Newsletter going away???

Discussions about the Newsletter Tool at LDS.org.
russellhltn
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby russellhltn » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:46 am

Here's the message for future reference:
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Discontinued: Newsletter

Because the Newsletter function on LDS.org receives very little use across the Church, it will be discontinued effective February 28, 2017.

Please consider the following actions to migrate from this Newsletter tool to some other means of distributing information to members.

In December, 2016: Please make plans to use other means to distribute information to members, such as printed newsletters, information in Sunday bulletins, email, or other online programs. Guidelines for using online resources in Church callings may be found at internet.lds.org.

By January 1, 2017: If your ward currently uses the Newsletter function on LDS.org, we recommend you post an entry that informs members how you will distribute newsletter information in the future. For example, “This newsletter section of LDS.org will be discontinued. News from the ward will be published in the weekly program distributed at Sunday meetings.”

By February 15, 2017: Retrieve from this section of LDS.org any information you would like to keep. If you don’t already have a copy of what has been posted, you may retrieve a copy of it as follows:
•Download text by highlighting and copying it into a word processing document.
•Download images by right-clicking and saving them.
•Download attachments by clicking the download icon to the right of the names of attachments.

By February 28, 2017: The Newsletter section will be removed from LDS.org and any information in it will no longer be available.

If you have questions or problems, please click the “Do You Have Feedback about This page?” icon at the bottom of this page. Any feedback submitted by February 28, 2017 will be monitored and replied to.
=============================================================================

NOTE: The feedback link referenced talks about the feedback link in the newsletter, not the forum.
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ryanlefty
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby ryanlefty » Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:12 pm

Anyone else out there have a "Plan B" to replace this. I used it regularly to post things only ward members could see. Once they move out, their access is gone too (and I don't have to maintain a mailing list.) I don't want everyone to see phone numbers, children's names, etc,--just ward members.

Jamesguy
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby Jamesguy » Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:25 pm

Our Stake using the Newsletter for posting lesson schedules, Stake Goals, Stake Emergency Communications Plan and Ward Emergency Communication Plans. I agree the newsletter is not used by all members because they don't know where to find it and the name "Newsletter" is misleading. There has to be a more innovated way for stake and ward to share information for our members within the LDS web page and tools. I recommend you keep the newsletter alive until you find a suitable replacement.

zaneclark
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby zaneclark » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:02 pm

One of my primary used of the Newsletter was to post photos of ward and stake events. I hope that in a future update to "Send a Message" in LCR they will make it possible to add attachments.

mevans
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby mevans » Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:10 am

ryanlefty wrote:Anyone else out there have a "Plan B" to replace this. I used it regularly to post things only ward members could see. Once they move out, their access is gone too (and I don't have to maintain a mailing list.) I don't want everyone to see phone numbers, children's names, etc,--just ward members.


I just submitted Feedback about this type of issue. One example is that we have emergency communication information posted (zone captains, etc.). This has contact information for captains and a ward map divided into zones. It's to help ward members know who has ham radios, who their captains are, etc. I don't want that posted on Facebook. It's exactly as you say: when people move, their access is removed. It helps protect ward members. In fact, we were just talking about how to get other units in the stake to use the Newsletter for such purposes.

Our stake runs its own website (which I rarely visit because I'm on LDS.org doing things) and a few years ago I wasn't happy that they had personal contact information for all ward council members posted on its website for the whole world to see. It wasn't appropriate. I asked them to take down this information and they eventually did. But I wonder how many other units are doing things like this?

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gregwanderson
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby gregwanderson » Sun Jan 01, 2017 3:11 pm

I hadn't paid much attention through this forum lately but, today, sat down to dig into the necessary 2017 newsletter entries (as a big part of one of my callings to maintain this stuff for the ward) and... oh, never mind. I knew the lesson schedules were going away but, somehow, I missed the news about the newsletter until today. I can echo the comments from those who DID use the tool (more common among those that use this forum, I suspect). The Newsletter tool was never widely used because it was always clunky, a mere shadow of what you'd get from a Blogspot site (but safer to use because it required an LDS account). And now, as part of my calling, it's up to ME to figure out an alternative, which I suspect will be impossible. This whole thing really upsets me.

skiddlyarcus
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby skiddlyarcus » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:01 pm

In my view taking away the newsletter site will result in confidential church information being moved to non-authenticated locations such as public cloud storage, facebook, email, etc.

