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-   -   Concerns:new site and announce only site (https://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/south-western-ohio-aquatic-plant-enthusiasts/47233-concerns-new-site-announce-only-site.html)

t2000kw 01-05-2008 06:37 PM

Concerns:new site and announce only site
 
I got an invitation to join the new site and was surprised that it requires enabling the very dangerous JAVA to enter it.

I also got an invitation to join an announce only thing hooked to Google that doesn't work for me, even though I have a Google account. This could be a problem if I'm not the only one who it doesn't work for. This would have been a good thing to discuss with the membership before it's implementation. Things like this are best decided by more than one person, even though it takes longer that way.

Can this be disabled? I also can't get it to work with the latest version of Firefox, which is much less prone to hack attacks than Internet Exploder, which I have to use for this web site. Or can we choose a different hosting service that doesn't require this and works with browsers other than Microsoft's?

I would suggest that we use the APC forums for regular posts and this only for reference material, but that's up to the members. If it's here, it will be much less convenient for me to use if I have to switch browsers AND enable JAVA. I don't feel comfortable/safe here, and I won't be able to use my desktop computer, which only has Firefox running under Linux. Not good from my perspective, but it's early in the game and can be changed before we get to far along.

I would like to see at least a little bit of discussion on some of these matters before such major changes are made to our setup. The separate web site was a good idea and we all agreed on that about a year ago. It would have been nice to vote on whether to use a web site that doesn't work well with Firefox as well, since many people who are concerned with web security choose to use it. At least it doesn't work with my setup in Windows.

In addition to the things discussed above, do we really need a separate forum on our club web site? APC is working well, people are used to it, and I feel we are well served by it without adding a second channel of communication. It can be confusing at best to have two places to post things, and having a separate forum on the web site wasn't discussed when we decided to have a SWOAPE site.

The announce only thing might not be a bad idea, if it works for everyone. It doesn't for me since I am in an endless loop and can't get registered. Maybe someone can forward the announcements to me with a PM here so I can get a copy?

I think a better announce only method can be done by the club president sending a group email with all addresses in the "bcc" field to hide all of the email addresses, only the club president's email address would be displayed, and that would be seen anyway in the "from" field. He or she would simply put their address in the "to" field and they would get a copy of the message.

Sorry for the rant but there are some potentially serious security issues with JAVA still, and the inability to access the web site from Firefox locks us into having to use a less secure browser from Microsoft, adding to this issue.

Nothing personal is meant here. I just think we need a tighter reign on things done for the club's sake.

Donald Hellen

MatPat 01-05-2008 08:41 PM

Re: Concerns:new site and announce only site
 
I appreciate your concerns Don and while I should probably let Brain address these things first, I will go ahead and explain what I can and give folks a rundown of the new site. I will have to leave any technical/security issues to Brian ;)

The new site and it's forum was not intended to replaced what we have here on APC but rather to compliment it. For the foreseeable future the forum here at APC will be our main forum. If the members don't want to use the new forum they don't have to. However, a separate forum will allow us to categorize things we want or need to talk about without having to look through pages of threads to find that info like we do here on APC. It will also give us a private place to discuss Swap Meets with other clubs and things similar to that. The forums that don't get used can easily be removed ;)

With our own site we will be able to privately discuss club business like budget and treasury info, set up group buys, post meeting minutes, list upcoming meeting agendas,and have a place for plant/fish/shrimp swaps without having the whole world read about it. The Trading Post on the new site is one of my "must haves". I get tons of PM's on APC everytime I list a plant for sale. I barely have time to respond to requests for my plants on this site and I'm sure it will get worse once I start listing shrimp. The new site will be where I list the stuff I have for sale in the very near future. I want club members to get first shot at any plants or shrimp before I list them in the trading post here on APC. If there is no intereset within the club, then I will list it for sale in the forums here at APC. I simply am not going to have the time to respond to many PM's in the future.

Nearly all of the information in the above two paragraphs was discussed at previous meetings. Minutes were taken by the Secretary and prepared for posting on the site Erik was working on for us. Erik did some nice work on that site but unfortunately his job requirements did not allow him to finish it. As a result we were unable to post meeting minutes for those who were unable to attend those meetings. The new site should eliminate that problem for us and allow everyone to stay involved even if they can't attend meetings.

Another issue we have is the fact that I am the only one with access to the majority of SWOAPE information. I greet new members and send them club info, direct them to various spots on our forum and I am the only moderator of the SWOAPE forum here at APC. If something happens to me there will be no way to stick or unstick threads (necessary for meeting minutes, group buys, etc) or manage the forum. All of these things I have been doing pretty much by myself for the past three years. I am also the only one with an e-mail list for the club. Basically if I get injured or decide I have had enough of the club, all of that information will disappear and more than likely the club will cease to exist.

