Introducing Orbit

By on 25 Oct 2022

Categories: Community Development


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At APNIC 54, the beta version of Orbit was presented to the community.

Orbit is APNIC’s new community communications platform, an evolution of mailing lists with added social networking features. It’s intended to be THE place for the APNIC community to connect, discuss and share information, for APNIC SIGs and working groups, community topics, general discussion and announcements.

With Orbit, we’ve been able to maintain the functionality of standard mailing lists while providing an attractive and functional interface for browser-based access. Participants can join lists by email in the usual way, or via the web interface, or both, as they prefer.

Importantly, the full archives of existing APNIC mailing lists will continue to be accessible within the same interface.

Why mailing lists?

Mailing lists and their precursors have been in use since the invention of email, one of the very first Internet applications. And being based on email, they are universal, platform-independent, and easy to use from any standard email client. They allow for a to-and-fro conversation and are asynchronous; you don’t have to be online at the same time or in the same time zone.

Mailing lists have been and still are an important way to build communities of engaged participants, for those who are familiar with and happy to use email-based services. However, it’s now 2022, and APNIC realized there may be ways of making active, online participation easier — for the many people who don’t use email as a primary means of communication. After much consultation, research, development, and testing, we think Orbit is a neat solution.

What’s next?

Orbit has been developed on the open source Hyperkitty mailing list interface, following the usual APNIC product development approach. The current beta version is regarded as the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), with enough features to serve a useful purpose, and to allow us to validate new features. We’re actively seeking (and will continue to seek) user feedback to improve Orbit.

I invite you to have a look today and provide your thoughts and feedback on the orbit-discuss mailing list.

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The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.

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