Nate, (et al)
I intended on raising these issues at the meeting as it would be too
much to put in an email ; )
I was hoping we could put this project in the proper context but I
was just waiting for the meeting. Your points are all salient and I
think that you could bring some good real-world planning experience
to this project.
Anyway - interested folks should take note of Nate's email and come
to the planning meeting with these concepts in mind. I think the
organizational direction is evolving as fast as the feature set.
We're on to something good here and I am down to support it!
Back to work,
On Sep 18, 2007, at 2:24 PM, Nate Klaiber wrote:
> Greetings Everyone!
> Let me, for a minute, play the role of the devils advocate - or,
> just the mean guy in the room - whichever you choose.
> "We now have a basic plan for the initial website. Rather than
> waiting until everything is perfect (CMS, Forum, Mysql Backend
> etc), we are just going to push ahead with something simple."
> What is our rush?
> Why would we put something out now, that we would ultimately want
> to change in the long run? Why double our efforts? Why not build
> what we need from the ground up, giving ourselves a solid
> foundation to build and expand?
> We are a group of web professionals. We all come from a broad array
> of different backgrounds. All of us are here to teach, learn, and
> engage. Why not take this time to build something solid that we can
> all be proud of, and that is a cohesive whole - something that
> truly defines us. Yes, there are many technology options and open
> source packages out there, but we are web professionals - why
> couldn't we build what we need? If anything it can be a learning
> process to those who want to know how to build a forum, or
> understand how one should function. Even for those seeking out Open
> Source options, they would be better educated when picking out
> their options, as they know what to look for in a good forum (or
> other functional piece of the website).
> We have programmers, designers, interface designers, illustrators,
> copywriters...and the list goes on. Why can't we collaborate as a
> group and build something that defines us? I know not everyone has
> the time to devote to something like this, but personally I feel
> blessed to be a part of a group like this and would love to help in
> whatever way I could.
> What are our goals?
> I don't think we ever established real goals with our own
> association website. What is the purpose of our website going to
> be? Is our goal to be a forum? Is our goal to be a chat room? Is
> our goal to be a social networking site? Interconnected pieces of
> We could have short term goals like:
> - To promote web standards
> - To learn
> - To educate
> - To engage
> - To employ (some are looking to go freelance...?)
> Maybe even some long term goals like:
> - We become the central hub for cleveland and host events that
> would help educate the community
> - We become the strong voice of web standards/development in the
> cleveland area
> - World domination
> Who is our audience?
> Is this site simply a sounding board for our current members, or is
> it also an invitation for others to get involved? Are we an elitist
> club, or an open community of web professionals?
> What is our message?
> When someone comes to our site - what is our message going to be to
> them? Is our site one that will answer the 'Who, what, when, where,
> and why' to a visitor who has never heard of the Cleveland Web
> Standards Association? What about our 'calls to action'? Join?
> Learn? Engage?
> What are our needs?
> Do we really need a full blown CMS? Why? Couldn't we create
> something that fits our needs specifically. Do we need WYSIWYG
> editors as professionals in the field? Do we need smileys and
> emoticons all over the place? Do we need to shoehorn our specific
> content into a CMS? I am not against CMS's, I just think we could
> get away without some of the bloat that most of them bring. Again,
> we are web professionals. We know what we need and how to achieve
> it. This isn't about re-inventing the wheel - it is about building
> to our needs, not forcing our needs into someone else's application.
> What are the building blocks?
> When it comes down to it - it is about using the right tools for
> the job, not just using technology for technologies sake - so lets
> thing about the tools, and why we are using them.
> We have the data heads and MySQL seems to be the choice for a data
> backend. An excellent choice, at that. Joseph, as a data head -
> wouldn't you like to sit down, plan out an overall schema for our
> website, and watch as it gets deployed to a front-end interface? No
> offense, but any monkey could install a CMS or a Forum, why can't
> we build one to suite our needs and goals? Why not let this be a
> learning experience for those who are up-and-coming data heads who
> want to learn from the ways of a professional?
> PHP seems to be the language of choice, but are we opposed to other
> options? I know there are some interested in Ruby and the Ruby on
> Rails framework, is this an option? I would be satisfied with
> either, PHP seems to be more widely used - so the majority of us
> would probably encounter more PHP than Ruby.
