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Tweaks, Struggles, and Complex Choices

Tweaks, Struggles, and Complex Choices

I spent the day today building various content throughout the site. It’s been a lot of frustration with trying to figure out many tiny design issues to get exactly what I want. In some cases, things I figured out a month ago are not forgotten, only remembered after a couple hours of tweaking. Oof. Still, I am very happy with how the site is looking and what is in store for it. It’s a solid start and hopefully as people find it there will be motivation to contribute.

The greatest complexity I’m struggling with is the development of a “members only” capability of the site. While the site aims to be fully open to everyone, the fact is that there are a lot of “trolls” out there would could poison a forum or comment section, if not rip the whole site down. It makes sense to put our most important community content and interactions behind a members area. There could be no cost to people to sign up, but at least then we would know who is making what posts in case a problem comes up. That also then probably means we’ll need some sort of policy to govern behavior, and once you start thinking that way it can deteriorate into places I don’t want to think about. In any case, the key for now is to figure out what WordPress plugins or systems give us the greatest capability to have a unified set of comprehensive member features to support the community. I have been scoping out the possibilities, but there are many, oh so many. Thus, it is definitely a time sink to invest in figuring that out, so I cannot rush and it’ll just have to come when it comes.

Finally, I’ve been conceptualizing the strategy for coping with past and future ISE content. Ideally, I want to have all the content from all ISEs on the site as this would provide the best chance for preserving our history. For example, try looking for the websites of any of the past ISEs. All gone, except 2016 and 2018. That’s pretty grim. Thanks To Angus Webb and his collaborators, we do have the full set of all the proceedings, and in some cases even the html web page files. That means I can reconstruct the web pages for those ISEs when I’m ready to. However, trying to decide how to handle the past proceedings is another matter. We must have thousands of abstracts and papers, so trying to get all that content into a database to serve up with modern search capabilities would be daunting with a budget of $0. I think the best way forward is to study the problem for now, but also to focus on the future ISEs and see if we can get them natively build on this site. It’s ultimately up to the conference hosts, of course, but imagine if they developed their ISE conference sites as subdomains of this site and we could have that saved and useful for many years to come. That would be terrific.