GPUS IT people and IT people in all the US States who get to this site page:
Preface: THE PLAN OUTLINED BELOW IS 100% OPEN TO CHANGES IF/WHEN YOU OTHER WEB-SPURTS (experts, aka web-spirts, who are usually males) PROVIDE THEM and especially if there is consensus on them. The following networked WP sites I’ve set up are Test Sites Only. They allow, in effect, “proof of concept” experiments of the better and best ways of using networked WP sites in the 2015-2016 election cycle. Such efforts also find and set aside the worst ways to use networked WP sites well before those bad ideas are suffered upon the non-technical GP membership at large.
ALSO PLEASE REMEMBER: I, JGW,I am currently the only IT type person who is available 1/2 to full time EVERY DAY to work on GPCA IT projects and on this networked site for the GPUS ! I have a LOT of experience in the business, more than any of you; not as current as many of you, but all of it “transferable” to web site building.
Account registration instructions to have accounts on gpca-wp follow “The Plan” remarks.
The PLAN version 1.0b1:
How this Test Web Site Can Help the GPUS and all State GPs create better web sites.
The test site I setup the week ending Friday 3/27, sevawebsites.org/gpca-wp, now has all 59 California county sites setup as part of that WP network of sites — including a test GPCA state-wide site as well. Each site in the network is somewhat open to new account registrations, but at first of some IT people only. Se the registration instructions further below for details.
The gpca-wp networked WP test site offers the following benefits to the GPCA IT and then membership-at-large for the short and longer runs (which are the next few months to the next 5 quarters of years 2015-16):
- (a) counties with stand-alone sites now can transfer (use wp-export and wp-import plugins) to transfer SOME (not all) live WP site content to their networked WP test site.
- (b) County site content developer and content development managers can explore what are the better and best ways to use the networked site to develop, revise and finalize content for their existing and any future LIVE WP site. Of course content made for a WP site can be exported and imported to Joomla! and/or Drupal sites as well, if or when those become a viable option in our future.
- (c) More importantly for each county’s GP organization (even if this be just one person) they can accumulate and “tag” (mark in the user profile database information fields available on gpca-wp).
- (c.i) This means they and just a few other greens they know in the county can register or invite them to register as users on their county test site. This grows their list of more real registered Greens in their county. Eventually it should be almost equal in names, emails and other contact information to what the California Secretary of State (SoS) provides (on CD, DVD or via Nation Builder voter information) to requesting non-commercial entities like our Green Party. Plus the networked WP site will have a lot more “user profile” information that the SoS can provide us.
- (c.ii) They or those other greens now having accounts log in, invite more identify and record their personal preferences (i.e. their extended WP user profile information already in-development for the network of WP sites) that show their similarities with and attributes which differentiate them as both greens and progressives from those of non-Green progressives. Yes, we don’t know yet what are the most “telling” attributes of non-green-progressives. But we can’t begin to do that research until we know WHO WE ARE. Likely if and when “we” expand that research it will be by studying what demographic data is kept in “big data” database by Big Data data providers, who about all county and state-wide residents; the studying of what they have and how much they have should be free. Even if the GPCA manages to have just a lot of “who we are” demographics come early 2016, we can still begin to identify who are our “most likely” but still not registered-green voters !!! How important is that to winning more elections?
- (c.iii) This process (c.i & c.ii) is naturally an on-going process and one that can be better refined if semi-automated on, for now, a networked WP site for that state and/or county and/or city. IMHO This process MUST be tested and refined as soon as possible if we are to win state seats and even some Congressional seats in 2016! Tested and refined “properly” before more test site users “get in too deep” and nasty problems are discovered that could have been removed earlier.
- (c.iv) Test-use & Refine Working In Groups Online using gpca-wp: Meanwhile a few eager members in CA counties (and any future cities in counties) can begin now to tentatively explore on the gpca-wp test site the usefulness of having committees and working groups of various types that represent how their county GP is running now or how they want their GP to run in the near future (i.e. they can help identify, test and refine organizational people + web-site process issues that occur w/in their organization).
(c.iv-a) These groups of site users get to practice developing their own content solo or in small number collectively, developing draft documents, making WP group blog posts, comment on blog posting and pages in-development, doing so to their liking and to the extent they have to do so on the WP network.
- (c.iv-b) Those group members also get to explore and discover — and hopefully document — their better and best uses of intra- and inter-group content development.
