Fedora News on Zikula

Paul W. Frields stickster at gmail.com
Wed Sep 16 13:18:58 UTC 2009

On Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 11:35:25PM -0700, Dale Bewley wrote:
> ----- "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.

Yup, all makes sense.

> 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.

This makes sense too -- LWN.net does something that looks like this
from the outside, although I'm not sure how their internal process

> 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 way LWN does it seems to work very well.  I don't check it every
day, but I usually look at the weeklies to see what I missed by not
doing so.  By giving the users more choices we're doing a better job
getting news out there.  Some people read RSS every day, some people
will read the weekly aggregations.

> 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?

This is where a CMS can excel -- workflow.  It could actually notify
the editor via email (or some other way) when a beat writer simply
checks a box or tags a beat done.

> = 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)

Zikula should include one or more WYSIWYG editors that make life even
easier than the MediaWiki markup.  A contributor could use the same
tools they're used to on Wordpress, Google Docs, forums, and all
around the web.

> 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. :)

Agreed, no one should have to hand code HTML to do this work!

Paul W. Frields                                http://paul.frields.org/
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