WG/OBIT/Minutes/120219

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Attending: 4--5 from OBIT, and one from Inreach/Media.

Proposal for a Potential website change

  • Proposal (Brett from Inreach): Add a "featured campaign" feature to the web site, along the lines of stopcorporateabuse.org. At the top of the home page, show the top 3--5 campaigns that Occupy Boston is working on. This would help people understand, and identify with what Occupy Boston is about.
  • This was discussed at the last at last media meeting. Media was excited about the idea.
  • Who decides what campaigns get featured? There'd have to be some kind of process. We'd like to make it an objective read on what's happening at GA's, etc.
  • Current process for featuring things on the www.occupyboston.org -- media decides what to promote on the web site. There's not much of a process behind it. Solving the "what campaign to feature" problem might involve solving the bigger "what goes on the website" problem.
  • Featured campaigns could be used to (1) build attendance at DA's, or (2) provide background/educational materials on important issues.
  • The list of featured campaigns might not be a contentious issue. If this becomes contentious, then we can start talking to WGs.
  • What three campaigns would you feature now? Probably MBTA, General Strike/Anti-foreclosure, and Student Occupations/actions.
  • This should as simple as finding a wordpress plugin that does what we want, and skinning it. We don't foresee any major technical hurdles.
  • We should see if media has a specific plugin in mind. If not, OBIT can research. OBIT would like the opportunity test any new plugins prior to deployment.

Communications survey

  • OBIT Communications Survey. We have 28 responses (both online and paper). We entered paper submissions into the online form. We split the list of responses three ways, and began to tally results. There are at least two duplicate submissions.
  • Technologies used. Email was (by far) the most common. Other commonly-used technologies include the wiki, social networking, and Google docs.
  • Biggest complaint: email overload
  • Forums were the most-requested feature.
  • Lots of requests for FAQs and Documentation.
  • A few requests for file sharing, file uploads, document sharing.
  • Others requests: make it easier to change the calendar, setup mailing lists, support for off-the-record messaging, HTTPS on OB sites, provide methods for secure communications. Finally there were requests for a system that allowed working groups to schedule virtual meetings.
  • We could provide instructions for setting up conference calls, etc.

Potential Major projects coming out of the survey

  • Documentation. Especially for Email and Wiki.
  • Implementing forums, and some of the collaboration ideas. Preferably in way that's integrated with groups (if we keep groups). We don't want to force people to have a bunch of different logins for different OB sites.
  • For forums: should we use vanilla, or add forum facility to drupal? Or pursue another option, like PHP BB?
  • Vanilla's footer menu is really nice. We should add the same menu to the other OB websites.
  • Two drupal modules that are worth investigating: orchid and phpbb. Orchid provides a way to integrate vanilla into drupal. phpbb is a drupal module that provides session management for PHP BB.
  • We should upgrade to drupal 7. Maybe get rid of groups.occupyboston.org and start over? We'd have to migrate/restore data for existing users.
  • The empty calendar on groups.occupyboston.org is a big cognitive dissonance. The site is, in general, a little too ad-hoc and confusing.
  • There are a lot of different ways we could implement forums: vanilla, phpbb, and a myriad of modules for adding forum facilities directly to drupal. We need to research these different options, to figure out what works best.
  • Suggestion: let's set up a new dev instance w/drupal 7. Try to match the theme our wordpress site. Install vanilla and phpbb (and the associated drupal integration modules), and try them out side by side.
  • Apparently OBIT also needs a tardis. We'll get right on that ...

Ideas for providing a virtual meeting space

  • Set up a page where we iframe etherpad and IRC. The virtual meeting space should create a dedicated IRC channel and etherpad instance for that meeting.

TODOs for a Documentation Project

  • Material that explains how to use email lists, edit the wiki, and use IRC.
  • Write a set of best practices for using the different online tools.
  • Write a set of best practices (netiquette?) for using mailing lists.
  • Wiki screencast tutorials would be awesome.
  • We should clean up / consolidate / organize wiki help pages. There's a lot of good documentation already, but we could make the presentation/organization better.

Target Dates for Implementing these Projects

  • We should start the wiki documentation project soon. Deadline: March 4th. Dana will work on a wiki page to organize documentation, and may add an occupyboston.org menu link to the wiki documentation.
  • Target date for forums and updated drupal: March 18th.

Tickets

Research Resource Sharing/Trading Systems (Ticket #51)

  • TechOps at OWS is working on a similar project called permabank.
  • OBIT has contacts w/people who are working on permabank. Would we want to contribute to Permabank development?
  • Forrest is interested in going to NYC to talk to Permabank developers, and report back afterwards.
  • The purpose of this ticket is to publicize the project, and list resources. At present, it's not a call for work to be done.
  • Appeal of a Resource Sharing application: in some sense, this is like what Occupy tried to do (in a non-digital way) in the encampments.
  • Would we see this is as a one national board, or one board for each region (a la Craigslist)? Depends on how useful the tool is, and how people would use it. More important goal is to do something subversive with technology.
  • It would be nice to incorporate geo-spatial technologies. Where are you now? What do you need? How far are you willing to go to get it?

Other Tickets

  • #16. Ross upgraded to latest version of wordpress
  • #48. Steve has module written. Needs to be installed.

Router Donation Drive / Router Project

Got an old router? Donate it to OBIT.

Miscellaneous Topics

  • There's a fellow from Ideas WG that works at MIT's Center for Civic Media. The Center for Civic Media hold meetings on Thursday; might be interesting for OBIT to attend. For example, there's a guy at MIT (Charlie?) who's building an online consensus tool. (related-- someone just sent this link to the Ideas mailing list: openassembly.org.)
  • Future issue: wiki spam cleanup
  • Future issue: forum spam moderation
  • We should try to find people who want to do work in the Occupy movement, and would like to help curate/maintain our online presence. Maybe we could try recruiting a few people at the Apr. 2 community gathering.
  • We (OBIT) were asked if we'd be willing to push our community gathering up a week, so that OB could have an "open house" community gathering on Apr. 2nd, the day after the April 1st general assembly @ Dewey Square. At the community gathering, we should talk about open source, and introduce people to some of the things that OBIT has built.