The original paper versions of a round robin were done with a packet of letters. Each person would add their own letter with comments about the others and send this, along with all the other letters from the others in the robin, to the next person on the list. Then eventually they, like the robins in spring, would return and you'd remove your own previous letter, draft a new one and start the cycle again. That cycle could take anywhere from 3-6 months however, depending on how long each member hung onto the packet of letters and how many robin members in the group. A dozen is about the practical limit on a paper robin.
The E-Mail robin started simply because I was at least 1 hour away from the nearest AHS member and three hours away from the "local" daylily club. I was in one "snail mail" robin but the time between flights was agony. I wanted to discuss my favorite flowers with someone more often than that. Via e-mail I could 'talk' daylilies to my heart's content and not have to stop and explain every term or not watch the other person's eyes glaze over when I got on a roll about my hobby. (My wife insists I don't have any hobbies, just obsessions, and she's probably right!) The E-Mail Robin started in 1994 with 7 members gleaned from the REC.GARDENS newsgroup. All of us were AHS members and we elected to apply for 'official' robin status at that time. By the time permission was granted we were over 20 members and were exchanging notes using a set of blind carbon copy addresses. Dr. Bob Stanton got us on the listserv computer at St. Johns and that eliminated the need to use BCC lists; one address is all people need to have as the listserv sends the messages sent to that address to all the others on the list.
Today we have over 1,300 members on the robin. Obviously, not everyone posts every day or we'd be overwhelmed with mail, but there's a steady enough stream of daylily related mail and any questions asked usually lead to a good discussion.
The E-Mail robin is a great place to learn more about daylilies, find some friends who share your infatuation and generally have a great time. We are very much like a large family. When we get together we are often meeting face to face for the first time, but many of us have been corresponding now for over eight years so it's like old home week. New members are warmly welcomed.
We have such a diverse group; with members in 47 states, all parts of Canada, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Russia, Belgium, France, Australia, South Africa, Poland and Pakistan. We have members with tiny city lots and hybridizers with acres of daylilies. We all exchange ideas, stories, occasionally humor, and lots of daylily news. Everyone gets pretty well respected for their opinions. We occasionally get into arguments like any big family, but they always blow over pretty quickly too.
The only requirements for joining the group are being a member of the American Hemerocallis Society (we are an "official" AHS Robin so they ask that of us), having an e-mail account and following the robin's guidelines. Mail volume can get as high as 55 messages a day, but most days reach high twenties or mid thirties. Most messages are quite short. There's a 'digest' option that sends all of a day's posts together in one message each evening as well - it's a little harder to respond to the individual posts this way, but for some it helps manages that extra volume of mail too. Personally, all my robin mail gets sent to a separate In Box in my mail program which works great for me. That makes it much easier for me to separate private messages from the robin mail.
We aren't a newsgroup - we're running the robin from a listserv at St. John's University in New York. All messages to the robin get sent to one address and the listserv computer automatically forwards this message to the 1,300+ members of the robin. Functions within this computer give us options of getting all of our mail in compiled messages called digests, we can turn mail off when on vacation and can switch all of these ourselves by sending simple commands to the listserv computer. Subscription to the list is through the listowners only.
Robin membership guidelines can be found on-line at this URL: http://www.daylilies.org/guidelines.html Please take a moment to review them.
Please note that you may need to disable the MIME feature of your mail software and change it to send plain text only when posting messages to the robin. MIME really causes headaches with the listserv system we use. Instructions for disabling MIME on most mail software can be found at: http://www.daylilies.org/nomime.html
To join the robin, please send me a short autobiographical paragraph or two that includes at least your name, city, state and something about your gardens and interests in daylilies. Feel free to include whatever you would want the other robin members to know about you. This will be used as your introduction to the other robin members.
I usually add new members each weekend to keep administrative mail to a minimum so don't panic if you send your introduction early in the week and hear nothing right away. However, should the weekend pass and you don't get notified that you have been added, please get right back to me so I can fix my error. I think I've only forgotten to add two or three in the past five years, but it has happened.
I hope this answers your questions. I hope to hear from you again soon. Please contact me again if you have any further questions about the robin.
Tim Fehr AHS E-Mail Robin Leader
Last revised: 07 February 2007.
© Copyright 2007 by James E. Shields for the Daylily E-Mail Round Robin. All rights reserved.