcoming, no flame wars, where you can find information and get the help you need. One that does not make you feel pressured into anything, feel guilty, or threatened (too many rules and the boot if you don‘t do this that or the other thing within time). You want to find a comfort zone. A site that is easy to use and navigate that offers you the information, friendship, and guidance you so desperately seek as a stamping funatic.
Where do you find them?
First, you can ask a stamping pal or at a stamp shop for a recommendation.
Other wise, you can search yourself. Search rubberstamping or rubber stamping as it is spelled either way.
You can even find a community on line with stampers within your state or country.
Once you find them, you can easily look over the site and decide by what you see and read if this is for you.
Some sites are stamp talk only and exclusively, others allow daily chit chat about anything under the sun. Flaming (insulting /name calling or arguing with someone else in the community in a public setting rather than private) is prohibited on practically every site and removing you as a member is a consequence.
Email groups send out individual emails per message or digests, all messages contained in one viewing.
Some email groups have heavy email per day – a few hundred to thousands of messages, not all RS related. So you have to decide if you have the time everyday to be reading or deleting. You can always set up folders and channel OT, (Off Topic) or TANs (Tangents) into the junk mail bin., however, some people forget to change subject lines and you end up reading through it all and sometimes, there are stamping tips contained in them. Viruses can be passed on through a group in this manner. You will be heavily informed if you have a virus by other members.
Read all about RS Email Etiquette.
Stationary sites are sites that you visit or can lurk in if that is what you desire to become. They do not provide email notifications, as stated, you must visit them.
Stationary sites do expect members to participate.
Some stationary sites are private and cannot be viewed by the public.
You need to become a member either by applying or getting invited.
Some stationary sites have message boards that allow you the option to receive notification if someone responds to a message of yours. You get a notification with a link but not the message. You need to click on the link to read the message. The link of course takes you to the site. Delphi has several RS camps of this type. They have nice custom pages with tutorials and samples but no member albums on site.
The clubs are suppose to go to a group form soon so the format will change over eventually (done).
Yahoo Clubs, now Yahoo Groups are based on email. They can be confusing.
There are many communities at YahooGroups. You can get emails or digests. Individual emails contain ads now. Text digests don’t but do have ad links and on digests, you can read all messages together and your delete finger does not get worn out. This is very convenient and saves your from finger fatigue.
You can also get HTML enriched digests that contain ads/or ad links. It also gives you an update as to what was added to the site.
Some YahooGroups are private to avoid lurkers reading their boards or even posting spam messages.
You can also go on site to read messages. Go to expand view (right above messages) to avoid the ads.
Ads will appear when reading individual messages on site or now in anything that comes from a calendar posting.
YahooGroups also offers a search on the site base. You can search for a word, name, subject or message number. Right click open a new window works well but if you click on individual messages, in order to come back to the search list, you must always click your back button.
Most Yahoo RS Groups offer vendor days where vendors can advertise on certain days only creating more stamp talk the rest of the week.
Some have challenge days or tip or technique days.
RS Communities in general
Some groups get too big and may limit membership from time to time closing down to new members.
Some have membership caps meaning they only allow so many members in, cull their lists once in a while for inactive members or dead emails, then open up for memberships again.
Some ask for personal information before they let you in. If you do not respond, you cannot become a member. Some may ban your address also so you cannot re-apply.
Some will delete your membership if you are not actively participating over a period of time.
Most do not like lurkers, people who do not participate at all yet others allow lurkers. Lurkers should speak up once in a while.
Private clubs usually are not listed so you need to know someone to be invited.
No one likes trouble makers so any flaming is not tolerated and you get the boot.
Sharing from list to list is frowned upon. If you see something you want to share with others on another list, you should interpret it into your own words but do not copy and paste someone else’s ideas unless you ask for permission to do so by emailing the person.
Most communities have a policy in place. Most feel that what ever their members contribute, is for their community making it exclusive and unique to their members.
You should never copy and paste something from a private outside the community website onto any stamping forum. This is plagiarism. Send your stamping pals the URL instead so they can view the information themselves.
Some communities have monthly contests. You win for the honor and glory for a month or you may win a prize from a vendor. Contests are good ways to get extra stamping stuff with just your talent and a bit of luck.
In communities where there are monthly contests, some have you send your material to the monthly contest organizer, others allow you to send a scan. The ones where you have to send in the item, you may or may not be able to have your item returned, this depends on that communities policy.
Some communities mail all entries to a non-profit organization that can use the cards. Some others keep the cards for themselves or for use in their shop.
Some communities base their activity on chatting and swapping/RAKs so message boards do not contain much more than what anyone received in a swap or RAK or an occasional stamping question or dilemma.
Sometimes, some of the smaller places containing content only no idle chit chat (only a few hundred or less members) are the best places to be. This is a good group to be in if you don’t have time and things are at a pace you can tolerate. Maybe it looks like boards are not active however remember, that most people like to stamp and swap, maybe that is what they are doing instead of chatting on line all the time. In content communities, information/tutorials is easier to locate as you don’t have to wade through so much chit chat if you don’t have the time.
Message boards are not everything, files, link lists custom pages or albums in communities can contain lots of information as well as ideas. This could be why message boards seem to have only a dozen or two messages a day, people are trying ideas they see in other messages or on custom pages.
Chats tend to be tutorial or MITI (make it take it)
You may want to limit your communities to just a few so you don’t get over burdened and stressed. It can be very hard to keep up if you have a real life outside of the puter.