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better voice meeting places

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:03 pm
by Scott
hi all

We've always had new people asking if they can connect to our meetings through a regular phone call, because some have stopped or severely limited their computer and/or internet use.  Lately I've heard from several of them.

Many voice software packages allow dial-in calls.  I think a reevaluation is long overdue.  Mumble has other shortcomings beside no dial-in, like the long setup process on computers and trolling gamers who are Mumble wizards.

I'm looking at FreeConferenceCall, StartMeeting, and WebMeeting.  If you would look these over, or explore other ones, that'd be great.  Please post here what you find out.

Here are the ideal features I'm looking for:

  1. Dial-in option

  2. Easy setup for computers by simply opening a webpage

  3. Chat box that allows large chunks of text

  4. Additional mute/block control for meeting leaders

  5. International call numbers

  6. Defaults to voice, not video

  7. Low cost, ideally $15 per month or less

  8. Private messaging

  9. Multiple rooms

  10. It'd be really nice if it could show a pic for the person speaking (whatever they choose) but not video

Am I forgetting anything?

We will need a way to test out new software.  Most have free trial periods.  I'm thinking it would make sense to test them outside the normal schedule of meetings so that testing doesn't disrupt meetings or turn away newcomers.  Thoughts on how to test thoroughly?  Maybe for a business meeting?  Or special workshop?

better voice meeting places

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:28 pm
by ADH
Mumble has another issue: there hasn't been a version bump in over two years and the project sees little development (although there are occasional commits).

That being said, I don't know any option that meets all of your requirements.

Here are some possible solutions I know of, but no phone dial in:

better voice meeting places

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:27 am
by Nis
Having some experience in another fellowship using FreeConferenceCall:

If there is a dial-in option, the group basically lose the option to use chat for group interactions. That is, ALL group interaction will be by voice. This also means - since microphones generally need to be muted - that you get absolutely no feedback while sharing, and in general only a "thank you" from the meeting leader after the share.

In my experience, this makes meetings feel much less organic and integrated, and more like a group of separate people talking into a void.

Your mileage may vary.

better voice meeting places

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 4:59 pm
by Scott
Cool, thanks for the feedback.

I definitely don't want to lose any of the better features that we now have in Mumble.

better voice meeting places

Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:56 am
by Orchid
Freeconferencecallhd (not sure if this is the same thing) has good features for moderating voice only calls - ones that help with stuff like dealing with trolls, but it is just a call. Some people unmute to thank people for sharing, but I often find myself really wanting to type "relates" during people's shares!

Zoom has the option of either calling in or logging in and has a great driving mode interface in their app. It also meets the other criteria on that list. I haven't used desktop much. My complaints about mobile are mostly about the video options, but it's possible to have meetings with no video. I also remember something about the chat interface being rather clunky and unintuitive, but we used it seldom enough that I don't remember what.

Those are the only ones I have a lot of experience with in other fellowships. I'd be happy to participate in testing different options for us.

better voice meeting places

Posted: Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:07 pm
by Scott
Recently a few parents of compulsive gamers looking for help got in touch with us but automatically dismissed CGAA when they heard that the only available meetings are online. I just started seeing a therapist who told me that no recovery fellowship for video gaming addiction exists, and when I said, "There is one," he said, "Oh right, but they only have online meetings."

I think there would be less dismissal and more exploration of our meetings (maybe much more) if they were accessible by dialing in from any phone and described as conference call meetings rather than online meetings. I don't think the meetings need to be strictly by phone and think they will be much better if available by both dial-in and online access.

I appreciate the ideas and feedback people have shared so far. I think we need to do some thorough exploration of options and pick the best option as soon as we can. Mumble's lack of dial-in is holding us back. It would be well worth the money to pay for something better.

better voice meeting places

Posted: Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:43 pm
by Shmuly
I hear you on that Scott.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

better voice meeting places

Posted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:11 pm
by Scott
Passed proposal:

Proposal: Scott will write up a checklist of features that we absolutely need and another of features that we'd like but aren't vital, and will run it by the group for revision. We'll note costs and any flaws or problems. Next, various options will be explored and evaluated against this checklist, by playing around with it and doing some trial meetings. The first trial meetings will be off the normal schedule and later ones will be on the normal schedule. When doing an on-the-schedule meeting, we'll have Mumble open to direct people. We'll be maintaining Mumble for a long time yet. Testing period to run January - February with evaluation to occur in March 

better voice meeting places

Posted: Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:09 am
by Scott
Phase 1:
Checklist of features here: Google Spreadsheet

Make comments on the spreadsheet if you have features you'd like to add for evaluation.

Phase 2: Investigate features and take notes
Phase 3: Off-the-schedule meeting trial
Phase 4: On-the-schedule meeting trial
Phase 5: World domination 

better voice meeting places

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:40 pm
by LND_5678
I volunteer as guinea pig for off-schedule meetings. Please send me date/times when that part of the evaluation beings.