Meetup Notes

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Meetup To-Do list and other on-going volunteer work

Wednesday Meetup 9/28/11

At The Mezz (Whole Foods NW Couch/12th). Present: Kotra, Julie, Matthew, Sylvia.


  • 12 month themes for 2012
  • Review of survey results
  • Virtual badges on PW
  • 2012 workshop or "hack-a-thon"
  • Testing extensions on PW
  • Next meetup topics

  • 12 month themes for 2012
- To encourage PW participation and build content, we might consider coming up with 12 themes for 2012.
- Each theme could build on particular topics or pages in PW, including image files that we want to link to.
- Let's start thinking through a list of possibilities for the next mtg.
  • Review of survey results
- We got 25 completed surveys with good feedback.
- Julie is compiling them into an easy to read summary.
- There are several ideas that we may be able to act on soon and others that can help with long-term PW planning.
  • Virtual badges on PW
- Julie will start designs (as .jpg or .gif, <100kb) for virtual badges to give PW content contributors to recognize their work.
- Badges will be something like -- "Top Editor," (weekly and monthly), "Most New Pages Builder," "First Time Contributor." We need more ideas!
- We can probably break down further top contributors, e.g., number of image files contributed, etc.
- Kotra will look into how to give notification of a badge through "gifts."
- People can work toward top positions through their contributions.
- How can we identify categories? Decide parent categories?
- We can also create different types of editors for an editing team, e.g. copy editor, culture editor, music editor, photography editor, etc.

Monday Meetup 9/26/11

At The Mezz (Whole Foods NW Couch/12th). Present: Kotra, Dave, Sophia, Mark, Sylvia.

We discussed meeting today with Canvas Dreams about possible website hosting.

Canvas Dreams Notes

PortlandWiki Meeting with Canvas Dreams


Present: David Anderson; Kotra, Dave, Mark, Sylvia

PortlandWiki (PW) is interested in possibility of Canvas Dreams (CD) hosting the site on CD servers.

About Canvas Dreams: David describes Canvas Dreams as a sustainable business with noble purposes. They offer human support vs, tech support, emphasis on helping customers across many areas of their online support needs. CD is an Oregon-based company, headquarters is in Portland. About 1/2 of their U.S. customers are in the Northwest. Support approx. 6000 domains. Don't do much advertising, most business through referrals.

Their business philosophy rests on 3 'C's: Conservation, Community, and Commerce. They always want to reach back into the community with their work.

PortlandWiki is currently hosted by DreamHost out of Los Angeles. PortlandWiki has existed for about 3 years, has had slow growth and is an entirely volunteer project with no budget; active editors have ranged from 2-15 people. PW has the potential to really take off. Traffic has increased over past several months and we track Alexa rankings on the wiki.

We are looking for local, sustainable hosting. We are also following up on CD's hosting offer that was left on PW itself.

What may be available through Canvas Dreams
  • Have VPS and shared servers.
  • Shared environment: no over sell, allows space for future growth of sites. Servers are very expensive capital but CD has been in the resources to be prepared for future needs.
  • David suggests the shared plan as he says it gives better performance and environment; is a problem in an oversell situation but isn't a problem that CD has.
  • There is no root access but PW can get jailed cell access; VPS root/cPanel memory intensive.
  • VPS: is a slice of cheese of a big block so only get a slice of possible performance.
  • CD hosts some wikis -- cPanel, lap stack.
  • Shared plan costs $7.50/mo, includes, 3g storage, 60g/mo bandwidth. They may be able to host free or offer non-profit discount.
PortlandWiki needs
  • Recently bumped up to 600mb (?) allotment thru DreamHost but looking for a partner to host.
  • Need access to bibli-shelf and configure-modifications to make site more available or less resource intensive.
  • We don't have a budget so hoping for a trade, in-kind support, i.e. advertisement on PW site for CD hosting.
  • We'd need access to PHP-INI, it's important and where most PW problems have occurred.
  • VPS works for us. Found that we quickly outgrew shared option in past, it was less and less available. Wikis aren't notoriously efficient. Wikimedia continually tunes up back end because of this.