Sending out e-mails to everyone about club functions will no longer be the responsibility of one person. It will mainly be the job of the Secretary and or Webmaster with the President and Treasurer also having the ability to handle this task if needed. Basically, I need help and the new site will allow the other club officers to lend a hand and keep the club running if I need a break.

Concerning Firefox, I use Firefox also and the new site is working just fine for me. Could there be a problem with the security settings you have enabled? This is probably something that Brian needs to address. I'm using version 2.0.0.11 so maybe that isn't the newest version? I have never liked IE but the site definately works with both browsers or at least it did earlier today.

Notice on the front page of the new site, Brian has enabled a feed from APC. New posts on APC are listed on the front page of the new site so no one has to miss anything. Our forum here on APC can be easily accessed from the new site also along with new threads on the rest of APC. I find I now read APC a little more than I have in the past.

As is to be expected, there will be bugs that need to be worked out on the new site. Hopefully everyone will let us know about them along with their likes and dislikes concerning the new site. If no one brings anything to our attention we won't be able to address them.

If anyone is unable to access the new site, send me or Brian (megasycophant) a PM or e-mail and we will do our best to help you out.

megasycophant 01-05-2008 09:24 PM

Re: Concerns:new site and announce only site
 
SWOAPE-Announce

OK, we'll start with the easy one first. You received an email from the SWOAPE-Announce list with a section similar to the following:

Quote:

---------------------- Google Groups Information ----------------------

You can accept this invitation by clicking the following URL:

http://groups.google.com/group/swoape-announce/...

Access to the group on the web requires a Google Account. If you don't have a
Google Account set up yet, you'll first need to create an account before you
can access the group. You can create an account at:

http://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount?service=groups...
Clicking on the first link subscribes you. As per above, "Access to the group on the web requires a Google Account". Since this is just an announcement list, there's no real reason to access it via the web. If you click on the first link, you will be subscribed (the "You can accept this invitation...:" link). I'm not sure why you couldn't use your Google login, but it's really neither here nor there in this case, since this list only exists to facilitate sending announcements to club members without the tedium (and increased administration on Matt's part) of BCCs and the like (your email address will not be visible in these announcements), so there's no real need for you to access it via the web.

SWOAPE website concerns

First, I'll address "the very dangerous JAVA". The site neither requires nor desires that you have Java enabled. There are a few features (the silly little clock on the front page and the chat) which require that you have Javascript enabled, an entirely different beast. Thing is, if you leave it disabled, you can still use the rest of the site. The forums, dynamic content management, all the primary features will still work for you. (As a side note, I've worked as a software consultant building enterprise-class Java solutions for about the past ten years, so I know my Java, and happen to like it.)

Regarding Firefox, both Matt and I use Firefox primarily. I can't speak for Matt, but I do exclusively (except when some stupid site doesn't work and I HATE that). During development of the site, though, I did give testing with 'Internet Exploder' (I'll haveta remember that one) due diligence, not to leave out folks who are still using it for some unfathomable reason. ;) Matt was spot on with this one -- you must have your security settings cranked way down. Trust me, one of my primary concerns in establishing our web presence is that we are safe and secure. Also, as Matt has elucidated, privacy is one of our objectives. Everybody with a dying stem of Hygrophila and a web browser is probably reading this right now -- not so on our club web site. The site we just deployed is invite only, though at some point we intend to split selected content into a publicly accessible offering. Not only can folks who haven't been invited not sign in, but they can't see any of our content either, apart from the "Sorry" page.

To sum up, you neither need to enable Java (or even Javascript for that matter) nor use IE to access the SWOAPE website.

In its defense, the site, even as it stands today in its early stages, offers us some very powerful features:
  • privacy and security (as per above)
  • dynamic content management, including support for revision histories of documents (it's wiki-based, for those who that means something to -- think our very own miniature Wikipedia)
  • role-based access control
  • simple, dynamic publishing of multimedia content -- for example, users can link/embed images, slideshows, video, audio, other types of documents, even collaborative, from sources such as Flickr, PhotoBucket, YouTube, and Google Documents, all without the need for any special development tools
The list goes on, but in short (well, it's probably a bit too late for 'short', isn't it? :p), I'd encourage you to give it a shot. I'm all for consensus, but we should be able to address club members' concerns with the current solution. Restricting ourselves to this forum is not leveraging the technology that we have at hand.

Hopefully I've addressed your concerns. If not, as Matt says, we will do our best to help you out.

t2000kw 01-06-2008 03:26 AM

Re: Concerns:new site and announce only site
 
Thanks, Brian, for clearing up some things.

