To enhance and improve communications between the ARRL leadership and staff and the members and prospective members, in a manner that enables both timely updates and collegial discussion, the ARRL’s Committee on Communication with ARRL Members is creating online forums where all amateur radio operators (ARRL members and non-members alike) can discuss issues and topics in two-way conversation with ARRL leadership. This project is based on the success of the online ARRL-LoTW Group for the past several years, in responding to all amateur radio operators’ questions and in generating discussions about ways to improve this program. This effort has clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of online Groups as a means of achieving the desired interactivity. So, the ARRL will be adding three additional online Groups, which will be open to ARRL members and non-members alike: · ARRL-Contesting - moderated by ARRL Contest Advisory Committee Chairman Dennis Egan, W1UE; (https://groups.arrl.org/g/ARRL-Contesting) · ARRL-Awards - moderated by ARRL RadioSport Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ; (https://groups.arrl.org/g/ARRL-Awards) · ARRL-IARU - moderated by IARU Secretary Dave Sumner, K1ZZ; (https://groups.arrl.org/g/ARRL-IARU The existing ARRL-LOTW Group, which has about 4,750 members, remains hosted by Groups.io, but is now accessible via https://groups.arrl.org/g/ARRL-LoTW. In addition, everyone who subscribes to an ARRL Group is also automatically subscribed to the “ARRL Groups” group. This is an administrative feature that will allow ARRL to convey routine announcements to subscribers of all ARRL groups, such as an announcement of upcoming downtime for planned maintenance. ARRL IT Manager Michael Keane, K1MK worked with Groups.io to set up the new groups. In the months ahead, the Committee envisions creating more online Groups to support two-way communications that focus on additional areas of interest to amateur radio operators, including ARRL activities, services, initiatives, and policies. It is important to note that the ARRL currently has some "members-only" online forums, including on the topics of Awards and Contesting. While these forums will continue to operate, participants there will be encouraged to post new topics in the new Groups. Since the aim of the new Groups is to encourage discussion, as opposed to just being a question-and-answer session, there will be some basic ground rules to which participants of the Groups will be expected to adhere: · All questions will be welcome, no matter how many times they have already been asked and answered, or how obvious the answers might be in the documentation. · Neither personal attacks nor foul language will be tolerated. Violators will immediately be placed on "moderated" status, meaning their subsequent posts will require Moderator approval until the Moderator's trust has been regained. · Those posting are reminded that these forums are open to everyone, including prospective hams and operators who are not ARRL members but may be thinking about joining; so civility and courtesy is expected, even when disagreeing. The Committee believes that providing more opportunities for two-way discussion between the organization’s leaders and the entire community of amateur radio operators will assist the organization in truly serving the needs of this community.