Canvas Dreams can offer today a subdomain to try it out.

CD is a community-oriented experience, supports community programs. Staff have been trying to determine best way to approach this and to support customers.

With blogs like Wordpress, they've found that since add-ons and extensions in the repository don't get vetted, they often contain exploits and bad code that can bring the server to a crawl; accounts get suspended, VPS would prevent this.

CD needs to know from PW: VPS -- dedicated resources and RAM needs. They have a great open source platform. VPS is clustered: 1 processing, 1 stored. All VPS work is in this space. Can add nodes.

Downsides: VPS backup space not auto-included. Normally would cost $11/mo. CPanel requires 512mg RAM, not offered on VPS1; VPS3 is $71/mo. With this no one will access our space and there is rarely an issue with this.

PW would need to pay license, and install PHP, mySQL.

We could set up a dev account. Maybe cPanel does things faster, not sure.

Perfect degredation (has seen) on VPS -- fraction of the performance. Can query mySQL processes.

Try to adhere to server use plans CD already has. Having privacy, security and root -- seems PW is more of a candidate for VPS route. Each CD plan has resource limits. With shared plan we'll get notifications that we can review.

Shared: performance and economy best option. Within shared: cPanel (easy patching, makes available all patches available -- some not permitted.) Is PARE in shared environment? Not sure if is switched on at CD.

PW: Is a Civic wiki; most wikis hosted out of someone's home and libraries. This may be first community wiki-business alliance.

Even with highest plan, likely CD could work out something with us. Would like to see what we could do with this.

PW is still determining where it's going: new interface, slick it up; easier use, read, edit. In time, expect it to be an indispensable resource in PDX -- topics, direct actions, nitty gritty in local communities; great info we don't always expect. PW is a stitching together of resources in the community, especially for local searches and information.

Youth may also love a new place besides Facebook to get involved with but wikis needs to be easier to use and more engaging.

How can Canvas Dreams also benefit thru this agreement?

CD has been unable to get over how to do advances on direct community outreach, connect customers to each other, help support one another during hard times. PW could become the definitive place for this: could help CD achieve its goals on getting in touch with community and connect. Hoping to highlight organizations and clients in monthly newsletter. PW feels like a virtual organization in line with CD values.

In return, PW would offer CD advertising on each PW page and we could write an article about CD. Sounds like we both can benefit.

CD needs to know current resources on PW: space, monthly bandwidth, traffic, average sessions/visitors per day to help gauge need.

Dave will follow up with these requests. Mark is posting current specs at PortlandWiki:Hosting

Mark and Kotra think the search engine rankings would be better one we cleaned up the 301 redirect problems with diffs and history.

WikiWednesday Meetup 8/25/11

PW meeting notes 8/25/11

Present: Dave, Sophia, Kotra, Matthew, Julie, Mark, Sylvia


A. Review ideas for portland wiki interface, layout
B. Ideas for new PW skin
C. PW survey update
D. Recent Changes
A. Review ideas for Portland Wiki interface, layout

Sophia brought in some sample drawings for new skins on PW. They're really creative and fun. Her goal is to help draw more youth to the site. Mark says Aaron builds wiki skins.

Some of the design proposal elements include:

(a) Idea: jokey teacher lady for search box--an instruction person, link boxes on left hand side that link to global community, our blog, large photo box in center of page

center blocks structured similar to a newspaper with similar structure, maybe in news font with headline PortlandWiki Times.