Well, this morning I am using Firefox, without JAVA enabled. I get to the new site and click on the words "log in" and guess what happens? I see this in the lower left hand corner of the Firefox window:

Javascript:;

and nothing happens.

When I enable both Javascript and JAVA I get the login screen. So apparently JAVA is needed (at least to log in)??? It looks like the login uses Javascript. Maybe there's no solution to that, but I found a work-around (for Firefox only) that's not too inconvenient (see below).

Now, here's the interesting part. I put my email address in and password and I get the message:

"Sorry, the invitation could not be found . . ."

(This is after I registered, and I do have an account there, with settings, etc.)

Apparently two things are happening. I am using a wrong link to get to our new site, and JAVA is needed at least to log in, at least for now.

When I use this link:

http://swoape.wikidot.com.

I get this message:

"The site does not exist."

Thanks for clearing up the Google thing. Apparently you don't need to "proceed" beyond clicking on the "accept" button. It's not intuitive, though, since it looks like you are supposed to go further beyond just clicking the accept button.

My work-around for the JAVA thing: I can install NoScript (http://noscript.net/) in Firefox and just enable JAVA when I want to, on a per page basis, or on a domain basis, so I think the problem with me and JAVA can be worked out.

I didn't mention that the site looks attractive. I was more concerned with the security concerns and the confusion on the Google site. Will the Google site send something to our home email address or will we have to check our Google account from time to time? I don't check my Google mail very often and use it as a "trash" account to sign up for lists and such and only check it for acceptance codes, temporary passwords, etc. I don't really understand how the announce-only thing will work, so perhaps Brian can explain how it works?

So, is this link the correct one for our new site?

http://swoape.wikidot.com./

and if so, is it down (not working) for now?

I'll probably check back here later today. I have to be in Cleveland at noon and have a lot of driving to do today. Thanks for the work so far. I am sure I sounded unappreciative and I didn't intend that to happen. I like the looks of the new site and see some value in it. I was hurrying off to bed to get ready for an early departure to Cleveland this morning, and I wasn't focused on the good parts of the new site, which I did notice but forgot to mention.

And Matt makes a good point for the Trading Post thing. I didn't care for "outsiders" sometimes coming into our forum on some topics like a group sale. I had a reply on an item I wanted to buy from someone local. He wasn't local. Wasted my time asking questions about it until I found that he wasn't anywhere near Ohio.

Once I'm able to log in and once I understand how the announce only thing works, I'll be quite satisfied now that I have a way around the JAVA thing.

Don

megasycophant 01-06-2008 08:02 AM

Re: Concerns:new site and announce only site
 
Well, I stand corrected. The login does require that you have Javascript enabled. I was already logged in when I was trying it out yesterday, so didn't discover this. Still it only requires that Javascript be enabled, not Java. Thanks for the tip on "NoScript". We'll keep that in mind as a solution for other members who may have similar concerns.

I agree that the Google group invites are definitely a bit counter-intuitive. I recall experiencing some confusion the first time I dealt with them as well. Once you're subscribed to the list (I'm not seeing you there as a list member yet -- tell me if you need me to resend an invite), you will not need to visit the Google group on the web at all -- the messages will go directly to your subscribed email address. I'll post another message here on APC to the group at large and try to clear up or avert confusion regarding the list. I was remiss in not doing this initially -- I'm so immersed in this stuff that I forget sometimes how perplexing it can be.

On a side note, something I always recommend to folks whenever the subject comes up (I've been working on Matt lately :-P) is to consider using your gmail address as your primary address and your ISP (roadrunner, sbc, etc) email address (or some other free email) for your 'junk mail'/spam address. Not only does Google have a very good reputation for quality and integrity (their motto is "Do no evil"), but if you ever move, etc, and need to switch ISPs, you'll lose that email address and it's a huge ordeal to update your current email address, trying to send it to friends, family, update site subscriptions, etc. If you use your gmail address as a primary address, you'll be able to keep the same primary email address virtually forever and never need to go through this -- hard-earned personal experience from moving several times in a few years and being forced to switch ISPs. ;) Also, for those who prefer to use a mail program (Thunderbird (recommended), Outlook, Outlook Express, etc), many folks don't realize that you can fetch your gmail this way rather than reading it on the web. If you'd ever like us to switch your primary address, notify one of the club officers via private channels.

The site link in your message is incorrect. The address is http://swoape.wikidot.com, not "http://swoape.wikidot.com.". (Notice the extra period at the end, makes all the difference.)

I think we should probably move future discussions of specifics of the SWOAPE site and IT support over to the site's forum, rather than "airing our dirty laundry" on APC, as it were. Beneath the Site-specific Forums group, there are a number of categories, notably Help!, Site Feedback, and Feature Requests which would be appropriate forums.

