Groups

One of the most useful features in Google Apps is the ability to create "Groups" for the various groups within the Common Ground community for communication and collaboration. At the simplest level, Groups allow group leaders and members an easy way of communicating through a single email address. Because of the complexity of group settings, please contact the webmaster (Scott Jensen) for assistance setting up your group. Google's help pages for groups may be found here.

Group Types

A Group creates a single email address for group communication. Messages sent to the group address ("groupname@commongroundmeditation.org) are sent to the entire group. Groups may be set up in any of the following ways:

Announcement Only

An announcement only group allows only group leaders (the groups "owners" or "managers") to send messages to the entire group. Replies may be directed back to the group managers. The Buddhist Studies group is an example.
Unmoderated Discussion
An unmoderated discussion group allows all members to send messages and replies to the whole group. This kind of group has been especially useful for small service-oriented groups such as the practice leaders to contact each other in search of subs.

Moderated Discussion

A moderated discussion group allows all members to to send messages to the whole group, pending moderation from the group managers.
Note about Discussion Groups
Because discussion groups happen primarily within email, they are better suited for shorter communications such as scheduling or quick questions. For more substantial and topical discussions such as with study groups or event planning, community leaders are encouraged to consider setting up their own site for their groups.

Web Interface

Google provides a web page for each group where messages may be read and posted as an alternative to the more traditional email interface. Members who already use Google groups will see their Common Ground Groups on their personal groups page. However, due to the complexities of using a Google account to access Common Ground content, all but the most experienced users are encouraged to participate in groups through email alone. A directory of all Common Ground groups may be found at groups.commongroundmeditation.org.

Adding Members to the Group

While the group web page provides a link for users to request group membership, the preferred method is to have applicants email the group leaders directly with their requests.

Group memberships are managed from the Group's web page. Group leaders logged in with Commongroundmedtation.org accounts can find their groups at groups.commongroundmeditation.org. On the right-hand side of the group page are links to the group's management functions, including "invite members". On the member invitation page an invitation to group membership may be written and sent to an invitation list of email addresses. Invitees will receive a link in their email that must be clicked to join the group, ensuring they are willingly opting in. The confirmation link takes the new member to the group's web page, but because of the complexities of logging in with a non-commongroundmeditation.org account, all users are strongly encouraged to disregard the page and use groups exclusively through email.

There is a second tab on the top of the membership invitation page for directly adding members to the group. Because this method does not allow members to explicitly join the group as with the invitation, use is strongly discouraged except in cases where existing mailing lists or groups are being migrated to Google Groups.

Removing Members from Groups

Unsubscribe instructions are included at the bottom of every group message for members to unsubscribe themselves as desired. Members may also be removed manually by group managers through the group management pages on the group web page, under "management tasks". On that page is a link to a list of all group members, where individual members may be removed.

Advanced Groups Features

A group's single email address does even more than simply enable group communication; it allows the group to be treated as a single entity for easy management with other Common Ground groups and services.

Groups as Members of Other Groups

A group as a whole may be subscribed to another group. For example, the group "ongoingvolunteers@commongroundmeditation.org" has all service groups as members. Likewise, the group "gardencommittee" is a member of the "gardenvolunteers" group (which itself is a member of the "ongoingvolunteers" group). Messages to the gardencommitte group only go to the gardencommittee group, while messages to the gardenvolunteers group go to both the gardencommittee and gardenvolunteers group. Likewise, messages to ongoingvoulunteers goes to members of all subscribed groups. Members of multiple subgroups will receive only one message from a higher-up group.

Using Groups for Managing Access to Common Ground Content

Groups may also be used as a convenient way to manage access to Common Ground content such as sites, docs, and calendars. Group members may be required to log into their personal Google account in order to view or edit private content. More on using groups with these services can be found on those apps' help pages in the right sidebar.
Subpages (1): Managing Membership
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