Fedora News on Zikula

Dale Bewley dlbewley at lib.ucdavis.edu
Wed Sep 16 06:35:25 UTC 2009

----- "Paul W. Frields" <stickster at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 10:28:23AM -0400, Mel Chua wrote:
> > Thanks for asking, Dale.
> >
> > On 09/10/2009 06:19 PM, Dale Bewley wrote:
> >> After reading https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Fedora_Insight
> >> I wanted to login and see what Zikula looks like and how it would
> >> actually be used.
> >
> > The Fedora Insight (FI) workflow is being hacked on in Marketing, so
> > I've copied the Marketing list - actually, you have impeccable
> timing.  
> > Robyn Bergeron has gone through and made a basic workflow (and her
> work  
> > was the initial driver that made sure a lot of basic functionality
> in  
> > Zikula was put in), but it's time to figure out the actual workflow
> for  
> > News, so I was literally *just* about to ask the News list about
> this.
> >
> >> I created an account and logged in, but do I need to have my
> account
> >> authorized by someone? I don't see how to create a test post.
> >
> > It looks like all new accounts are being made administrators by
> default  
> > on the test instance, so you can go to  
> >
> https://publictest6.fedoraproject.org/zikula/index.php?module=News&type=admin
> > to create new articles. This obviously needs to not be the case for
> the  
> > live instance. ;) So we need someone from News to figure out the  
> > workflow you would like.
> >
> >> I realize it's early, but it seems like a pretty flat hierarchy.
> I'm
> >> having trouble picturing how "FWN" would be carved out.
> >
> > The answer is "we don't know, and we were actually just about to ask
> you."
> >
> > Dale, would you or anyone from News be willing to tackle  
> > https://fedorahosted.org/marketing-team/ticket/32? It shouldn't be
> that  
> > hard, and the best way to carve out FWN so that the News team likes
> it  
> > is to have the News team carve it out. ;)
> It's much easier than it seems to "carve out" space for any topical
> area in a CMS.  The flatness essentially means things can be
> organized
> or reorganized at will very easily.  That sounds kind of hazy and
> conceptual, but it's pretty simple to have URLs and navigation on the
> site work to support something like:
> http://insight.fedoraproject.org/weekly-news
> http://insight.fedoraproject.org/podcasts
> ...

I'll admit to being somewhat curmudgeonly on the whole CMS idea, but I am doing my best to put that aside and give it a fair shake. :) I can see benefits, but wonder what barriers to entry it might create.

I went back and read up on the fedora-news discussion of what was referred to as Fedora Journal and Project FooBar before being named Fedora Insight.

Most of the conversation took place in July
* http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-news-list/2009-July/thread.html

Here are my repeatedly edited thoughts which may or may not make sense by this point.

= How might it work? =

FWN has typically served to provide a roundup of the developments in Fedora over the previous week, comprised of several "Beats" http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FWN/Beats which cover mailing list(s) etc for a topic. I can imagine a mapping of Categories in Zikula to a set of "Beats" or Topics. Presumably each Category produces its own RSS feed. Users could ignore FWN and subscribe to just a single beat.

Each Category may not have or need a beat writer, but if the concept of FWN is to continue there would have to be a means for a writer to adopt a Category and feel responsible for monitoring it. The beat writer or others could contribute stories  at any point during the week. Once a week a beat writer could post a roundup of their beat including the usual sources, plus any postings made to the Fedora Insight category during the week.

A FWN editor could then gather these beat roundups into a larger roundup called FWN (or something else) for publishing with a ToC and a summary abstract. That post would go in the FWN category, and the RSS feed from that would become FWN.

That whole concept could also possibly go out the window, but that seems a shame. It seems to me there is value in a regularly scheduled newsletter. Otherwise, isn't it just a forum or a blog? If developers and others post enough news, maybe there won't be much need for a beat writer, or maybe the writer will feel discouraged that way.

The creation of categories  is something to work out. They seem to be flat and would span the CMS. The mechanics of assigning beat writers is something to ponder. Also a means to notify an editor that a category round up is complete would need to be pondered. Tags? Same old wiki page?

= Ease of adoption =

Putting my curmudgeon hat back on... Posting content is going to be very inconvenient without the leverage of wiki markup. Constructing links to list postings, wiki content, other news items will be much more painful. Perhaps there are Zikula plugins to recreate some functionality like the <ref></ref> <references /> in mediawiki. Such plugins would require explanation to new beat writers. I reckon way more newcomers will be familiar with Mediawiki.

It seems to me this could make it harder to attract beat writers. Maybe that's only a personal bias. Maybe more time poking Zikula will yield more optimism, but it's time spent poking. (I'll continue to poke some more)

Besides all the logistics, this is the biggest problem to me as a beat writer. I am loathe to hand code HTML. Beat writers burn out all the time. The more painful it is, the quicker the burnout. Life's hard though. :)

It's getting late. I hope that was somewhat useful.
Dale Bewley - Unix Administrator - Shields Library - UC Davis
GPG: 0xB098A0F3 0D5A 9AEB 43F4 F84C 7EFD  1753 064D 2583 B098 A0F3

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