Not participating in SPSS google group anymore, recommend using other SPSS forums

I have participated in asking and answering questions at the SPSS google group for close to two years now. I am going to stop though, as I would recommend going other places to ask and answer questions. The SPSS google group has become over-ridden with spam. Much more spam than actual questions, and I have spent much more time for at least a few months marking spam rather than answering questions.

I have diligently been marking the spam that arises for quite some time, but unfortunately google has not taken any obvious action to prevent it from occurring. I noted this mainly because the majority of recent spam has repeatedly come from only two email addresses. It is sad, mainly because I have a gmail account and I am fairly sure such obvious spam emails would not make it through my gmail account, so I don’t know why they make it through to google groups.

I believe amounts of spam and actual questions have waxed and waned in the past, but I see little reason to continue to use the forum when other (better) alternatives exist. Fortunately I can recommend alternatives to ask questions related to conducting analysis in SPSS, and the majority of the same SPSS experts answer questions at many of the forums.

First I would recommend the Nabble SPSS group. I recommend it first mainly because it has the best pool of SPSS experts answering questions. It has an alright interface, that includes formatting responses in html and uploading attachments. One annoyance I have is that many automatic email replies get through when you post something on this list (so people listening set your automatic email replies  to not reply to list serve addresses). To combat this I have a mass email filter, and if I get an out of office reply in response to a posting your email address automatically goes to my email trash. In the future I just may send all responses from the list serve to the trash, as I follow questions/answers in the group using RSS feeds anway.

Second I would recommend CrossValidated if it has statistical content, and Stackoverflow if it is strictly related to programming. SPSS doesn’t have many questions on StackOverflow, but it is one of the more popular tags on CrossValidated. These have the downside that the expert community that answers questions related to SPSS specifically is smaller than Nabble (although respectable), but it has the advantage of a potential greater community input on other tangential aspects, especially related to advice about statistical analysis. Another advantage is the use of tags, and the ability to write posts in markdown as well as embed images. A downside is you can not directly attach files.

Third I would recommend the SPSS developerworks forum. There has been little to no community build up there, and so it is basically ask Jon Peck a question. For this reason I would recommend the other forums over the IBM provided forum. While the different sub sections for different topics is a nice idea, the Stackoverflow style of tags IMO works so much better it is hard to say nice things about the other list-serve or forum types of infrastructure. Jon Peck answers questions at all of the above places as well, so it is not like you are missing his input by choosing stack overflow as opposed to the IBM forum.

I hope in the future the communities will all just pick one place (and I would prefer all the experts migrate to CrossValidated and StackOverflow for many reasons). But at least no one should miss the google group with the other options available.

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