- (c.iv-c) Those group members get to explore, discover and document best uses of intra-group and inter-group private text chatting online; clearly a very useful feature for Greens often so geographically separated from each other even in counties.
- (d) Two or more counties (perhaps with similar demographics of their GP members and of their county’s economic and social attributes and political challenges) can…
- (d.i) form inter-county groups and…
- (d.ii) create and share party registration campaign ideas in shared document they draft and in live (recorded) text chat sessions between members of the inter-party group.
- (d.iii) The individual counties or 1+ inter-county group and the state-wide site’s groups can also work on (d.i) and (d.ii) issues — just to explore the options and to discover and document what works best for them for the time being.
Plan Conclusions: IMHO “We’ of IT MUST get some less technical users using 1+ test sites if only to discover “user experience” and “content development and management” issues for which GPCA web sites must provide better “ease of use” in the near future. With the exceptional Buddypress plugin and the BP “suite” of extra plugins installed on gpca-wp now, the collection of plugins extend BP features. They “empower” on a WP web site an organization’s committees and working groups with a geographically distant membership, to be better informed about what is going on and what is planned to be done, and to develop better ways on-a-web-site and by other communications methods to be more productive and be more efficient and effective in their work to grow their Green Party and Get Out The Votes when they need to do so. BP plugins on a WP site allow those willing to be test-users of the BP features to discover and refine those means on the test web site first. With the features and processed reasonble well refined and reasonable free of such test sites are ready be release-candidate or live sites foisted upon the o/w hapless less trained or experienced “party membership at large”. IMO That sort of testing and preparations to be able to “scale up” operations with the help of more robust and useful web sites is ESSENTIAL.
Details for Registering New User Accounts on gpus-wp Now:
If you have an emaill address ending in @cagreens.org or @greens.org or @gp.org, you can register for an account on sevawebsites.org/gpus-wp now if you like.
If you want to register with a non-greens email account on gpus-wp
- At your emailed request, I can use the one I may have for you already or…
- You can provide me with your preferred username and email and I will make an account for you.
I’d prefer that web experts, aka web-spirts or web-spurts, register for accounts on gpus-wp first. I most need your critical feedback about the usefulness of a networked “state” WP site with all the counties of the state in the same site network. But secondly and “soon” I’ll need a few existing IT assistants to develop gpus-wp sites better; fresh ideas approved and applied collaboratively could real speed up the good work done here. Also any state+counties networked WP test sites will need help with setup, finding and adding IT web experts, web-spirts, to those sites. .
If and when the gpca-wp network of sites proves sufficiently useful, i.e. “promising” to the extent that the GPCA &/or IT approves my and any other IT people to work on it, I’ll setup future account registrations to be by invitation only. Those of you with active accounts on gpca-wp and wishing to be inviters can do so. If you agree to be an inviter, preferable invite some existing WP stand-alone site administrators and site content managers. But that is a 100% discussable and revisable policy; those with better ideas get them implemented.
FYI Those of you who have a @gp.org or @greens.org email address can also register for an account on sevawebsites.org/gpus-wp now as well. All 50 states have empty sites in that networked WP site now. The invite-new-web-spirt-users procedure will apply to this gpus-wp site (and all the states sites in the network provided by this site) as I just described. But the same procedure will apply to the current gpca-wp, gpor-wp, gpme-wp and gpny-wp sites and any additional state+counties web sites that get created in the future, until someone has a better idea.
Currently as of 3/31/15 any new account registrations on both gpus-wp and B are restricted to those with email address domains: @gp.org or @greens.org. The gpca-wp allows either of those same domains to be registered and additionally restricts new users to those with the @cagreens.org domain, as I said two paragraphs above.
gpus-wp now has all 50 state sites defined in the WP network and each with simple home pages and first posts in that site of the WP network. None have more than a generic GP like home page, presenting the same page I think. I strongly suggest you web-experts reading and/or using the gpus-wp site now get more California (which is gpus-ca on the gpus-wp site), Oregon (gpus-or on gpus-wp), Maine (gpus-me on gpus-wp), and New York (gpus-ny on gpus-wp) techies, web-spurts, to look at their state’s site from time to time (ad-hoc) and at least add constructive comments after registering for an account. They may help us all to see if there’s anything interesting about the US or any state site that you all, we all, would like to copy elsewhere or let other web-spirts know about.