> We have those who are extremely fluent in semantic HTML as well as
> CSS - why not give them an opportunity to build, and to teach those
> who are just starting their journey with HTML/CSS. Many people have
> expressed they learn with hands-on experience. Implementing things
> that are beneficial to use as developers, like Microformats, that
> are topics of discussion in our group.
> We have others still who love to make things happen with
> is tough to grasp - why not build this together?
> What comprises our content?
> I think the forum is necessary as it gives us a place to continue
> our discussion - but lets think about the interconnected pieces
> here. If we didn't use Vanilla forum, and created our own - then we
> would have full control over our schema and the data behind it.
> There won't be data islands, but one cohesive whole. We could have
> a content section that re-caps presentations from our previous
> meetups. I, for one, and thankful for David Mead posting the
> Microformats video for me to view since I was unable to attend. So,
> we have an archive of our discussions and the content discussed.
> From there, we could have a link like 'discuss this in its own
> forum' type of thing, which then creates the topic automatically
> and that data is connected to our individual presentations. It
> eliminates the clutter of comments on the main page - and allows us
> to dissect what we all just learned.
> Do we need a blog aggregator as a main piece of content? There are
> many aggregation services out there. There are aggregators for
> aggregators. CSS galleries for CSS galleries. Do we really need to
> duplicate this with a main piece of content - or can it be
> integrated in a much better fashion than the basic SimplePie (Again
> - giving us control of our data and its connections, not creating
> data islands). My main question is - does it need to be a main
> piece of content? Would it really be used? I know the majority of
> us have feedreaders anyway, would this be beneficial to our goals,
> purposes, and audiences of our site? It may be - just a question I
> am posing.....
> Member sites links: This could get unwieldy if we get larger - why
> not let this stuff be managed with a user profile? Maybe every now
> and then we have a 'featured profile' that gives someone a little
> more exposure and talks about how they are making the web standards
> community stronger in cleveland - or highlighting their activity on
> a specific project.
> Online venues: why just create links, why not integrate with these
> services where possible?
> What if we posted all of our events to upcoming.org, then pulled in
> our events via their API to our website and stored them locally?
> Then, when people post pictures to Flickr and tag them with an
> upcoming machine tag, we can automatically pull in all of those
> photos as well. So - for one meetup presentation we could have a
> central hub to view the contents, actions to get involved in the
> discussion, and multimedia such as videos and pictures for those
> who were unable to attend. All of this to be organized by date
> (archive), tags, and categories. For member sections, they could
> approve their flickr username and have their photos automatically
> pulled into their profile according to machine tags that we could
> create. This eliminates the task of having to get all of the photos
> together and only keeping them on our website, and allows us to
> continue to use the tools we already use. Our system simply knows
> what to look for and pulls things in accordingly. This also has the
> added benefit of hitting a wider audience at both upcoming.org and
> flickr.com. We would avoid duplicating the content and efforts and
> let our website be a hub to display just the things we need to
> display. These are just some of my hair-brained ideas...but I want
> us to think about these options, so I will stop there......
> OK -so this is long enough. I have more to discuss, but I would
> like to get some brainstorming going and get us really thinking
> about our goals and purposes......something to get the mind moving.
> 'The Mean Guy'
> Nate Klaiber
> Quoting Joseph James Frantz <[address removed]>:
>> Thanks again to Brendan for his helpful suggestions (to use
>> I've finally got a sample of an aggregater up for consideration.
>> now I've used the blogs for both Brads, Brendan and Eric Wiley simply
>> for testing purposes, hope their all cool with that. If not, I'll
>> pull them when yall let me know.
>> For the Brads, and Eric's blogs, we get just a snippet preview. For
>> Brendan's we get the entire blog. This is something that I am
>> guessing is set up in each blog, because simplepie is set with the
>> default settings. In addition I used just their sample code,
>> including inline (ugh) CSS. Again though this is just for testing
>> I've noticed a lot, that these aggregaters have names like
>> planet.whatever. We could go with that kind of name, though since we
>> are Cleveland area centric, I was thinking maybe
>> city.clevelandwebstandards.org. Just one of my ideas, ultimately how
>> we do this will be up to yall. Brendan pointed out we might want to
>> not use subdomains for ranking purposes. So we'll all discuss that on
>> Here's the link, comments and ideas welcome:
>> As always kind regards,
>> Joseph James Frantz
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