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 Where and Why to Post - How the Web Site is Laid Out
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By: richardpitt (offline) on Thursday, September 02 2010 @ 03:48 PM EDT (Read 2812 times)  

The Hancock Wildlife Foundation web site is huge. What many people forget is that the Discussion Forum is but a very small part of the site. This post is about the organization of the site and what data, and particularly our reference files that are to be kept forever, is kept where. Then it is about how to refer back and forth to the different files.

The first thing to understand is - in some ways it really doesn't matter. 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 - Specific, or even Scientific, observations of our (and other) cameras in near real-time by specific groups of observers. These are files that have long-term historic value and will be Archived in one of the Reference Files for future use.

What this area is not best suited for is posting information (other than B - the Specific observations) 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 are for immediate discussion only and are limited to two images per posting. Otherwise the images must 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 (Wildlife News, Conservation, Foundation news, 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, limited 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 rul 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 (Biology reference specifically) that are added from time to time by specific individuals
v) About Us
vi) Contact Us

and similar reference pages

5 - The DokuWIKI section

This section is replacing the static page system for the biology reference section. The pages 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

At this time, this set of pages is not very active - but we're hoping.

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


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By: aceaw (offline) on Wednesday, May 23 2012 @ 08:38 PM EDT  

I have a Mac and since I updated adobe flash player I can't open the WR camera or if it does open it's remains frozen. I can open the Decorah nest without a problem. Can anyone help?


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By: JudyB (offline) on Wednesday, May 23 2012 @ 09:14 PM EDT  

Quote by: aceaw

I have a Mac and since I updated adobe flash player I can't open the WR camera or if it does open it's remains frozen. I can open the Decorah nest without a problem. Can anyone help?

Hi aceaw - and welcome to the forum!

My guess is that it's an issue with Adobe Flash - what works for many of us is to wait for the ad to play, then when we get either the black screen or a frozen screen, either click the "Live Stream" link in the upper right corner, or click the orange "stop" box in the lower left corner and then click the orange "play" triangle that appears after you click Stop. I occasionally have to do both of those, but after that the cam usually works fine for me.

If that doesn't work, I'd recommend posting on the "Apple Mac User Support" thread in the "Technical Help" forum - the link is forum/viewtopic.php?showtopic=480

We have more people who check that thread than check here - and if it's OK with you, I will move these posts there once you've had a chance to reply so the answer is available to others.

Happy eagle watching!


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