What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

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TheBearclaws
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What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby TheBearclaws » Fri 2009-02-27, 22:33:17

What does it mean to say we are a member of NWOGEO right now? Although it may change in the future, at the present time there isn’t any organized leadership. The only thing we have right now is this website serving as a place for us to interact outside of geocaching.com. Gizmoguy has done a great job keeping up with meet and eat and other event postings and the rest of us chime into the forums. I’m appreciative that this site exists but without designated leaders the decision making process is awkward at best. Maybe there is a way to do it though if most of us could agree on a few basic concepts. As an example, the comment has been made that the website isn’t user friendly. It's been proposed that we have a new home page welcoming visitors to the site, stating what we are all about and inviting people to click on links to go further. A link to the forums, a link to the events page (the former home page), a link to a page of recommended ideas regarding hiding and seeking caches etc. Now what happens to this suggestion? At the moment mostly nothing. So what if we agreed on a process to debate this idea for a change and ultimately see it through to completion (for all I know this idea isn’t even feasible, but it would be nice to explore). Would it be logical to discuss as a forum topic for a designated length of time and then take a vote?

I personally think that this website could serve a valuable purpose in helping to educate new cachers in the area by offering various guidance. I would like to be able to refer people here as a GoTo site for local geocaching community happenings as well as advice. We could provide guidance on how to handle travel bugs as it’s common for new cachers to have difficulty getting things right, and other help topics. We already display advice regarding concerns with cemetery caching so we could also have a section dealing with recommendations on how to hide a cache expressing concerns with businesses etc. The ideas being discussed right now in the General Geocaching Topics forum.

I think we could do and offer a lot of things and more people would use the site if we could agree on a format to follow to make decisions in the absence of designated leadership. Keep It Simple too!

I enjoy using the site and appreciate everyone’s contributions whether it be newcomers questions or old timers wit and wisdom .

Does this make sense to anyone?
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cachergirl27
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Re: What Is This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby cachergirl27 » Sat 2009-02-28, 00:01:48

I understand I'm a newbie to this group, but I really would like to become more involved in NWOGEO and its activities. I was thinking the same as Bearclaws. Giz does a wonderful job maintaining this site, posting the meet & eats and so forth. We really need some type of organization within the organization if we're going to be a successful group. We could do a lot more than just Adopt-A-Highways as a service group.
Not everyone who caches would want to do the service projects, but they wouldn't have to.
I think we should have a group of elected officers that meet two - three times a year along with the steering committee (I'm guessing we still have that) to make sure everything is going in the right direction.
And, yes, I'm willing to be a part of the group, not just throwing out ideas expecting someone else to step up to the plate. :)

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GizmoGuy411
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Re: What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby GizmoGuy411 » Sat 2009-02-28, 04:36:47

The software we use here has the ability to be modified in many ways. However the creation of a more friendly "front end" is not easily accomplished within the software.

We COULD create a simple front end similar to what has been suggested. It would just be a static page that links to some basic information, and of course to main CMS (Contact Management Software) that runs the current site. (DragonFly)

However there are technical issues. For the security of the website, (remember the spammers), many features require registration. Registration must be accomplished from within DragonFly.

So some of the suggestions should not be to hard to accomplish. We would just have to decide what we want available to non-registered visitors vs registered members.

The other issue with making these changes, is that ultimately jslagle is the actual owner of the server that this system runs on. In fact, he is technically even the actual owner of the domain name "NWOGEO.org", as he registered the name and pays for it.

Jason has generously provided a server machine, the Internet access, his software expertise, and payment for our NWOGEO.org domain name, since its existence.

So while I have made a lot of changes here in the past without his blessings, (both unilaterally and by group decision), I would not feel comfortable writing a front end that makes major changes in the server.
Last edited by GizmoGuy411 on Mon 2009-03-09, 13:07:43, edited 3 times in total.
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GizmoGuy411
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Re: What Is This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby GizmoGuy411 » Sat 2009-02-28, 04:40:41

jhenkel wrote:... steering committee (I'm guessing we still have that) ...


Not really. It exists pretty much in name only and is essentially defunct.

And, yes, I'm willing to be a part of the group, not just throwing out ideas expecting someone else to step up to the plate. :)


Thank You!
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TeamMina
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Re: What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby TeamMina » Sat 2009-02-28, 14:20:26

Mike and I are pretty active in picking up, moving, and swapping TBs and GCs so we would be more than happy to write the guidelines for travelbugs.
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cachergirl27
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Re: What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby cachergirl27 » Sat 2009-02-28, 14:30:22

Actually, the more I got to thinking about this last night I came up with an idea. What if we had a "governing body" like a pres/vp & secretary that are elected, but then also have "delegates" from each defined area (i.e. Defiance area, Toledo area & Findlay area)? NW Ohio has really grown to more than just the Toledo area. If we met once every 2-3 months, it's not much of a committment, and we could get together centrally (BG, Grand Rapids, etc....) to make decisions. Then if something like the questions of how to redesign the webpage, guidelines, etc...comes up, there is a committee where all areas are represented, not just a bunch from Toledo or Findlay. Again, just a thought from a newbie.

