Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Getting Canceled event info via Email

A few folk have been telling me that they don't get their notices from the PAS Digest Blog before the star parties for which the cancel notice has been going out... meaning.... if i canceled a star party now, around 1pm, on the blog, sometimes they do not get the notice until the next day. That isn't good.

When I send out the blog info, i get it within a few minutes of sending it. It comes right into my email. I have noticed that those who say they aren't getting it in a timely manner, are on AOL. I don't know if that has something to do with it or not, but I thought I'd bring it to everyone's attention.

The idea behind the Blog is to get info out right away. So, if i cancel an event on the blog: I am hoping to reach everyone prior to the event happening.

As some of you know, Rod and I have been working together to try to call a star party On or OFF by 4pm the day of the event. If you are unsure about the skies or the weather (visit Weather Underground and put in your zip code), you can call Rod or Terri for an update, preferably around 4pm. If the skies are clear, and you've visited the event listing in the PAS Calendar on the website and it doesn't say Canceled, then the event will happen. And if you have RSVP'd for the event, you have a better chance of getting word of a canceled event from Terri, as she will first email those who have email, and then call those who do not have an email address listed, to cancel with you. So, this shows you how important it is to RSVP for an event. Especially if it is one that can be canceled due to weather.

PAS can control the events, but not the Weather!

The other place that news gets out to you is the PAS Forums. If an event is canceled, Terri has been putting that notice right into the Calendar, first, and then going to the Forums The NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS forum is your place for updated info about star party. However, I have noticed that you do not get a notice very quickly with that means of sending out info either. Chris set it to send out every day at 4pm. That's fine if everyone is getting the info. But for those of us who receive the info after leaving for a star party, it is not a good.

One thing I do not like about the NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS sign up option is that it doesn't tell you much about the topic that is available, in the email message you receive. It gives you the title of the topic, which is good if I include CANCELED in the title, but if I don't include that, you'd have to go see what the topic is. So, I'm making a point to include the word CANCELED in the Thread Title so you know ahead of time what the topic holds.

Now, it is my suggestion that instead of relying on email to tell you if an event is canceled, prior to you loading up to leave the house, go to the calendar, check the status. As long as Rod, Don or I can get to the calendar in time, we can cancel the event and get the news out about it.

So, verify each event before attending. I've noticed that Mike doesn't always do this. A simple phone call to Rod or Terri could solve this, if the weather is questionable. If it looks great outside, and it is an outdoor event, then attend. However, if it is an indoor event such as the Meeting of the Minds, or PAS meeting or other such indoor event that weather doesn't interfere with, then I'd check the site prior to attending. Especially if you drive a long ways to get to an event.

Those are just some thoughts I thought I'd share with you since I have been getting input about the Blog not putting the info out to everyone as efficiently as it should. I can't control that. I didn't set up how the blog program works and I don't think I have an option to change the way it notifies everyone. So, we have to go with what we have for the ability to contact everyone quickly about the events.

With monsoons no longer here, it is just the Winter weather we have to contend with. Watch the weather sites, check any forecast that you can find, and verify the events prior to leaving your home to attend. We love
having you attend but really feel bad if you drive someplace only to discover we have canceled that event.

Have a super Wednesday!

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society