(b) on center top: a lg search bar
(c) right menu with starburst bubbles where people can make links to their own events and takes you to events page to also see what others have posted. Could look like a tourist brochure with like, concert info. Use a little "post" button.
(d) make stumpy with an axe guy (oh shit!). Also need a suggestions box, plus an area where people can make comments on pages.
feedback --
  • it's simple, not filled with a hundred words. just welcome, portland wiki, search
  • we could have a carousel with links to articles that are cool. perhaps also have ways for interactive events like calligator links in; actual events aren't obvious now
  • would be good to have events that are usually put on facebook if there was another way where you could invite to anyone not just certain friends.
  • Inside pages need more art, pictures, visually attractive. less like wikipedia. idea of still staying as a wiki is good. youth she knows usually don't edit pages just search but for PW they could add info so make more attractive and easier to use.
  • events page should have more color. Keywords could be a different color. It can't be "old" looking. Pages to be kind of decorated or have themes.
  • make events page look like an album color. The site will also always suffer with photos until we can come up with an easier way to post them But typography could probably be done.
  • whole idea to make it look like the site is alive.
  • we're sort of back to square one. we could go out and ask for money to do this full time.
What can we do now?

Mark: will contact Aaron to ask if he might be interested in creating a PW

Matthew: maybe have some kind of design contest.

Dave and Kotra: we can do stuff now like colors. changing layou of indiv articles is possible now and introducing elements into articles or pages. The front page could have some flexibility but some elements are more difficult than others. For color changes we'd have to change css.

Matthew: suggests we change the background color from gray to something else. We've have to change around vector.

Kotra: background is gradation and everything else is text.

B. Ideas for new PW skin

Matthew has test design that would change pages: moving edit button, help make look more cool looking. right now best we can do is add a photo but it's a pain so instead maybe set up a skin with different fonts, colors, and so PW doesn't feel like wikipedia. have different main categories and within them the color and background of pages look different, maybe sepia. skins are a pain to make but if we could just figure a way to get a skin wired to what we like it'll endure.

kotra: or lg high quality photo in background.

mark: the my space-ation of pw

matthew: piki is a test skin that we can use in our settings from vector. next week he'll sketch out his ideas on how we can take some of sphia's ideas and incorporate what he's already working on.

currently you can change your own skin under my preferences--appearance and then preview different skins. if we create a new PW skin, the administrator can create a default skin for everyone.

Cool wiki examples

mark: we should get on wikimedia developers list to see what people are working opn and struggles they have. mediawiki is designed for wikipedia but they're the most downloaded and have that push and pull with what people want.

matthew: just because it's a wiki doesn't mean it can't rock. doesn't have to be stuffy or ritualistic.

kotra; there are some wiki's out there that are really nice but they're commercially produced, e.g tiddlywiki.

matthew: also addictionary. see competitive assessment he put together about cool wiki sites: example, wetpaint--cool wiki that's fun to look at but it's a closed wiki to editing only by some. wikihow is well done. community page is genius. applets with status of the site with things we need. they have leader boards, great articles, fun stuff to do and things you can jump right into doing. it's super customized.

if we were to go after home, community and current events page and make those interesting, that could help.

mark: jack herrick has done a great example with this, outstanding wiki. he's also pretty cool about sharing tech, if we ask him.

Mark: spoke with their editor and they said it doesn't make them money to have people editing the wiki, only for editors to do that.

mark: pmwiki

sylvia: maybe we get a list of cool wikis and look at them and see what elements we like and could be possible.

dave: we could look at new platforms. mediawiki is totally tested and has huge user and developer base. challenge is there's a culture that we only care about wikipedia--the brilliance of 2002.

kotra: we should at least reach for a new bar to reach. will be around for yrs and yrs

mark: but people also like wikipedia because it's stable and has been there for 10 yrs.

dave: people who grew up on facebook and twitter and know wikipedia only as an information base, don't know how to use wikis.

dave: keep an eye on recent changes because we're getting spam--if there's a huge rash of it, he'll shut down and make it so no anonymous editing for a while.

C. PW survey update

we only have 3 responses, let's get out the word!

kotra is sending personal emails to all login users. mark didn't finish sending to bloggers; sylvia will help

julie: even though deadline is next wed suggest we could go a little longer 1-2 weeks. We'll each do more outreach for survey. sylvia will send invites to pw and ww email groups.

D. Recent Changes

matthew hacked something to start taking out things a new person doesn't need to know, e.g. diffs, time. you could go thru a period of cascading skins. you get simplistic skins and admins or others who want can see everything.

kotra: have button with full expand. dave: maybe have little avatars there.

