How to Contribute to This Site
Information about uploading photos, posting to blogs, and managing events.
In order to upload photos, post to blogs, or manage events, you need to have special Superpowers that permit you to do these actions. We will only assign these powers to particular people who need them. (Note that anyone who signs up and logs in can post comments; what we’re discussing here are higher level editorial activities.)
*If you want to contribute photos and blog here but cannot now, let us know that you are interested. We’ll discuss this with you further.
You will know that you have permission to do something when you see links in the pages that tell you that you can do that something. If you don’t see a link, you can’t do it. (If you don’t see a link but try to hack forms or guess query strings, well, we have other ways of dealing with this, and you’re not the type of person we want here.)
So here’s how you do stuff. First step: make certain that you are in the right area of this web site for what you want to do. If you want to upload photos, post to blogs, or manage events for a particular site, then go to that site’s central area first—make certain that you see that site’s name in the top banner area. If you are in the web site’s common area, then what you contribute will only show there (obviously). Now on to specific activities.
Click on the “Upload a New Photo” link you see at the bottom of the latest photo thumbnails you see in the right hand side of the page. This will take you to a form where you specify a title, a description, and a file selector widget to locate the image file on your hard drive. Click the Upload button and the system will take your image file, create a thumbnail, and move you to a form where you can add tags or optionally revise the title and description. That’s all there is to it.
To edit the title, description, or tags, or to delete the photo, click a thumbnail which will take you to the main display page for the photo. Under the photo you’ll see an “Edit” link, which will take you to the edit form you saw when you first uploaded the image.
The system will automatically resize the images to fit our pages here. Specifically, it will resize to a maximum height or width (depending on the orientation of the image) of 525 pixels. If your image is smaller than that, the system will enlarge it; if larger, it will shrink it. The former will most likely look ugly, while the latter will be fine. Hence, it’s best to use good quality images that are larger than 525 pixels; 640×480 is a good choice. And if possible you should save the images in as small a size as you can for now — because of some current bandwidth limitations. Until we’ve moved the site onto a more robust hosting situation, large image files will come down relatively slower than we like. This is not a function of the site; it is a function of our current connection. Still, fewer packets are better than more packets.
Posting to Blogs
Click on the “Post a New Blog Entry” link you see at the bottom of the Blog Posts section in the middle of your site’s page. (Note: only some of us can publish on the main home page, so the rest of you will be blogging about specific sites.)
This will take you to a form where you can edit the title and body of your post. You can use Textile, a special, simply formatting system by which you can add text styles and other features like lists without knowing or using HTML. There is a handy cheat sheet of instructions just below this form so you can learn only as much as you need for your purposes.
In particular, there are certain formats for embedding links and images; you need to use those formats. Furthermore, to embed an image in your post, you need to have already uploaded that image into the photos area. Once you have uploaded the photo, go to that photo’s main display page (by clicking on its thumbnail) and notice the line “To use in a page, paste this:” line below the photo. Copy and paste that string of info that you’ll see there into your blog post, and the system will add the photo when it displays your post. It works best to have two browser tabs open to do this—one with your post, and the other with the photo collection.
You can preview your post by clicking the “Preview” button below the editing area. This will put your creation in an area just below the “Preview” button.
Note also that this system automagically tracks versions of your entry, so you can continue to edit it or revert to an earlier version. There is a popup widget at the top of the edit form that defaults to the latest version, but lets you select an earlier one. If you do that and then edit it some more and save it, then this will become the latest version which will then display.
To add a new event, click the “Post a New Event” link you see at the bottom of the list of Events in the left column of your site’s page. This opens a form that is pre-populated by a bunch of default information that is configurable for each site. You can edit the name of the event, the description, the date, time, and duration, and the meeting point location. The description can be written using Textile; see the discussion above for more about that. It’s best to use short titles for the event including (probably limited to) the site name — so as not to clog up the Events calendar.
Note that each new Event defaults to the next scheduled date for that particular site given the events already in the system. Pretty nifty.
If you need to create a new Location for some reason, you can do so by clicking on the “Add New Location” link from the locations list. This opens a form where you specify a name, a description (where you should provide some cross-street info or directions), plus a clickable embedded Google map that you can move around in, zoom in and out, and eventually click to place a marker. This stores the location of the Location so that when users view the Location, our system can ask Google for that map with the marker in place.
Once an Event is created and on the schedule, you can create and send out email notifications (aka newsletters) to those people who have signed up for them. Click the “Send New Email” link to open a form that is pre-populated with configurable defaults for the given site. Edit the subject and message areas with whatever you want to say, then save the email. Until you click the “Send Email” link you can re-edit the subject and message, but obviously once you’ve sent it, then you can only review it.
Our system automatically adds stuff to this email: the location, date and time, plus links to allow the email recipient to easily RSVP “Yes”, “Maybe”, or “No” by clicking in the email. If you’re posting the event, then you’re likely interested in how many people are going to show up; you will see this information — along with the skill levels of the responding people — when you go to the main display area for your Event.
Once you save the email “newsletter”, you can review and edit it because sending the email is a second step. This may seem like an unnecessary measure, but it’s really not. This gives you a chance to make each move by itself, and you should think through each because you’re about to communicate to a lot of people all at once. Within each event’s page, you’ll see the list of emails you’ve created about that event along with the status of that email. If you haven’t yet sent it, you’ll see a “Send” link. Click it, and the system will send your email announcement once you confirm a final time that you want it to do so.
This may sound somewhat complicated, and indeed there are more than a few moving parts, but it will all be fairly obvious once you’ve done it a time or two.
Most things in the site can catch comments from logged-in users. If you’ve posted a photo or blog entry or a page and someone adds a comment about your contribution, the system will automagically send you an email notice that you’ve received a comment. This email includes a link to the commented-on thing so it’s easy for you to see what people are saying to/about you. We expect that the volume of comments will be low; if it becomes greater we may add a user configuration by which you can turn off such comment notifications.
If you’ve read this far and have no idea what we’re talking about because you’ve never seen any of these links, then you don’t have the Superpowers for any of this to need to make sense. If you think that you should have them, you should email us.
Created: 01 February 2008 - 14:24
Last updated: 26 April 2008 - 17:13
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