Ames MakerSpace Message Board › Too many websites/presences?

Too many websites/presences?

Alex R.
user 26465162
Ames, IA
Post #: 2
Just wanted to bring up an issue that would help us help ourselves. There is a lot to be gained from lots of web presence but the .org and .com and meetup website is confusing. If we could centralize or make one place the front/entry for the other sites that would help us add content to the one correct place...
Aquaponic G.
user 42589192
Ames, IA
Post #: 10
I do think it would be helpful to have one place to go to find information. It would help the organizers to have only one place to update and it would help users know where to go to get information.

In choosing which would be our only/primary method of communication we would also need to consider the following:

1. How will we advertise our events or get people? Which advertisement methods are most effective (biggest bang for the buck/effort)?

2. How frequently will we be updating the information?

3. Who is responsible for updating the information (In my experience, one person has to be ultimately responsible or the work does not get done. That person can delegate, but needs to ensure the work gets done.)

4. What kind(s) of information and functionality are we wanting for our site? These are things I think we'd want and there may be others.


  • Event planning and announcements with RSVPs, automatic reminders for participants and possible payments
  • Discussion board
  • Ability to survey/poll participants
  • Ability for people to tell if the space is in use and to sign up for lockers, workspace, etc
  • Ability to identify the public/common use equipment available


Aquaponic G.
user 42589192
Ames, IA
Post #: 13
On a related note, I strongly suggest that we clearly state what level of hours donated and/or financial donation is necessary to be a full member of the MakerSpace and what benefits full membership provides.

Why: It tends to be the case in volunteer organizations that people do stuff in a haphazard way when they have the time because they have other things that are higher priority. So only a few dedicated members end up doing all the work. Having required hours of service plus a list of "chores" that they can choose from to meet those hours would help to ensure that the work that needs to get done gets done.

Furthermore, I would recommend that we offer financial compensation to those doing work beyond the required hours of service. This will benefit the MakerSpace and the persons putting in a lot of extra effort into making the space work for everyone for the following reasons:
1. More people may be willing to help out with what needs to get done


  • Less potential resentment and burnout when one or two people are doing most of the work for free and others benefit from their efforts with little or no cost or effort
  • More shared responsibility--many hands make light work


2. The MakerSpace gets work done on a more regular basis because the work has greater value (There is a reason garbage persons are paid well...no one wants to do the work) So the following work may be good to have compensation:

  • MakerSpace website design and updating
  • Event advertising, marketing, and fundraising efforts
  • Instructors/speakers at events
  • Person who supervises space during open hours and assists those who come in to use the space
  • Physical renovations to the space


3. People will know the expectations and can choose to have minimal participation or have higher participation because they will know the costs and benefits of each.


My suggestion:
If we like these ideas, we should include this in our budget as we work towards become a non-profit organization


  • Each member is required to put in at least 4 hours per month to be considered a full member. Full membership would allow the member to participate in certain activities (lectures, demos, meetings?) at no cost
  • Non-members (those who haven't put in their required hours) would be expected to pay $5 per lecture/meeting and $10 per visit when using the equipment
  • Members who conduct workshops and do additional work approved by the MakerSpace board beyond that required for full membership will receive $X per hour or per event for their work. (So if a member conducts two 4-hour workshops in a month, the instructor would get compensated for the second event.)
  • Guest speakers (Shoe guy, Coffee guy, etc) we may need to financially compensate them with a revenue-sharing of the proceeds from their workshop, or we can negotiate their time as being advertisement for them...


The downside to this is that we'd need an accurate way to keep track of time. If there was a log-in sheet by the door...or some computerized way to log hours and tally that, it might help.

We would also need a list of "chores" and approximate amount of time that we'd expect them to take so that people can sign up when the chore is done and we know it gets crossed off the list.
Rob
user 49630442
Ames, IA
Post #: 2
Just wanted to bring up an issue that would help us help ourselves. There is a lot to be gained from lots of web presence but the .org and .com and meetup website is confusing. If we could centralize or make one place the front/entry for the other sites that would help us add content to the one correct place...

We're on the same wavelength; I posted a similar concern yesterday.

I think if we just redirect the .com and .org to this meetup site for now and add more membership information to the meetup site, that would resolve the immediate problem. Then we can start working on the other good ideas in this thread, some of which might take a while longer to implement.


I do think it would be helpful to have one place to go to find information. It would help the organizers to have only one place to update and it would help users know where to go to get information.

In choosing which would be our only/primary method of communication we would also need to consider the following:

1. How will we advertise our events or get people? Which advertisement methods are most effective (biggest bang for the buck/effort)?

2. How frequently will we be updating the information?

3. Who is responsible for updating the information (In my experience, one person has to be ultimately responsible or the work does not get done. That person can delegate, but needs to ensure the work gets done.)

4. What kind(s) of information and functionality are we wanting for our site? These are things I think we'd want and there may be others.


