[triangle-zpug] October 27 meeting

Chris Calloway cbc at unc.edu
Tue Oct 12 17:23:35 CEST 2004


Paolo Mangiafico wrote:
> The next Tri-ZPUG meeting is scheduled for Wednesday October 27, and 
> we're prepared to host it in Perkins Library at Duke University again.

Paolo,

If you could join trizpug.org and post a calendar event in your home
folder, I'll publish it. It will then automatically show up on the
calendar portlet.

The default Plone event content type is pretty limited (it's meant to be
customized/entended by those with time on their hands). The only free 
form text is the "description" property and it's plain text. As such, if 
I have things like directions or maps to post with an event, I usually 
create a separate document or image in the folder, and link it to the 
event through the "more information" hyperlink property in the event. If 
the event and related content are all in the same folder, you don't need 
to preface the link with http:// or a path name. Just the Plone short 
name (same as Zope ID property) will suffice.

Creating events, documents, and images is pretty intuitive once you join
and visit your home folder. You might need to click on "contents" of
your home folder. You can also create folders within your home folder.

If you choose the "meeting" event type on the event edit form when you 
create your event, I'll be able to rig the meetings folder to display it 
there when published, also. Effective use of metatdata... (I like 
supplying as much metadata with an item as possible).

> I'd like to propose a discussion/demonstration of Plone as a topic, 
> mainly because it's something I'm trying to learn more about right now, 
> but I think there's probably significant interest among others at Duke 
> and in the Tri-ZPUG community. We've got at least two people in the 
> group (Geoff and Chris) who were at the recent Plone conference, and 
> maybe they could give us an overview of the conference and its 
> highlights. I'd also be interested in a discussion of some of the more 
> social (i.e., not necessarily technological) issues related to 
> implementing Plone with loose-knit and possibly not very tech-savvy 
> communities: how have the editing and workflow interfaces worked for 
> content authors; do users understand and make effective use of the 
> member spaces, calendars, etc.?
> 
> Does this sound good to you all, or are there other topics that you'd 
> prefer to cover this month? And are there any volunteers to lead this 
> discussion?

Heh. Geoff is in Beantown for at least another month. I was hoping to 
make it past the election before having to put anything else to do on my 
calendar. (A certain local political website is Plone and very community 
driven. I don't mind talking about it if others aren't, uh, offended. 
But this election is taking up all my "free" time with canvassing, 
volunteer direction, etc.). But if no one else steps forward, I can make 
*some* sort of spiel. It could be a conference report like last year, 
although a conference report itself would be pretty spread out and high 
level as so much stuff is convered. Another possibility is a 
presentation from the conference itself. Geoff gave two of the best and 
he should present his some other time, especially CMFMember, since there 
is interest in memberish content types. If I were to hijack another 
conference presentation, it would be the one on PloneTestCase, 
especially since Plone development is putting such emphasis on creating 
test cases before code. That would involve more preparation on my part 
than I can invest before November. That leaves conference report, which 
would kind of be a snoozer in that it would not be much more than a 
mention of many community developed products and projects, and maybe an 
account of the current state of development. It deserves more like ten 
minutes than a whole program.

Therefore, if someone else would like to step forward, I'd be glad to 
step back.

I'm not making huge use of teamspaces, member workspaces, group folders, 
etc., etc., yet, because, among other reasons, some of my sites where it 
would be useful are pretty new and the others where it would be useful 
have had their terms of operation dictated by folks who up until now 
have not been all that interested in those capabilities (at least not 
enough to invest).

In that respect, there is probably very much of a social aspect 
involving non-tech savvy communities that I feel very (almost too) 
qualified to talk about *if* you don't mind case studies and open 
conversation about those studies rather than a cut and dried 
presentation. That's something I wouldn't have to prepare too hard for 
because I live it every day. Call this program "Social Patterns in 
Content Management" if that's the program you'd like to have. This would 
be a very non-technical program, if that's makes a difference in 
interest among TriZPUGers.

I have five Plone sites with different communities.

The community that is the most non-tech savvy takes to Plone the best. 
Go figure. They love it. They feel powerful with it. Not only do they 
take to it, the workflow out of the box works best for them. Not only do 
they take to it, having Plone has kind of worked the kinks out of 
communication within the community. Previously, the stage in the 
community was monopolized by people who were just holding titles and not 
communicating very well with their community. Now the people in the 
community who have the most energy and talent are emerging as the 
organizers and communicators. The title holders have not objected 
because they were never too comfortable in the seats they held anyway. I 
call that my Plone success story. There are concrete reasons for that 
success and the reasons are pretty social. And the success is itself 
changing the community for the better. These reasons definitely have 
contrast with my other cases studies. This case study is also very 
interesting because I have invested the least in developing this 
particular site. I spent a weekend on it before launching two months 
ago, including installing Python, Zope, and Plone from source. I've 
probably spent a weekend on it since then. There was a previous 
webmaster maintained site for this community before the Plone site.

I have three Plone sites which are so new that they aren't well 
developed yet in terms of community. One is a matter of the community 
itself not being well developed enough to know what they want out of it. 
I have low investment in that site so far. Another is a matter of the 
community not being aware of the site yet because the community 
management wants to make sure there is a workflow that fits before the 
site is launched (isn't that refreshing!). I will have increasing 
investment in that site. Another is a matter of a community of few 
people where everyone is overworked and already has too many other sites 
and systems they have to contribute to. The future of that site is 
uncertain as the future of the community is uncertain.

A final case involves a Plone site where because of bureaucratic 
reasons, Plone is only being used as a publishing system. I have high 
investment on that site, and a large portion of that investment is 
complexly social. That situation is being changed to a community driven 
content management system, the change is highly necessaery, and the 
change is also primarily one of social interactions. Making the change 
has complications because certain unhealthy expectations have already 
become entrenched from using Plone as a publishing system. The community 
and body of content is also relatively large adding to the complexity of 
the change. There are definitely lessons learned from this case study: 
a) do it the right way from the beginning, b) stick to the community 
paradigm, c) release early and release often but don't release for the 
sake of releasing.

Finally, Geoff, Joel Burton, myself, and others in TriZPUG are gauging 
interest for a Plone boot camp in the Triangle, possibly to be hosted at 
UNC, possibly elsewhere. Ben Best at Duke is in on this. If you have 
interest, Paolo, you should get onboard, too. This is shaping up to be a 
significant event in many respects.

-- 
Sincerely,

Chris Calloway
http://www.seacoos.org
office: 17-6 Venable Hall   phone: (919) 962-4323
mail: CB #3056, 12 Howell Hall, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC 27599




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