Wednesday 11th of December 2019

Site Development

Upgrade

I've just upgraded to the latest version of the site software. Hopefully it'll help to grow the site. I'll attach any new modules to this thread.

Action button

Just thinking more about branding, and taking action. As we have said before, I think the simplest way of providing action is to utilise external sites for petitions, etc. What we need, is a button/image which we all use to link to the action. This is perhaps always placed at the top of the post, so it is visible from the teasers. I'm not a graphic designer, but below is a suggestion as to what this button could look like.

 

Site cleaning

It is great to see that YD has had a consistently strong following since its inception over a year ago. And along the way the YD team has tweaked the site to suit the needs of the day. Perhaps now would be a good time to start discussing wider ranging, site cleanup/tweaking exercise, if it is deemed necessary.

We should probably start by looking back over the original ideas for the site, and then the feedback we have received from members along the way. From where I sit I would like to see:

  1. Some work on the theme

More local content

I would be quite interested in expanding the Local Government section of the forums, and making this a bit of a minor focus for the site. I often worry about having a multitude of different community/democracy/activism/etc sites around the place, each with such a narrow focus that they can't sustain themselves over the long term. So, I would like to create a Townsville, Local Government forum, and try to attract some new blood to the site in this way.

To achieve this, I also think we should look into making it easy to directly link to these forums, with a URL like yourdemocracy.net.au/townsville Technically, I think this is quite easy, but then the question is, what do we link like this. To start with I would say only location specific forums. The front page is probably the best way to access most of the rest of the site.

Getting a little frustrated, or is it me?

For some reason, perhaps it's a lack in me, I find this site completely underwhelming. Each time I look at a blog I find it's ages old. In fact, at the time of writing, there's hardly any content on the recent Cronulla/Maroubra/Where next? riots. Shouldn't there be?

Perhaps it's that the blogs aren't updated often enough. On occasion I've posted comment here and there but have yet to see any of them on the site. Not that I'm desperate to see my name in lights (pixels?) but it would convince me that this thing is actually on. Or maybe this is the old site and there's a newer, more bustling one somewhere else. Could somebody please give me the address?

Interface problem?

Hello!

I just signed up last night, and am a little unsure about whether I have a connection problem or not.

I tried to post a "New topic" entry in "Currently in the Media". At first I couldn't enter any message on the page presented, so I went to "My account" and disabled the RTF editor (the toolbar was being displayed in a disabled state).

That seemed to work, so I typed up my "Media" post and submitted it, but it seems to have disappeared into the void.

I suspect I may have a problem with XML support, I think I've had trouble with XML sites before (I'm using a laptop with Windows XP Home, I do NOT have SP2 installed).

Unscheduled outage

Apologies for the recent, unscheduled site outage which occurred between about 8pm August 2nd, to about 10am August 3rd. We took this opportunity to upgrade the yourdemocracy site software, which will hopefully enable a lot of new and useful functionality.

The site should be fully functional again, but please leave a comment if you run into any problems.

Nigel Sim
 

Form letter module

Hi, I've just started work on a form letter module for drupal/cs, which integrates with the contact manager to allow users to collectively author letters to a set of recipients, and to have them emailed or printed through the site. Basically the procedure is this.
  1. In Contact Manager create the different sources you want people to be able to select, such as state politicians, news papers, ceo's, etc
  2. Add the contacts, with the postal, and email information
  3. Set up the letter template in admin/settings/form_letter
  4. Post a blog or story on a given issue.
  5. A block will appear listing all the current letters, as well as having an "add new" link.
  6. When adding a new letter you must select the recipient source, as set up in Contact Manager.
  7. Put in the title and the body of the letter and save.
Now, once published, the letter will appear in the block on the given blog or story. People can comment on it, and the author, and other editors can modify it accordingly. Then when someone wants to send it:
  1. Select the letter of interest
  2. Click on the Send this letter link
  3. Select the recipients you want to send this letter to, possibly filtering by address components (state, postcode, etc)
  4. Edit the body to suit your own opinion
  5. Click Email to place the customised letter in the email approval queue
  6. or Click Print to open a new window with the letter, individually addressed to each of the recipients on separate pages, which can be printed from your browser.

