Starting to plan out the Occupy the Neighborhood Website

I got some more information from the people organising this and I think I can start in on some of the programming before the first meeting with them on the 10th.  I'm excited about the project, keep reading to find out why.

Portions of this post restricted to people in the 'lovers' group.

Osha is the guy from the Occupy movement that's programming the occupymn.org website, he let me know what's going on with the website.  I guess there is a meeting about the movement happening on the 10th, the people organising it aren't the ones that Osha was originally coordinating with.  But they still don't have a website.  This is basically what they want:

Essentially, we would need a main page with a feed of news from any neighborhood occupations and links to resources that could help people launch their own campaigns... and then pages or subsites for neighborhood specific information. I'll trust your expertise with concrete 5 on how to develop such things.

A few months ago Chad Cantrell came to me with an interesting project.  Take his Problog and turn it into something called "User Blogs" - so that it was front end accessible to add and edit blog posts.  Any registered user can go to an 'add blog post' page after logging in and they will have a "user blog" created.  Then they can post up to their own blog, or choose if the post should be shared with a particular category, or if a post should be shared with all blog readers.  It's pretty slick.

Anyway, I've been working on improving this for a local cycling related non profit but I'm not that close to done with it, on that project I'm also trying to import and convert a large portion of Wordpress posts and I'm not entirely sure that I can get it all done to my liking.  I haven't really had much time to work on it, but this puts it back to the forefront.  I think most of the stuff for posting and listing is pretty solid though, it would just take some automating of making the neighborhood pages, or maybe making up a how-to on how to add the neighborhood pages and training a few key people that can do it, maybe with a form that people could fill out with details about the neighborhood movement.

I wonder at how much editing control I should give people on the pages.  The user blogs thing is pretty much set up so that you edit using the form and all you can do is two text blocks on the page - one for preview text and one for the rest of the story.  I think that's probably enough with the type of content that people want to post.  I could go a little more complicated and try to incorporate a calendar aspect as well, so you'd set 'include in calendar' and it would add it to the calendar.  I was trying to figure out how to do that for unique pages and I think I can do it.  I need to script the creation of a calendar using Scott C's item's calendar that shows all posts from under the Neighborhood Page, then instead of just having the page be 'shared with' a certain page it would also be aliased under the page.  This might be a better way to go about it, put in a page selector icon or maybe copy the code from Composer when you are selecting for pages of a certain type, that would probably be better.

I could also go a different way as far as editing and give people the rich full concrete 5 interface for editing pages but I fear that this may be too complicated for your average user.  The idea here is that there should be a platform that makes it very easy for anyone to come to the site and publish up a blog post into any one of several different neighborhood pages.  I'm thinking that I should keep it as simple as possible, not only so that it's easier to get people to post stuff but so that there's less stuff to break.  It's also less time to getting it done and up and functioning.

So I'm thinking 4 or 5 page types, a Neighborhood Page that shows blog posts for a neighborhood and has information about when/where to meet, what's going on in the neighborhood, etc.  It might be possible or desirable to add a forum here as well, or maybe blog posts will be enough for people to have input onto the site.  A calendar would be a good idea but like I said I'm less sure on how to incorporate data and editing on the calendar, if it should be made up of blog posts or if it should be a stand-alone calendar that only admins can edit.  I also wonder if there should be an admin for each of the neighborhood pages, or how they're going to handle that.  Then a content page type with a sidebar navigation for instructional pages about how to set up your own neighborhood group, and for any form pages that are needed.  Then a user blog list page and a user blog post page.  Probably bringing in the profile pages from bikedate.mn.

I'm also wondering how to incorporate the rapid ajax filtering - it would be nice if I could figure that out too.

It's also possible that I could roll out stuff feature by feature - start off with mostly blog posts, then start adding in stuff like the calendars and forums and event rsvp and stuff like that later.  It all depends on what they want, too.  I don't know exactly what the vision of the group is going to be.  I hope that it will jive well with what the group wants, I think a blogging platform that is open to everyone to easily create posts fits with the ideals of the occupy movement where everyone has an equal voice.  I think it will be a pretty nice experiment in self-publishing.

I've always thought that self-publishing is truly the greatest thing that we have as people these days.  There are many different ways to do it but I think concrete 5 is one of the best ways for the average person to have an easy to update site.  With a little extra work it gets even easier with something like the user blogs platform.  I'd like to see the code re-used in different cities around the country, too, not really sure how to go about that though.  Chad hasn't released the add on anywhere yet so it can't be licensed to other cities.  The code I have is quite a bit different than what I supplied to him, too.

I'll have to figure out what to do for a theme, too.  I think I can find something basic on themeforest.net, or maybe just come up with something myself.  I think I'd feel better about a theme forest theme.  I'm OK with buying one if I can find one that looks like it will work nicely.

Anyway, something to work on over the weekend.

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