WikiWednesday Meetup 8/17/11

At The Mezz (Whole Foods NW Couch/12th). In attendance: Kotra, Julie, Mark, Sylvia. Note taker: Sylvia

Informal Discussion Agenda:

  • PortlandWiki survey
a) Sylvia posted a link to the survey on the PW homepage, along with additional info on the survey page for visitors.
b) Mark created a link to help us track survey traffic.
c) Sylvia sent out invite links to the survey on PortlandWiki's Twitter, Facebook page, and blog.
d) Julie says only one survey has been completed since the announcements went out on Monday.
e) We all will send out invites to people we know. Sylvia is hoping for a goal of 50 completed surveys.
f) Kotra is sending individual invites to all PortlandWiki account holders (approx 90).
g) Mark is sending invites to local bloggers.
  • Captcha
a) Kotra spoke with Dave about the tough captcha questions which we learned we were done intentionally as Dave tests different security options for PW.
b) Kotra has written some new questions and will follow up again with Dave.

During the work portion of the meeting, we edited various pages on PW and worked on admin system problems.

WikiWednesday Meetup 8/10/11

At The Mezz (Whole Foods NW Couch/12th). In attendance: Kotra, Julie, Mark, Sylvia. Note taker: Sylvia

Informal Agenda:

  • PortlandWiki survey draft
a) We reviewed the draft Julie created and we all made editing suggestions. At the end of the meeting, Julie posted a link to the Survey. Please help enhance the page.
b) Kotra and Sylvia will invite all PortlandWiki participants with a login account to complete the survey.
c) Mark will send out an invitation on PortlandWiki Twitter and the PortlandWiki weblog.
d) Julie will send an email invite to the PW email list and invite them to participate in this second survey.
e) We need volunteers to post the survey invite on the PW homepage and on the PortlandWiki Facebook page.
f) All PW social networking account posts should include an ask to forward/share the survey invite to other networks.
g) After the survey is sent out, Kotra will post the results from the pre-test survey (sent to members of the PW email list) on the PW so as to not bias the public survey.
  • Generating revenue through PortlandWiki
a) The question of whether or not to raise revenue through PW has been brought up in previous meetings.
b) It seems there are some systems needs (e.g., extensions help, MediaWiki expertise) that can't be met solely through current volunteers. Having funds available for volunteer support of in-depth work or small contracting projects could help us better develop the site.
c) We pondered placing a question on the survey to get suggestions on how PW could raise funds. We opted instead to discuss this at a future Saturday session so that the issue/context can be discussed with others in person.
  • PortlandWiki statistics
a) Mark and Kotra reviewed the PW stats. The numbers look pretty good so far in our ranking and page views.
b) They raised concerns that it looks like our pages are being quadruple indexed and, thus, need to be redirected. They agree the pages should redirect to (without the www).
  • Domain names
a) Mark will buy a couple of domains related to WikiWednesday that recently became available so that we can use/redirect them for our work.
  • Captcha questions
a) Kotra tells us that Dave has been testing out questions in place of the standard captcha math (for persons not logged in to the site) since spammers have broken it.
b) At the end of the meeting (when Julie tried to post the survey on the wiki) we humorously discovered that we couldn't answer several of the questions. They were a bit confusing.
c) It was suggested that we each send Dave a few question and answer ideas to help protect the site.
d) Kotra will check with Dave about the questions.
Hey All: Sorry about the confusing captcha questions. In all honesty, questions like "Who will grab your junk if you want to fly the friendly skies from your bleak airport to beautiful Portland, Oregon? (Answer: "Cop Au Feele") were not meant to be taken seriously. These are just joke questions that (hopefully) nobody with a PortlandWiki account is being confronted with. Unfortunately we are apparently no closer to figuring out a solution for allowing anonymous editing without running the risk of getting overloaded by vandalism, despite serious effort directed at this issue. --WikiMaster (talk) 20:38, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
  • Next meeting suggestions
a) Review survey participation numbers and get volunteers to help with follow-up communication to encourage response.
b) Suggest use of PortlandWiki calendar to schedule/sign-up for areas of needed volunteer work.
c) Other ideas?

