MIWG Email Distribution Lists
We receive a lot of questions regarding email distribution lists, especially since we migrated from our old service to our new service (Google). Let's talk about it.
Previously, Michigan Wing used to use one service for our wing account hosting and a different service for our email distribution lists. A lot of time and back-end management went into these systems to keep them up to date. Last year, we migrated all services to Google Workspace (formerly called G Suite) which allowed us to use some fun IT automation to create and manage user account and email distribution lists on the fly with little to no manual input. The wing now has close to 400 distribution lists, all being automatically maintained. When designing how distribution lists would look for you, the end user, we wanted to make a standardized schema in order for you to quickly identify the group of individuals you want to communicate with.
Distribution List Schema
All of Michigan Wing's email distribution lists follow a standard naming convention (minus a few custom lists that were requested). This convention can be broken down into three parts: Unit Level, Function, and a Sub-Function. The unit level describes the scope of people it will reach such as group wide announcement or wing wide announcement. We currently don't have squadron level groups. An example of a unit level going to an entire group would be "mi705" whereas the wing would be "miwg". The Function can be any primary function within Civil Air Patrol such as administration, public affairs, or information technology. If this function name has a space, it would be replaced with a hyphen. For example, public affairs would be "public-affairs". Finally, a Sub-Function are sections within the primary function such as recruiting and retention, web security administration, or in the case of ES, ground teams and aircrews. For example, recruiting and retention would be "recruiting-retention" while aircrews would simply be "aircrews".
Let's say you want to reach out to all the aircrews in group 705. Side note, we define aircrews as anyone in trainee status or fully qualified with the following qualifications: MS, TMP, MP, MO, AP, ADIS. We know aircrews would fall under emergency services so we have all the information we need to quickly build out the list.
Maybe we want to reach all the individuals that are currently serving as a public affairs officer across the entire wing. Since we don't need a sub function and we know the unit level, it's fairly straight forward.
For those who use their MIWG account and go through the web interface to check email (https://mail.miwg.cap.gov), you'll be able to compose a new email and start typing the function portion of the desired distribution list in the TO field and will be presented a list of options from our wing wide directory. The MIWG IT staff has a spreadsheet defining all current email distribution lists and defining criteria of who would be in those lists. We won't publicly release this list as they may get scraped from the internet and be used for spam or advertising. But we will periodically send them out through the wing all hands list and anyone can ask for a copy by emailing the IT Support mailbox (email@example.com).
Wing Wide Distribution Lists (All Hands)
Michigan Wing has three wing level distribution lists that are primarily used to inform our members en masse. These are the all hands, seniors, and cadets distribution lists. Simply put, they email everyone, only the seniors, or only the cadets. Through our previous system, we only had the all hands list and only a few select individuals could send to said list. Let's call this approach "Deny all, whitelist some".
Our new system allows members to send directly to the list and have it moderated prior to it being sent out to all members. We also whitelist some members based on certain criteria. We call this approach "Moderate all, whitelist some". This means anyone can get their message out to the entire wing and get replies sent directly back to them without the dreaded "reply all" storm. Currently, members of the wing command team are the ones to approve messages going out to our all three primary distribution lists. Your messages are sent to a moderation queue and then reviewed prior to being approved or denied.
Hopefully this helps clear up confusion and gives you, the member, a better understanding of our new distribution lists. If you have any questions, please shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.