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GizmoGuy411
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Re: What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby GizmoGuy411 » Fri 2009-03-06, 11:10:00

GizmoGuy411 wrote:... So while I have made a lot of changes here in the past without his blessings, I would not feel comfortable writing a front end that makes major changes in the server.


Jason told me to, "Have at it :)", so look around the site for ideas presented in this thread and on others to be coalesced.
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2trux
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Re: What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby 2trux » Fri 2009-03-06, 13:03:31

My friends at the Central Ontario Geocachers use a front end to their forums. You might want to take a peek at what their doing.

They've been running a poll for sometime, as to how many people go straight to the forum, as opposed to coming in via the front page (I'm in the latter group). It's currently about 50/50.

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GizmoGuy411
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Re: What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby GizmoGuy411 » Fri 2009-03-06, 17:20:16

2trux wrote:My friends at the Central Ontario Geocachers use a front end to their forums. You might want to take a peek at what their doing.

They've been running a poll for sometime, as to how many people go straight to the forum, as opposed to coming in via the front page (I'm in the latter group). It's currently about 50/50.


They have a great looking front end/home page. Thanks for the link.

The big difference for us is that our forum software (DragonFly CMS) contains not just forum software, but software for all the features they have on their front end/home page.

From an administration standpoint, the more you have on that page, the more workload there is to maintain it, and you better know HTML. With the CMS software, less techy people can help maintain it.

Our problem is that new people are overwhelmed immediately with our site. We need a front end page that appears as simple as possible and is appealing. It should contain very little if no dynamic information (no news, no calendar, etc.) It should have a welcome statement, few links into features of the CMS software that do not require registration, including links to tutorials to help with understanding the site. It should also probably have links to the special areas for outsiders, such as the Spirit Quest, and "Think Before You Hide". (Notice how I've latched on to that slogan already!)

We can not call our front end page a "home" page as that already exists in the CMS software, and would cause confusion. I suppose we could call it our "Welcome" page or "Intro" page. While I like the name "Welcome", it may not be appropriate either if we want to have a special page for the "Welcome Wagon" idea, as it would need to use that name.

I'm sure someone can come up with something that sounds better than "Front End" or "Intro"!
Last edited by GizmoGuy411 on Fri 2009-03-06, 18:02:39, edited 1 time in total.
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TheBearclaws
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Re: What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby TheBearclaws » Fri 2009-03-06, 17:57:20

Thanks for posting the link 2trux! I'll look around their site more later but it sure appears to be a nice one.
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GoodDog
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Re: What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby GoodDog » Fri 2009-03-06, 20:15:55

GizmoGuy411 wrote:... We can not call our front end page a "I'm sure someone can come up with something that sounds better than "Front End" or "Intro"!


The hub page. All the others are spokes.

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GoodDog
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Re: What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby GoodDog » Fri 2009-03-06, 20:19:49



That is indeed a good looking page. Much more friendly looking. Thanks Bill

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TheBearclaws
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Re: What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby TheBearclaws » Sat 2009-03-07, 17:42:07

So far Intro Page sounds best to me but here's a couple more names: Main Page, Starting Page, Central Page, Steering Page.
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2trux
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Re: What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby 2trux » Sat 2009-03-07, 18:52:48

What about keeping the "home" page, but changing the content?

Move the "News (event calendar)" to an "Calendar" item in the left hand menu, and replace it with static (or nearly static) content.

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GizmoGuy411
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Re: What Defines This Group and Who Makes Decisions?

Postby GizmoGuy411 » Sun 2009-03-08, 05:05:05

2trux wrote:What about keeping the "home" page, but changing the content?

Move the "News (event calendar)" to an "Calendar" item in the left hand menu, and replace it with static (or nearly static) content.


The left hand menu is part of the perceived problem. From the comments over the last few months, our initial page needs to be much simpler for the first time visitors.

The unregister user already does see a simpler page when first visiting current "home" page with the CMS software.

From a technical standpoint, we are limited in how may ways we can present the CMS "Home" page. Whereas with an "initial" static HTML page we can make it look however we want.

From an administration standpoint, we want to keep as much dynamic comment with the CMS software, leaving the initial page as static as possible.

Now having said that, there are some options for the initial page that I am exploring that may allow some dynamic content managed by the CMS software, and yet presented in the initial page.
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