Thanks for your feedback. It's in addressing issues like these that we can improve our service offerings to club members, and give everyone a better experience.

t2000kw 01-06-2008 12:58 PM

Re: Concerns:new site and announce only site
 
[QUOTE=megasycophant;352065]Well, I stand corrected. The login does require that you have Javascript enabled. I was already logged in when I was trying it out yesterday, so didn't discover this. Still it only requires that Javascript be enabled, not Java. Thanks for the tip on "NoScript". We'll keep that in mind as a solution for other members who may have similar concerns.

I agree that the Google group invites are definitely a bit counter-intuitive. I recall experiencing some confusion the first time I dealt with them as well. Once you're subscribed to the list (I'm not seeing
Quote:

Originally Posted by megasycophant (Post 352065)
you there as a list member yet -- tell me if you need me to resend an invite), you will not need to visit the Google group on the web at all -- the messages will go directly to your subscribed email address.


Even though I believe it said I was a list member when I got the email and entered the special code and pressed accept or something like that, if you don't see me listed, I guess I'll need another invitiation or someone to manually enter me into the system since it didn't take the first time.


Quote:

Originally Posted by megasycophant (Post 352065)
On a side note, something I always recommend to folks whenever the subject comes up (I've been working on Matt lately :-P) is to consider using your gmail address as your primary address and your ISP (roadrunner, sbc, etc) email address (or some other free email) for your 'junk mail'/spam address. Not only does Google have a very good reputation for quality and integrity (their motto is "Do no evil"), but if you ever move, etc, and need to switch ISPs, you'll lose that email address and it's a huge ordeal to update your current email address, trying to send it to friends, family, update site subscriptions, etc. If you use your gmail address as a primary address, you'll be able to keep the same primary email address virtually forever and never need to go through this -- hard-earned personal experience from moving several times in a few years and being forced to switch ISPs. ;) Also, for those who prefer to use a mail program (Thunderbird (recommended), Outlook, Outlook Express, etc), many folks don't realize that you can fetch your gmail this way rather than reading it on the web. If you'd ever like us to switch your primary address, notify one of the club officers via private channels.


That would never do here (using the ISP address for the junk mail). I have an address that very few people have that I use as a permanent email address. It never changes, and I can forward it to wherever I want, so I get a copy at my ISP account. If I change ISPs, I change the forwarding account it goes to. My graduate school provided it as a free lifetime service. As for my ISP address, I have only had one or two spams in over a year, so I'm happy with using it for my personal email.

As for the Google mail, are you saying that you can access it as a pop server account? I won't use Outlook Express or Outlook (I have both) for security reasons. I also don't use Thunderbird but that's for personal reasons, though it is probably is a little more secure than the MS products. I use Agent, which is pretty secure, doesn't launch scripts and such, and has a special HTML viewer if I choose to view email in that format, but I don't usually enable that and just let the program strip out the special formatting and show it in plain text format. For the few messages that I can use the HTML view, I can do that with a hotkey. If I can download GMail in a "pop server" mode with my email program, could you post some directions on how to do that? If I otherwise have to enable OE or Outlook, I'll pass and just check it once a month or so on the web. I haven't had any malware come my way through email since 1999 and I'd like to keep doing what I'm doing, which has been successful so far.


megasycophant 01-06-2008 01:29 PM

Re: Concerns:new site and announce only site
 
I'll resend the invite. We can only send invites -- we can't manually subscribe you. (They do this to avoid abuse by spammers.)

Regarding the email, you're doing precisely what I propose. I wasn't necessarily pushing Gmail -- it's just that most folks don't have the option that you do, and Gmail is a good option for them.

Yes, I was referring to POP access, which you can do through Agent. Your gmail address isn't the address to which we're sending the invite, though. Here's a link on configuring Gmail and POP; unfortunately, it doesn't give specific instructions for Agent, but the configuration in Agent will be the same as any other accounts you've configured.

megasycophant 01-06-2008 01:36 PM

Re: Concerns:new site and announce only site
 
Tried to resend, and looks like you're already subscribed. Welcome to the list! ;)

CincyCichlids 01-06-2008 02:34 PM

Re: Concerns:new site and announce only site
 
I signed up... and I can't figure out how to access the site. It says to login again in order to end the timed out session..but I don't see where I log out to log back in?

MatPat 01-06-2008 02:39 PM

Re: Concerns:new site and announce only site
 
you should have a little triangle button at the top of the page next to My account, select this and choose log out. I believe you have already been timed out (Logged out) of the site. When you log in you can select Do not Time out my session underneath your password. This should keep you from being timed out.


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