The Virtual Area Group
What's the VAG about ?
There is a "Virtual Area Group", known by the abbrieviation "VAG", for members of the Association. It operates in a similar manner to other Area Groups, except that instead of meeting in a physical place, it conducts its business via the Internet. ( The "About 2mm" section of our site describes the benefits of membership, and it contains a link to the apply for membership ).
The Virtual Area Group communicates via email or a website a system provided by Groups.IO (we used Yahoo until April 2018, but found their service deteriorating, so took a decision to move). Members send a message to the group address, and this is distributed to the other members of the Group. Members of the Group can discuss topics of interest to 2mm Modelling, covering any area and expertise. Members can elect to receive messages either individually, or as a daily digest of messages, or just read them on the Groups.IO website. We maintain an archive of messages posted so that material can be searched if required.
The Virtual Area Group has organised tutorial events for members where people have held day-long sessions covering topics such as "getting started with track and wagon kits", "converting Farish steam locos with the Association conversion pack", "locomotive gearbox design", "airbrushing", "painting and scale colour". All of these have been arranged by those who lacked the knowledge asking for help, then organising events where those with the expertise came to share their information.
The Virtual Area Group has organised products, such as the Association Backnumber CDs. A project which was only possibly because more than a dozen people worked on it actively via email.
The Virtual Area Group also maintains electronic files of interest to the group members, and photographs of assembly of components and models under construction. In addition, there is a calendar which can send out reminders about forthcoming events, exhibitions, etc.
Whilst we encourage members to engage in conversations with others through the email components, it is perfectly acceptable to just use the files area of the Virtual Area Group. To do this, initially join the group, then use the Groups.IO website controls to set your access to "no email".
Membership of the virtual area group is restricted to paid up members of the association.
How to join the VAG
There are two ways to join the Virtual Area Group:
- Join via the Groups.IO website. This will offer you an option to join the group, and will then wish to communicate with you through email to confirm your 2mm membership details.
- Send email to (click this link) firstname.lastname@example.org You will get a mail message back (usually within minutes), which asks you to confirm your intention by replying to it. A little later, you will get some automatic messages from the Virtual Area Group which says that your membership is awaiting approval (this final step requires a human to look at your 2mm membership details, so may take a little while).
The steps are there to ensure that people only end up on the VAG because they want to, and that only 2mm members use it. That way we protect everyone from those who might otherwise abuse the systems.
Whichever route you take, we recommend that you give the minimum information to Groups.IO during registration. Please remember the basic security answers you give (such as data of birth) as these are used to gain access to account management features - without them you cannot change certain settings.
Myths about Too Many Messages, Spam and Viruses
Various stories do the rounds about the VAG and how its "dangerous". Perhaps we can slay a few ghosts here:
Whilst there can be a few messages, you do not have to have them in your
You have the option to sign up for "no emails or special notices only" not just because you have no interested in the VAG emails, but also if you intend to read all the messages using the website. And there is the "Daily Digest" option if you only want one (or so) email a day from the group containing all the messages in one wrapper.
The fact that is restricted to paid up members means the VAG messages should be free from spam. There is no leak of the membership list to spammers, and its near enough impossible to leak the membership details. If you run local spam filters on your machine, spotting VAG emails is easy because they all have a unique reply address and [2mm] component to the subject line.