Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

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Noah D, modified 4 Years ago.

Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 1097 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
I'm considering creating a separate website with archived, organized discussions from the DhO.  All wheat, no chaff.  All signal, no noise.  But I know nothing about web design so I could use some suggestions or ideas.  

The purpose of such a site would be to take the best posters and best content from over the course of the DhO and make it organized and easily searchable.  Useful quotes could be categorized and tagged somehow or just organized into hyperlinks by keyword.  All content would contain only handles and direct quotes, with links to the thread context: no extra information about anyone or anything.  

I am shitty at writing about practice but I am good at compiling information about it.  I feel kind of bad about having contributed more noise than signal here over some time and would like to provide a service in this way.  

Does anyone know a bit about web design and have suggestions on how to create such a site?
Zen Den Den, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 17 Join Date: 8/12/16 Recent Posts
Since you will have to search through DhO manually for the "important" stuff it would be quite easy to create this website using just static html. There is really no need for a dynamic platform. If you want to make the content management a little easier though you could go with jekyll, which I make a lot use of. For hosting I suggest Github as it is free emoticon

Let me know if you need more help emoticon
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Noah D, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 1097 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
Zen Den Den:
Since you will have to search through DhO manually for the "important" stuff it would be quite easy to create this website using just static html. There is really no need for a dynamic platform. If you want to make the  content management a little easier though you could go with jekyll, which I make a lot use of. For hosting I suggest Github as it is free emoticon

Let me know if you need more help emoticon

Thx!  I'll start investigating these tools and let you know if I need more info.
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Lewis, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 155 Join Date: 5/13/15 Recent Posts
I work as a software engineer, I'd be happy to lend a hand setting things up or sorting out problems if you like.

I agree with the idea to keep it simple with static page generators - my first thought was some kind of wiki but there are plenty of those around and they usually end up being a bit too nebulous and unfocussed.

Another option for static generation is Hugo, which may be a little less non-programmer friendly but is more flexible as to how you organise your data.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 591 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
Great idea, Noah. There are also some great pages by some of regulars here that I have stumbled across or been directed to, like Dream Walker and Pavel that have maps, or other practice ideas/tips. It would be great to be able to easily find and browse them.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
That is the sort of thing the wiki is for here!

interested in doing it on the DhO wiki? That would be great! Let me know,

daniel
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Noah D, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 1097 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
That is the sort of thing the wiki is for here!

interested in doing it on the DhO wiki? That would be great! Let me know,

daniel
I'd be glad to do it on the wiki.  Ultimately, id like quotes to be searchable/tagged by both poster and topic, however that would work.  Either way, I think the first step is compiling raw info, which I will do by going thru individual posting histories. 

Thx for all other helpful responses.  Will provide  update when relevant.
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Noah D, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 1097 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
That is the sort of thing the wiki is for here!

interested in doing it on the DhO wiki? That would be great! Let me know,

daniel
Daniel - Sent you a PM regarding this.
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Geoff, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 103 Join Date: 1/2/17 Recent Posts
As a newbie trawling this site for information, it's super difficult to get what I need a lot of the time.  My problem isn't lack of information, it's that I don't know what questions to ask, a lot of the time.  I think more compilation and collection of good stuff would be an amazing addition to the site.
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Rainbow, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 41 Join Date: 6/29/16 Recent Posts
I'm very reluctant to give criticism because this is a fantastic idea and I do not in anyway want to slow the forward momentum. The best posts on this forum are immensely valuable, but they are scattered and difficult to find, especially if you don't know what you're looking for. Making these easier to access is very high reward. You could go 2 routes on this that I can tell.

Make it easier to search out posts

1) The best way of searching for x on the forum right now is - "X site: dharmaoverground.org" However, there's still the problem of sorting through results, and not knowing what you're looking for.

2) You could create some kind of glossary and/or index with links to all the best posts on various topics. No idea how to do this - but I'm sure it's possible and probably not too labour intensive. It'll probably be clumsy though and not highly readable.

3) A better search function. Pretty high effort and low reward. They are very difficult to do well AFAICT. I mention this option only for completeness sake.

