So with the recent addition of many community members from the listserv, I wanted to reiterate the difference between a public and a private reply. With the listserv system, one would send a public message, everyone would reply to the sender with a private message, then the sender would compile the responses and post them back to the group (make a postback). This was good because it was simple, and useful if you had a quick question. The issues with the listserv system were that there was a lot of repetitive questions, not everyone would take the time to write a postback, and there was no reliable archive of content (other than saving a lot of e-mails).
With the Philanthropy Exchange, there is the added functionality for public replies, which is attempting to solve those issues. It is my hope that you will use the public reply feature, as it will create an archive of all the conversations for future users to search through and read. This way, you can have more in-depth discussions about substantive issues, no one has to make a postback, and it lessens the chance of repetitive questions.
Having a private reply feature (the Reply to Sender option), is also very useful, as we all know from the listserv. For questions where you just need a quick response, a poll, or confidential information, Reply to Sender is a great option.