This module will be publicly tested (somewhere) in the near future so we can get some real feedback, but for now I am after comments about the scope and operation of this module, as outlined above.

STOPPING HOWARDS SENATE TAKEOVER - THE SENATE LOOPHOLE ! URGENT !

Hi Hamish and everyone!

July 1st and Howard's take over of the Senate is approaching FAST!

Our only hope is that the progressive parties will suspend Senator Lightfoot pending a REAL investigation into his dodgy background (ie his IRAQ story continuously changing), hence putting a stop to Howard's one party monstrosity. (Good bye ABC, SBS, Telstra, and most importantly MEDIA DIVERSITY - Murdoch & Packer will get the lot. Goodbye Fairfax.)

To do that we need to give our parties a good kick in the arse and a TICKER to do what's right.

Howard won the Senate not fairly, but with his lies on interest rates.

Political quote of the week

Hey Hamish, a thought.

How about a page that records the best or most ridiculous etc political quote of the week, a la the Weasel Words bit on the local ABC in Brisbane. Pick a judge or you could add a poll to cover decisions.

Or maybe quote of the month until membership gets large enough?

Might be amusing as well as encourage some to both join in and contribute.

More ideas for site look and feel

Hey Hamish, a few suggestions, all polite, about potential additions to the site.

If I may say it, blogger sites look just like that. Blogs. Drop the l and the same effect is there. It discourages many who can't follow the style. I'm struggling as I'm new to it here. At least give them a welcome page that they are familiar with and tell them about the blog style and how easy it is once you use it ( I hope ).

Could I suggest a welcome page for new arrivals where Margo's proposal is the main feature, with extra blurb added by Hamish and Margo to show and promote the interest of browsing people. Maybe detail what might actually happen if they get off their butts and join in.

Mainly for Hamish I think

Hey Hamish,

Yes, me again.

A suggestion and a request If I may.

The suggestion.

I don't like the style of blog sites as it quickly becomes impossible to follow debates and issues and it's difficult to read sequentially. Also difficult to maintain as you are probably finding out as you read this. I realise it's a cost effective style but could I recommend to you the message board/Forums style a demo of which is at this link : http://demo.invisionboard.com/v2/ .

I have no idea of cost and whether that's something you cannot do. I understand if you can't manage that. But please do have a look and try it out. It's extremely easy to follow, separate issues and topics and also does things like highlight what you have already read if you keep the cookie.

Forum vs Blog vs Wiki

I've pondered a few times the benefits of various tools as a means of building an internet community.

  • Forums: Get lots of momentum and conversation happening, but things tend to vanish into the archives and get lost. Topics can also get off-track quickly
  • Blogs: More directed than forums, but less flexible.
  • Wikis: Most flexible, great ability to cross-link information. Potential to be ruined by vandalism / revert wars. Less structured format doesn't lend itself to debate / discussion / conversation as well, but can result in a more coherent final position.

I feel that, overall, wikis have the potential to generate the best results. Perhaps recent changes can be highlighted and grouped in some way to appear more like forums. Maybe some user-education would help to make people feel more comfortable.

How are Your Democracy bloggers appointed?

If indeed they are appointed. Will there be more than at present? What are the selection criteria?

Should members be 'encouraged' to use their real names?

When creating an account here, we're asked to use our full name for our logon. I know that Margo encourages people to use their full names on WebDiary also. Should this be a policy here?

On the pro side, anyone who's read many internet forums will be aware that the tone of conversations is generally ruder and more combative than in real life. I suspect this is a direct consequence of anonymity.

On the other hand, there are a couple of real problems with using a true identity. Firstly, the 'net is now so comprehensively archived that use of real identities leaves a trail that businesses and governments are going to collect for their own purposes (a recent hair-raising example is www.zoominfo.com). I'm not sure I want this for myself. There might be some technical ameriolations available -- eg. judicious use of robots.txt, but that has it's limitations. Secondly, my own feeling is that the widespread attack on civil liberties we've seen so far under the leadership of Bush, Blair and Howard is only a very timid beginning. Once the libs have control of the Senate there's little to stop them doing what they want (especially as they've clearly established that 'public opinion' doesn't give a stuff for human rights, civil liberties, or similar elitist concerns). To whit, I don't think it's safe to use a real name, at least for certain topics.

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