Internet Presence Working Group - 2010 Activity Report
Terms of Reference
The WG was established at the 2009 plenary with [the proposal|cima:CIMA Internet Presence Working Group^CIMA_internet_presence.pdf]:
- That CIMA tasks a working group to investigate the best way of achieving a better CIMA online presence, and gives it the authority to spend up to 250€ in establishing the initial site for delegates review and use.
- If Delegates and FAI secretariat are happy with it, for it to be added to the FAI domain eg as cima.fai.org
The 2009 Plenary created the WG with the following members:
- José Luis Esteban (ESP) Chairman
- Richard Meredith-Hardy (GBR)
- Vladimir Silhan (CZE)
- Thierry Montigneaux (FAI Secretariat)
In line with the collaborative philosophy laid out in the [original proposal|cima:CIMA Internet Presence Working Group^CIMA_internet_presence.pdf], the following points were considered essential:
- A web application is a must. It is possible to access the information universally using a common browser from your laptop, phone, e-book...
- A document containing links to relevant information is more helpful than a printed one.
- Everyone must be able to create documents and to change documents created by others in whatever way they think necessary. This is called "collective document ownership", in parallel to the "collective code ownership" that is giving so many benefits in agile software development.
- Everyone must be able to create a new document so that they can send a link to a mail list instead of distributing a load of attachments that the receiver will eventually delete and lose.
- A proper WYSIWYG editor is mandatory. Only programmers like markup.
- A version control system must be available, so that any irrelevant changes can be rolled back or the whole history of the documents (and who did what) can be traced. Your document is no longer a Ming jar that can be broken by a clumsy user. Or it is, but you can always travel back in time and recover it.
- You can subscribe to changes in documents so that you quickly know when there has been an update.
- There are always some restrictions in the rights to view or edit documents, and this must be managed through user groups. Group membership must be managed at a higher level, it shouldn't be part of the collaborative tool.
The best tool providing all these features is a wiki system, perhaps the ultimate example being Wikipedia. A search for suitable software was conducted by the WG and Confluence from Atlassian seemed to check all the boxes; has a good reputation, especially for its support, and an unlimited user licence looked as though it was free within the terms of their Community License program.
Preliminary tests of Confluence started 24/Nov for one month (evaluation license).
- Learning how to use and administrate the system.
- Creating a fairly intuitive navigation system.
- Some spaces were created, like the main [CIMA space] , including the who is who page.
- A list of the past championships was compiled, creating specific pages for some of them.
The conclusion reached at the end of this evaluation was that Confluence met all the essential requirements, and more, for example the built-in menu system can be easily configured by individual users to be in French or German as an alternative to the English default.
The quest for a free license
After reading the Community License terms from Atlassian, it was expected that CIMA or FAI would qualify for a free license. It was agreed that FAI, as a larger organization should officially request the license.
- 17 Dec 2009 - FAI applied for a Community License, but it was rejected by Atlassian, FAI not being a charitable organisation.
- 4 Jan 2010 - The CIMA president sent a letter to Atlassian where one of the most important points was that all our work is made by volunteers and targeted to a wide audience. This time they accepted and the license was granted.
- Jan 2010 - Thierry made various efforts to install it on a FAI server, but hardware not adequate and there were no plans to acquire another server.
- 7 Mar 2010 - Confluence was installed succesfully on an independent server after various initial configuration difficulties that were solved with assistance from superb Atlassian support.
- At FAI Secretariat's request; reconfiguration of original trial CIMA wiki schema to a 'subspaces' layout where it could be used for multiple semi-independent purposes, eg. by other commissions.
- A backup strategy was implemented.
- 15 Mar 2010 - The wiki was added to the FAI domain as wiki.fai.org
- 18 Mar 2010 - Google Analytics is configured to gather usage statistics.
- 12 April 2010 - the wiki is up and running with full 'production' status with all CIMA delegates loaded as users.
Authentication and Authorisation
The edition of documents must be done by known users so that documents can have a history of changes with reference to their authors. It is possible to create users one by one or to use an external user directory system like LDAP.
- 11 Apr 2010 - Individual accounts were created for all CIMA Delegates with known e-mail addresses, and the user information was sent to them.
- If other commissions wish to use the wiki system they will have to wait until FAI has a centralised directory (LDAP).
- User groups have been created and an authorisation policy has been established so that each user will be able to view or edit certain pages..
The wiki content is structured in spaces. Each space contains pages, and each page, in turn, may have child pages.
You can see all the CIMA spaces on the left column. They are intended for:
- Reporting from [CIMA Bureau]
- Reporting from each subcommittee or working group
- Reporting from the monitor of each upcoming event
- Personal spaces
- Wiki documentation: Overview, FAQ and Getting Started guide
More recently, the following spaces have been frequently updated:
As a summary, 16 spaces have been created, containing 123 pages.
Conclusion of 2010 work
The WG is generally very satisfied it has achieved the objectives as laid out in the original proposal:
- To develop collaborative tools for the activities of the different CIMA activities
- To establish a central repository of all CIMA related information rather than it being scattered all over the internet.
And we have found that:
- The software does all it promised (and more), and is reliable.
- Cost of the wiki being based on an independent server is within CIMA approved budget - 200€ pa.
- However, while many CIMA delegates are not creating and editing documents it is still not being used to anything like its full potential.
The WG needs continued approval from the Plenary to:
- Continue to maintain and develop the wiki.
- Continue with a remit to spend up to 250€ pa of CIMA funds on WG activities.
Important message to all CIMA Delegates from the WG:
- The wiki will only begin to realize its full potential when all CIMA Delegates start creating and editing pages in the wiki.
The WG must establish with Secretariat a protocol for what content goes on the 'main' FAI website rather than the wiki bearing in mind that the main advantage of a wiki system is that it is not one writing for many; it is many writing for many, and your contribution as delegates is necessary.
The following content is especially needed from you:
- This Plenary - Please load all your contributions (national reports, bids...)
- Calendar - Please include your events.
- Championships - Please include any historical stuff you may have, especially in missing ones.
- [Records] - Please correct missing details.
- Lost delegates - Some delegates don't have wiki logins because the email addresses registered with FAI bounce - can you help find these people?
- Guidelines on championship websites. Purpose, minimum information required, conformation to FAI style requirements Etc.
- Guidelines on championship intranets. Purpose, possibilities, recommended practice, technical as well as stylistic.
- Advice on establishing and maintaining wi-fi systems and internet connections suitable for championship sites.
As you can read in the presentation page , don't be scared to break it, you can't. Use it, magic follows.