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Sunday, September 24 2017 @ 10:43 AM CDT

 Forum Index > General > Rules and Etiquette
 Where and Why to Post - How this web site is laid out and how you can help change things
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By: richard (offline) on Saturday, June 11 2011 @ 02:51 PM CDT (Read 17786 times)  

Whenever I put together a "community" web site such as this one, I find that the eventual users of the site have their own ideas on what should be where and which parts of the site are "the best" for particular uses. This one is likely to be no different.

I'm going to fall back on quoting a lot of the post I did for the Hancock Wildlife Foundation's main web site which is set up using the same (glFusion) software. It started out 6 years ago when the first live eagle camera was running as the place to post observations and discuss the goings on not only for that first camera, but for all the activities the foundation has taken on, and today it is huge and very active.


The facilities of this web site are diverse and some of them may be used little, while others may be used a lot. Content Management Systems (CMS) as this one is, can have various modules added and changed over time as the needs and wants of the web site users (and owners, although in this case I'm going to defer to the users mostly)

Some people think that organizing what might become a huge web site and imposing that organization for the long term is a good thing - and more power to them if they think that they can do this in the face of what hopefully will turn out to be hundreds and thousands of members and viewers. There isn't enough time in the day for me to even try. 

The point is, today there is a internet facility that makes overt organization of the information and opinion in a dynamic site almost moot - the search engines. 

The search engines will allow people to find something that has specific key words, no matter how far down into the site it is buried. We no longer have to ensure that every piece of information is filed exactly under the Dewey Decimal System or any other highly structured categorization system - if something is relevant, the search engines will find it.  At the same time we will begin most programs with a Static Page this is an Index to the details kept in that area.

That being said, there are 5 major areas of the site that have specific reasons for existing as separate areas:

1 - This Discussion Forum

2 - The "News" Story system

3 - The Media Gallery photo/video area

4 - The "Static Page" section

5 - The DokuWIKI section


I'll take each of these in turn and tell what it is best used for.

1 - Discussion Forum

This area is for 2 basic things: 

A - General interactive discussion of topics people are interested in, including discussions that might be related to other sections of the web site.

B - Special Group discussions, possibly private and/or moderated toward a specific set of rules

What this area is not best suited for is posting information that is "long term" and might be considered reference information for people in the future. It is also not the best place for images that might be referenced by people at a later time. The images in the forum should be for immediate discussion only and mostly limited to two images per posting. Otherwise the images should be posted in the Media Galley and referenced in the Forum by a url.

The reasoning: The Forum software is oriented toward the interaction of groups of people on fairly narrow topics that are very timely (life span of days to weeks with interactive times measured in minutes to hours in many cases.) The Forum is not quite a "chat" facility (where the chat results are thrown away after they disappear off the screen unless someone makes a special effort to save them) but neither are they properly organized for presentation to the general public; too much individual personality in the posts.

2 - The "News" Story system

This system is composed of topics (Live Wildlife, Live People, Live Technical, etc.) into which various stories are posted by a fairly small number of people (but any member can provide a story if they wish and the more people doing this the better.)

The stories are presented in reverse date order (newest at the top) and in most cases are presented both on the topic pages and in automatic aggregation of these stories on the Home Page of the site. The stories have two segments for text/images: Intro and Body.

The INTRO, should be limited to one photo and 5 to 7 lines, is displayed in the list of stories on the topic and home pages - and should be enough to let the reader decide if they want to

'read more'  for the rest of the story. The BODY contains the rest of the story and more images, videos or urls to the original source.

There is provision for "TAGS" which further categorize the story according to key words - and a key-word-collage shows the activity of key words in the system, with more active ones being bigger text and different colors - the "Popular Subjects" block in the right border. Filling in this  'key word'  function is what drives many of the search engines to us.

3 - The Media Gallery photo/video area

This area is where individuals and general membership can accumulate folders of photos that can be referenced from other areas of the site including both the forum and the story system. Accessing these images or videos via a URL into Discussion Forum postings makes the posting more exciting.   Folders can be presented as a "slide show" (in an article for example) or individually - and the system can store many different kinds of audio/visual information such as MP3 files, video files, documents, and of course photos.  The key to the use of these Media Gallery images is that anybody can draw them actively into their posting at any time to illustrate a point.

The system allows for "meta" information on an item by item basis, including the ability to use the "TAG" system to highlight key words in similar fashion to the story system. It also allows members to rate the item.

4 - The "Static Page" section

The static page system allow literally anything to be put on a page - and that page used in several different ways. The major point is that unless it is added to the menu system specifically, or referenced by URL from some other page, it is not "on the site" except that it may be included in the search index if the "index" flag on the document edit screen is set. Otherwise, these pages do not automatically show up anywhere.

Static pages are used for 2 basic things:

A - as building blocks for information on TOPIC main pages. They can be shown at the top, middle, or bottom of any single topic page and typically in our case we use them to give information about the topic and the stories it should contain.

B - as long-term pages of information that seldom, if ever, change, but which must be available at all times from a specific menu spot or link spot. Often the Static Page contains a description of what that Folder is about and sometimes includes an Index of what is listed under that Topic.   These include:

i) Terms of Service

ii) Policies and Procedures

iii) Advertising Rates, etc.

iv) Other reference materials (camera technology, standards, etc) that are added from time to time by specific individuals

v) About Us

vi) Contact Us

and similar reference pages

5 - The DokuWIKI section

The pages of a WIKI are editable by members in general, and a complete history of the changes to any given page are kept in case edits are incorrect (or spammers get in) The best example of this kind of page is WIKIPEDIA 



Aside from the forum and your own media gallery area, the general membership cannot post to anywhere else without the help of an administrator or moderator. Once you have shown that you understand the specifics of an area or topic, you may be given the ability to post directly to it without a moderator's permission.


So... that let's people know what sections are best for what and why

Richard C. Pitt
Making better live wildlife video streams through sharing information openly

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