  • Event planning and announcements with RSVPs, automatic reminders for participants and possible payments
  • Discussion board
  • Ability to survey/poll participants
  • Ability for people to tell if the space is in use and to sign up for lockers, workspace, etc
  • Ability to identify the public/common use equipment available



I think the meetup site takes care of all but the equipment checkout. Until we find something better, that could be handled with a Google Doc, or just a single-page website that a designated "equipment manager" maintains.

I didn't even stumble across the .org until I saw it in this thread, and it looks like it just has some pictures from a meeting back in March and a link to the meetup site; so it doesn't seem like it would be much trouble to move those photos here and just point that domain to the meetup site.

The .com hasn't really seen any activity since March, and it looks to me like the meetup site has already taken over the role as the one central location for organizing the group, so it makes sense to redirect that domain to the meetup site, too. Maybe the old site could be kept online as a subdomain, like v1.amesmakerspace.com, in case someone wants to look at it.
Aquaponic G.
user 42589192
Ames, IA
Post #: 14
The only problem with having the Meetup site as primary is that it is limited in functionality and we're at the mercy of the Meetup Software to be able to design our online content.

The scheduling piece works great, but I've found some of the other tools to be less than ideal. For example, the polling & surveys and this discussion board and some other aspects are rather limited in their functionality.

It would be nice if we could access Meetup through the webpage without having to have separate sites.
Rob
user 49630442
Ames, IA
Post #: 5
Having 3 separate sites is confusing and gives the impression that the group is poorly organized and/or defunct. At first I was afraid the group was more or less dead because of the sudden drop-off in activity on the current .com site.

I think a good first step is to redirect the .com and .org to the meetup site for now (even if it's only temporary), to make it as easy as possible to join.

Once the confusion issue is resolved, we can create a wishlist and start working on a more functional website on the side, which could take more than a month.

In the meantime, what features are supported by the "Pages" tab on meetup? Can we use an iframe to embed external content?

Is it possible to disable features on meetup? I think polls can be done easily enough elsewhere by just posting links to the polls, but it will be confusing if there are multiple discussion boards accessible through different sites. Are there any other features that can be enabled/disabled?

As for the main website, Meetup does have APIs to embed its components (e.g., calendar) in a separate site; and we could create a subdomain, http://meetup.amesmak...­, for directly accessing the site (more details). We should also embed the twitter and facebook feeds in the new website.

Another side-note: if there isn't already a catalog of pages on third-party websites that need to be maintained, such as the entry at http://hackerspaces.o...­, those should be cataloged somewhere so they don't get out of sync.

Edit: one more coment--I recently learned that some people make a distinction between hackerspaces and makerspaces; namely, that hackerspaces are more techie-oriented, while makerspaces cover a much broader range of interests. I know that differs from wikipedia's definition, but it might be worth keeping in mind.
Aquaponic G.
user 42589192
Ames, IA
Post #: 19
Having 3 separate sites is confusing and gives the impression that the group is poorly organized and/or defunct. At first I was afraid the group was more or less dead because of the sudden drop-off in activity on the current .com site.

I think a good first step is to redirect the .com and .org to the meetup site for now (even if it's only temporary), to make it as easy as possible to join.

Once the confusion issue is resolved, we can create a wishlist and start working on a more functional website on the side, which could take more than a month.

In the meantime, what features are supported by the "Pages" tab on meetup? Can we use an iframe to embed external content?

Is it possible to disable features on meetup? I think polls can be done easily enough elsewhere by just posting links to the polls, but it will be confusing if there are multiple discussion boards accessible through different sites. Are there any other features that can be enabled/disabled?

As for the main website, Meetup does have APIs to embed its components (e.g., calendar) in a separate site; and we could create a subdomain, http://meetup.amesmak...­, for directly accessing the site (more details). We should also embed the twitter and facebook feeds in the new website.

My web development skills are advanced novice level and so I can only speak to the usability aspects. Generally, I agree with you about the multiple pages. If this is important to us, I think we need to have someone who is willing to take this torch and run with it.

Steven may already be doing this. I think he has been working on making the website and may already be on top of these things. We could see what his plans and progress have been and if he's wanting help with that project.

Would y'all want to have a meeting to discuss this issue in person and perhaps set a timeline for the project and assign tasks to various persons?
Rob
user 49630442
Ames, IA
Post #: 6
Sure; how about 6 or 6:30 PM tomorrow (Sat 6/23)? Or, since it looks like you guys are all going to be at the Python workshop, I could stop by after that (11 AM?).

My web development skills are pretty basic and I have zero graphic design skill, but I've managed to fumble my way around in the past. I'm happy to help out however I can.

The DNS configuration should take less than 15 minutes, as long as we have administrative access to the registrars (fastdomain and tucows?) and Meetup.
Aquaponic G.
user 42589192
Ames, IA
Post #: 20
Sure; how about 6 or 6:30 PM tomorrow (Sat 6/23)? Or, since it looks like you guys are all going to be at the Python workshop, I could stop by after that (11 AM?).

I have to leave the workshop by about 12:30, but it would work for me to meet around 11:00, if that would also work for Steven.
Alex R.
user 26465162
Ames, IA
Post #: 3
Here's a Wordpress plugin for meetup:

http://nuancedmedia.c...­
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