For scaling up the number of State networked WP site from the current four (4) as of 3/31/15 to fifty (50), see the “My Master Plan” remarks at the end of this Plan. This exercise and exploration of networked WP sites becomes useless if we cannot scale it up into more useful sites for the GPUS party and state parties nation-wide in the 2016 election year.
Repeating from above: the existing gpca-wp site has all 58 California county sites in the site’s network. California city GP sites could be added too, but the county test sites seem to be the foremost for most nation-wide Green Parties, so I am setting them staring with the above-named four state sites for the exploration and uses of web-experts nationally and each state. Then I will help with the setup of sites in a state’s WP networked side for any existing county stand-alone site content managers as hands-on training for them. Once the latter training is done, they can begin to transfer some, not all, of their live state and/or county(s) site content to their corresponding networked WP county site. They may also “port” (clone) more or all stand-alone site content and user information from their current live site to the networked site by using the WP wp-export and wp-import plugins.
I spent most of the day Friday, 3/27/15, copying and saving on my home-office laptop the state maps of four states, and then of all of the “highlighted counties” from maps of each county of those states. First I “did” the Calif. state map showing all counties with two-letter abbreviates for each, then two version of the FIPS codes for all California counties; then the “highlighted county” maps of all Calif. counties, and saving the highlighted county map in three sizes, each size showing that county highlighted within o/w black and white outlines of all counties of the state map. With GPUS “done” to the extent outlined above, I then did the same for THREE OTHER STATES: GPOR, GPME, and GPNY… because I got into a rhythm doing the click-on, save-as image file process which then went very fast.
To start finding each state’s counties, I used the Google search string “<state-name> counties” to search for and find the state-specific wikipedia entry. Each of those wiki sites has a list of counties presented in lists as fat (thick) line-items for each state. The map sizes are 2 to e, starting with the small 80px or 100px map. These are shown in the far right hand side of each line-item. Clicking on that map gets you a web page with a larger “highlighted county map” WITH A TRANSPARENT BACKGROUND, suitable for “a PhotoShop” layer in a page or site logo. When that map appears, there is also a Download Full Sized Map button that will get you an even larger map of the hightlighted county of that state’s map of all its counties. In summeray each line-item per county in the list of counties there are several boxes with statistics like founding date, county flag (yes they have flags), and population size with the last right-most box featuring the highlighted map of the county usually filled-in with a red color showing its location within a black-and-white map of all the counties of that state.
I plan to add these maps “appropriately” to county site home pages, but have not yet found the time to update those home pages. I hope to put a highlighted map on the left or right-hand side of the top-most part of a county’s home page and make it a link back to the state-wide map of all counties. The state-wide map with all counties designated with just two letter abbreviation is itself clickable and clicking in a large sized map would get the browser back to the county home page.
But I also intend to do this for all the counties in ALL FOUR STATES, once I determine the time it takes to “do California County home pages” and then if and when I get some approval from GPCA IT to continue this work. I message starting with “OK, it’s not a waste of time; carry on Jenni” would be very welcome. O/w I have other progressive political and social issue sites to work on that need attention.
My master plan until someone has a better plan is to take six (6) steps to develop nation-wide and state-with-all-counties networked WP site, initially just gpus-wp and gpca-wp:
(1) develop a state test site on gpus-wp until the owners/chief stakeholders+state-web-spirts decide they want to add “sub-sites” for counties and cities too.
(2) Then I (and any helpers who volunteer), backup (with the installed Akeeba-backup plugin) just the state info, content+users+groups,etc., and/or use wp-export to do so in the latter case getting all state data and users, etc. into CSV files.
(3) I (or a helper) create an empty separate networked WP site for the state, identical to the empty gpca-wp. I’ve saved a recent content+users+groups-empty backup just for that purpose.
(4) Once used to populate a new-states networked WP site, I or a helper change some of the state-specific strings on the “empty” sitet to those for the state-to-be a new WP network site.
(5) I or a helper (from gpus web-spirts or by web-spirts in-state) then create county sites and any city sites as needed. Those state and county web-spirts and content-managers then restore with wp-import all the state data+users+groups, etc., and proceed to build-out their state and new county sites as well.
(6) The Possibly Even Bigger Big Win for the GP in 2016 and in Later Election Cycles:
(and only someone like me with lots of time on her hands should try to prove this is possible.)