WikiWednesday Meetup 8/3/11

At The Mezz (Whole Foods NW Couch/12th). In attendance: Matthew, Julie, Mark, Sylvia. Note taker: Sylvia

Informal Agenda:

  • PortlandWiki features
a) Matthew and Mark discussed creating templates for people on venue pages.
b) Mark and Matthew looked at different extensions to possibly pull in javascript.
c) Mark and Matthew talked about Matthew's vision for content curation on at least the main page.
  • Survey update
a) Julie and Sylvia reviewed the responses from the PW survey sent out to persons on the PW email list.
b) Julie and Sylvia began work on a follow up survey by focusing on themes and overlapping concerns to gain additional and specific feedback from other contributors and readers.
c) Julie will send out a draft of the new survey in the next couple of days.
d) Sylvia will begin prepping for the distribution of the follow-up survey to all persons who created a login account on PW, plus invitations through PW's social media accounts.
  • PortlandWiki outreach
a) Dave reported via email that he attended a meet up for the Portland Young Workers, part of a campaign called Young Emerging Labor Leaders (YELL), organized by Working America. They seemed pretty receptive to the idea of improving their use of social media and other web-based technology. It may be possible that we can introduce wiki in general, PortlandWiki in particular, and the idea of how beneficial tools like wiki can be for organizing.
b) Dave will focus on outreach work for the next few weeks.
  • For the next PW meet-up
a) Review status of the follow up survey
b) Suggestions?

WikiWednesday Meetup 7/27/11

At The Mezz (Whole Foods NW Couch/12th). In attendance: Matthew, Julie, Mark, Sylvia. Note taker: Sylvia

Informal Agenda:

  • Review preliminary results from PortlandWiki (PW) survey.
a) As of last night we received 6 responses, plus 2 more today.
b) We discussed some of the overlapping concerns and themes.
c) Thanks to Julie for pulling this together!
d) Julie and Sylvia will follow up with Kotra to plan sending it out to more people to increase participation and gain additional feedback about PortlandWiki.
  • PortlandWiki front page
a) Matthew is still trying to figure out how a skin could be done to create a friendlier and more modern look. Mark reviewed a couple of skins on other mediawiki sites.
b) Matthew and Kotra are working to create a bolder search bar.
c) In addition, Matthew will try to determine how to move the css from the bottom to the top of the page to recognize who worked on a page.
  • Community Leadership Summit and PW
a) Matthew and Mark discussed their experiences at the CLS the past weekend.
b) Matthew held two sessions on PortlandWiki and received good questions and feedback. He'll put his summit feedback on the wiki soon.
  • Creating structure for future meet ups
a) A few folks have suggested we create more structure for these meetings that will allow for open discussion, focused planning and decision-making, and collaborative online work.
b) Among the suggestions: keep Wed meet ups to 1 hr for discussion then begin to determine collaborative work: red link pages; pages needing more content (put out calls?)
c) Each week a volunteer will take notes, send them to the email list and post them on PW.
d) Sylvia suggested we also consider drafting simple meeting agendas.
e) Julie suggested that we write 3 topics on wiki that we want to talk about at the next mtg.
  • Other suggestions
a) Mark suggested we have a PW flyer to put out at events; maybe print more stickers, smaller ones.
b) Matthew and Mark discussed getting two-sided PW business cards (Vistaprint?), perhaps one side with the PW website then space to write in the name of a page when we discuss the site with someone.
c) Julie reminded us that we still need to create badges for PW to acknowledge the work of contributors.
d) Matthew suggested we consider getting durable, acrylic press badges.
  • For the next meet-up
a) Review the additional survey results and determine next steps, i.e., content analysis, ranking of most frequent results, follow up survey to narrow down PW priorities.
b) Mark and Matthew will report back on their attendance at OSCON as reps of PW.