MVAS Yahoo Groups Explained

What is a Yahoo Group?

Yahoo groups are online web sites, which allow members to “post” messages for other members to read, upload files that other members can download, and post pictures for other members to view. To use any of these capabilities, you must be a member of the group. To become a member of one of these groups, all you have to do is obtain a Yahoo ID, which is free. There is never any charge for belonging to a Yahoo group.

What groups are available to MVAS members?

Currently there are two Yahoo groups for the MVAS. The “MVAS-NY” Yahoo group is the main group for discussion of astronomy or other issues of general interest to MVAS members. Anyone interested in the MVAS can join this group. The other Yahoo group is the “MVAS‑Board” group, which is for discussion of MVAS business issues only. To join the MVAS‑Board group, you must be a member in good standing of the MVAS.

How do the MVAS Yahoo groups work?

When a member of either group "posts" a message, it is available for reading by any other member of that group. These messages are not accessible to non-group members. When a message is posted to the group, two things happen to that message: 1) It is sent by email to all members of the group who are set up to receive messages that are posted to that group (as you'll see later, each member of the group can either "opt in" or "opt out" of receiving these messages by email), and 2) the message is posted on the group's Yahoo web site, which again is only accessible to members of the group.

So, you can think of the group as a kind of "Internet bulletin board". When any member of the group posts a message, it is like putting up a 3x5 card on a bulletin board for everyone to read. The main difference is that the messages posted to a group can only be read by members of the group, not anyone who happens to be surfing the web. Of course, the Yahoo groups have other capabilities as well, such as the ability to upload files (such as Board minutes or agendas).

How do I “post” a message?

There are two ways to "post" a message to a Yahoo group. To use either of these methods, you must be a member of the group.

The first way (which can be done from nearly any computer connected to the Internet) is to go to the group's home page. The home page for the main MVAS Yahoo group is:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MVAS-NY/

The home page for the Board group is:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MVAS-Board/

You will be prompted to sign in using your Yahoo ID to get to that page (more on this later). On that page, you will see a welcome message and the most recent messages posted. You will also see a navigation bar on the left side of the screen. Click on "Messages". This will take you to the message archive, which shows all messages that have ever been posted to this group (not all on one page of course). Below "Messages" in the navigation bar, you'll see "Post". This will open a page in which you can type a subject line and the body of the message you want to send. Fill in those two boxes, then click "Send" to send your message. Once you have sent your message, it is available for all members of the group to read, so be sure you really want to send it before you do so.

The other way to post a message is to send an email. To post a message to the main MVAS group, send an email to:

MVAS-NY@yahoogroups.com

To send a message to the MVAS Board group, send an email to:

MVAS-Board@yahoogroups.com

You do this from your own computer using your email program. You simply compose an email just as you would any other email, then send it. After you send your message, it will be posted to the group just as above. This method is usually easier to do than the first method. You must send the message using the email address you have registered with Yahoo, otherwise the message will not be accepted.

Ok, what happens when a message is posted to a Yahoo group? That depends on the settings for each individual member of the group. There are four possible settings for receiving messages that are posted to the group:

1. Individual emails - every time a message is posted to the group, you will be sent an email containing that message.

2. Daily digest - all messages posted to the group for a day are compiled into one larger email message. At the end of each day, you will be sent one compiled message containing all the messages for that day.

3. Special notices - You will not receive messages that are posted to the group except for "special notices". Only the moderator of a group can send special notices. Special notices are not sent very frequently.

4. No email - You will not be sent any messages that are posted to the group. If you have this option turned on, you must visit the web site and read the messages there.

You can choose one of the above options at the time you sign on for a group. You can also change your setting at any time afterwards. The moderator can also change this option for any member, although he only does so if someone requests him to do it for them. The volume of messages on these groups is usually pretty low, so setting receipt to "individual messages" will typically result in you receiving less than one message per day on average. On a really busy day, you might receive 4 or 5 messages.

What is a “moderator”?

The moderator of a group decides who can join the group and sets and enforces the policies for acceptable use of the group. Violation of the acceptable use policies may result in sanctions, such as having your posts subject to approval by the moderator, or in an extreme case, being removed and banned from the group.

Acceptable use policies for the main MVAS group are simple and straightforward: All posts must be civil. The group is not to be used to attack or insult other group members. Profanity is never allowed. All posts should relate to the MVAS or astronomy in general. Messages having to do with non-related topics, such as politics, should not be posted.

The only rule for the MVAS‑Board group is that all posts should relate to the business of the MVAS club. Messages that are of general interest to all MVAS members should be posted on the main MVAS group.

How do I join an MVAS Yahoo group?

To join the main MVAS group, go to the group's home page:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MVAS-NY/

To join the MVAS-Board group, go to:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MVAS-Board/

Once there, click the "Join this group" button. You will then be prompted to enter your Yahoo ID and password. If you do not have a Yahoo ID, you will need to create one. If you are joining the Board group, your membership in this group will be "pending" until the moderator approves you. He will receive an email telling him that you wish to join the group, and once he does, he will approve you if you are a member in good standing of the MVAS. This process is to ensure that only MVAS members in good standing can join the Board group. If you need any help with this process, send an email to the