For the longer run of maybe 6-12 months from now (Q3, Q4 2015, Q1 2016) I can very very part time, very carefully and SAFELY explore the following option for networked WP, networked/multi-site Joomla and networked (multi-site) Drupal sites:
(6.1) Prove, if only to myself at first, if or if not the use of a CiviCRM DB — with all it’s exceedingly more “rich” ways to keep constituent profile information and constituent, party members and party staff Relationship information, is useful to the GPCA at any time in our future. Document my findings and put them in a private area of GPofCalWiki, pending there being a better web place for them. These “more rich ways” have been and likely currently are still much better than what commercial Nation Builder.com provides for its clients who are party-building, collecting and sifting through voter information, and using their NB to Get Out The Vote come primary or general election time.
(6.2) I hope to prove if or if not the CiviCRM <-> NationBuilder import-export services are useful to the GPCA or to any larger county or city Green Party. I would document my findings and put them in a private area of GPofCalWiki, pending there being a better web place for them including CAGreenIDEAS.org and/or USGreenIDEAS.org web sites.
Civicrm developers and Nation Builder developers already have the ways and means in their software products with which to exchange user data very easily, or so it seems, especially NB voter information, Civi+NB user profile (including some demographic) information, and user/voter voting-history data that would go into a Civi DB and be useable by all WP, Joomla and Drupal GP sites WHICH NOW CAN ACCESS A CIVICRM DB as well as their site’s database. Initially I and only I for the time being, will be making backups before and after each change I make to each test of the CiviCRM<->NB data exchange, and then I will take the following additional three (3) and eventually four (4) steps (see 6.2.a thru 6.2.d that follow):
(6.2.a) I will first experiment with uploading user profile information, GP county or city site group memberships TO a civicrm test database. I have one setup already on sevawebsites.org for such purposes and am re-configuring it with groups and user information fields as I configure those fields for any progressive political web sites I work on.
(6.2.b) I’ll report to GPCA IT my findings in due course to share the “intellectual” and “technical how-to” wealth. Then I will seek IT approval or disapproval to continue these careful experiments at a higher or lower priority as circumstance deem necessary.
(6.2.c) I also have my own NationBuilder.com site, cagreenideas.nationbuilder.com. If and when I have discovered some useful methods in the Uploading User Info and Exploration process from a WP networked site to a Civi DB, I can then explore uploading some of that user info to my Nation Builder site. When that is sufficiently “well tested” in ways still to be determined, then…
(6.d) From Nation Builder I can get the voters list or lists of Registered Greens in a small or large precinct or for a number of precincts in a California city or get the city-wide data-set. I can them use that data as a test-data-set, and test the exporting of some to all of that data, which is essential Calif. Secretary of State information, TO the CiviCRM database. Then I decide what are appropriate groups for those voters to be in on a CiviCRM database and therefore groups they could be in on corresponding WP, Joomla and/or Drupal GP web sites as well. Then I decide if and how much CiviCRM information I should test export and import back into my Nation Builder test site, and what problems and benefits for NB site owners that information provides. All of which I report for GPCA IT and IT stakeholders.
Between the 6.2.c and 6.2.d efforts described above, I determine — with or without other IT members’ help — what are the most needed user/voter groups, especially to be added to, say, networked WP sites, assuming WP with Buddypress plugins is the more “powerful” and information rich alternative to using what NationBuilder provides its clients. Joomla 3.x site extensions and Drupal 7 modules might provide the same or better between now and summer 2016 when election fever hits the fan. Meanwhile for this site with some test-users volunteering to help, I and we might determine at least a few better-to-best practices for (i) developing and sharing some most-important site content and (ii) communicating with and between 2+ groups how to perform and the content need in such documents.
In these ways “we” Greens with IT and web site content development experience develop at first a state-wide “central repository” of all Greens, all likely green voting progressives, their demographics and voting history. Later “we” show other states how to do the same. Eventually we have a massive nation-wide GP database that can receive imported new user info from WP, Joomla and Drupal GP sites, but also export (and start up with up-to-date information) new WP, Joomla and/or Drupal GP sites as local, county and state parties determine they need to do so. THAT IS A VERY GOOD THING to paraphrase the convicted felony but continuing celebrity TV home-maker, Martha Stewart.
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Add your comments to this web article. Post your contsructive opinions, remarks and suggesting in the corresponding forum on the web site with this article to start or continue a discussion about how to revise the Plan.
Thank you for reading this far. JGW 15.03.28, San Francisco