Extract and present the information in an alternative format

1) Gather the information contained in the posts and put it into the Wiki. It worries me that this is how this seems to be progressing, because I think this is a sub-optimal. It's better than the current state of affairs, but I think we can do better with the same amount of effort. Does anyone here actually use the Wiki? Anytime I have tried to search for anything there it has ended in frustration. Information is more easily obtained straight from the forum or pulled directly out of the MCTB book. I think the wiki is a brilliant idea but poorly implemented. The fact that the Wiki isn't highly or even lightly trafficked is telling. I'd caution against sinking a whole bunch of effort into a platform that has in my opinion, been shown to fail. I think it's failed because,
 a) This site is an amazing resource, but the user interface for the forum and wiki both are not great. Mobile browsing is awkward, it keeps wanting to change the language of the site, dead links, the style is dated, items are misaligned. These are just bugs things I have experienced, I'm sure there are things that bother others.
 b) The block restricting editing to certain users. I understand the desire to keep the garden well kept, but allowing anyone is one reason why Wikipedia flourished.
 c) A general lack of interest. When was the last time someone made an substantial edit? Community sourced knowledge needs an active, qualified and interested community.

I think there are at least three better alternatives to the Wiki format that require similar amounts of effort.

2) A hypertext book in the style of the meaningness website. This is my favourite option for a number of reasons. You can gathers posts/quotes and organise them by topic. If you just make it a compilation it is pretty low effort (rewriting everything is almost certainly unnecessary). Technology is not my profession though so if it is a lot harder than it looks, please someone point it out. It can function as an index, allowing you to visit any section, but it also has a structure giving some guidance if you don't know what your looking for. You can read it sequentially just like a book if you're not looking for anything in particular. It's online so you can access it anywhere and it's dynamic not static, you can change it as you go. If it's just a compilation, it can be crowd sourced. Lots of cross referencing, just like a wiki, is possible if desired.

3) An eBook like MCTB. I imagine this would also be a compilation of the best posts. Presumably anyone that has read MCTB is already comfortable with that format, so another should go down fine. Has the advantages of index and structure like the above options, may also be technically a little easier to do. A little less user friendly than the hypertext book, but still pretty good. You may even be able to turn a hypertext book into an ebook so you get the best of both worlds - I don't know.

4) A series of blog posts. Very low effort. Could be the way to go if time and/or energy constrained. This might also get some community engagement happening if it's done sequentially on a semi-regular basis, but other than that I think the information will still be somewhat difficult to access. Better than the current state of affairs but not as good as the other options.


Note: I'm just brainstorming here I have no fixed opinion. I highly encourage anyone to tear down/criticise what's here and suggest better alternatives. That's the way we find the best result.
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Noah D, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 1097 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
I like the brainstorm.  I was also thinking of a hyperlinked book/blog style.  I think the most direct thing to do is the wiki for now and with that set of text/links a different project could be created later.  Ultimately Liferay has big limitations but it is a "good-enough" platform for this free online community run by mostly one man who has rigged it out of his house, IIRC.  
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I have tweaked the wiki workflow and eliminated the single approver workflow configuration, which, in simple terms, means that whatever a wiki editor does will be there without anyone else monitoring that.

So, be kind to the wiki! It is a bit more vulnerable now, but also hopefully vastly more usable.

Let me know if you have any issues with it.

Anyone else want to be a wiki author, let me know your ideas for it.

Thanks for offering to help organize this place! One of the reasons we are on Liferay, which, while powerful, has also been an exceedingly complex pain in the posterior parts, is that it had a wiki built into it, so anyone building the wiki makes it feel like some small part of that pain has been worth it.

Yeah!

Daniel
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Noah: see if you see the changes you made to the main page yesterday now.

Let me know if you find any difficulty in editing the pages.

Thanks again,

Daniel
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 3166 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Dear Noah,

Would you try to test edit or creat a wiki page to make sure it works? I have more time to sort these things out in the next few days before my protected time window closes and I am back to the serious overwhelmed grind. Just want to be sure I got your permissions and the workflow settings correct.

Daniel
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Noah D, modified 4 Years ago.

RE: Brainstorming an Organized DhO Archive

Posts: 1097 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
Dear Noah,

Would you try to test edit or creat a wiki page to make sure it works? I have more time to sort these things out in the next few days before my protected time window closes and I am back to the serious overwhelmed grind. Just want to be sure I got your permissions and the workflow settings correct.

Daniel

Hi Daniel,

Sorry about my delay in response.,  I am able to add some links such as :
I was also able to add a 'child page' to the wiki that I titled "Test" which is visible at the bottom of the page.  It appears that I can also edit the text of the currently existent wiki pages.

I'm not sure if I am able to other things, such as change the order of pages, or create new pages within certain sections. 

Thanks for the help!

Breadcrumb