Put us under condemnation (D&C 84:54-55) for treating it lightly, but please don't take it away until an alternative is available. I'd suggest that the primary reason for lack of use is that wards have not been trained on how to use it.

Stakes and wards need a way to publish information to members (including those who do not use social media). How about renaming newsletters to call it "stake and ward documents" or something else that more accurately reflects how it is being used in the 500+ units that are using it. I'm sure that the units are mostly putting out documents such as teaching for our time lessons, reimbursement forms, ward directories, etc. This is a necessary function of the lds.org web site.

scubadox
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby scubadox » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:04 pm

+1

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sbradshaw
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby sbradshaw » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:59 pm

skiddlyarcus wrote:In my view taking away the newsletter site will result in confidential church information being moved to non-authenticated locations such as public cloud storage, facebook, email, etc.

Put us under condemnation (D&C 84:54-55) for treating it lightly, but please don't take it away until an alternative is available. I'd suggest that the primary reason for lack of use is that wards have not been trained on how to use it.

Stakes and wards need a way to publish information to members (including those who do not use social media). How about renaming newsletters to call it "stake and ward documents" or something else that more accurately reflects how it is being used in the 500+ units that are using it. I'm sure that the units are mostly putting out documents such as teaching for our time lessons, reimbursement forms, ward directories, etc. This is a necessary function of the lds.org web site.

The ward directory is available at LDS.org/directory, and things like Teaching for Our Time lessons or reimbursement forms aren't confidential. I can't think of anything that would need to be shared with ward members that should be kept private, that's not already available somewhere else.
Samuel Bradshaw • If you desire to serve God, you are called to the work.

skiddlyarcus
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Re: Newsletter going away???

Postby skiddlyarcus » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:57 pm

sbradshaw: Here are some items that are currently on our ward & stake newsletter site that need to be shared with ward members and should be kept private:
- ward history (has personal contact information in it among other things)
- annual letter from the bishop (has personal info)
- missionary contact information (has personal info)
- calling forms for stake approval (has personal info on where to submit)
- reimbursement form (has personal info about who to send to)
- stake realignment map from a few years ago (probably not a big deal, but it has ... you guessed it - personal info)
- and ... newsletters ... all of which have personal info in them.

The directory app and lds.org are so well done that I would agree that there's no need to keep .pdf directories on the newsletter site, but if you read previous posts you'll notice that other wards are doing that.

You are correct that all of these documents are available somewhere else. The usefulness of the newsletter site is that it provides a central location for all of these documents that has proven to be a consistent and convenient way to obtain this information. For example, people actually use the ward history that is published and I've heard comments about how nice it is that it's available. In our ward it takes about 5 minutes for me to obtain that document ... I'll bet it would take you much longer to find your ward history from 2013 although it is available *somewhere else* (that's not meant to be snarky ... just can't figure out a way to point out that even though the docs are available somewhere else doesn't mean that people will actually use those docs). If we were to universally apply the "it's available somewhere else" argument, we could shut down Gospel Library, LDS Tools, LDS Music, Family Tree, FIR, and every other app I know of because we have printed scriptures, hymnals, manuals, etc. I don't think that's a valid argument if the purpose of internet services is to make data more easily accessble.

The point is that the lds.org web site is currently used by over 500 units to distribute information because it's useful, saves time, and saves printing. I believe that removing the newsletter site will result in confidential information being moved to other file/document sharing services such as google drive. There are legitimate security controls (authentication) already in place for the newsletter site that make it a much better location than google drive or similar services.

Having said that, I've wished many times that members would use the site more - it IS underutilized.


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