Version 1 (modified by Stephen Mahood, 9 years ago) (diff)


May 13, 2013 Meeting Notes


  • Review of current lowdown proposal, next steps. OPC proposal, Jamie's proposal.
  • Discussion of mini-committees for Comms projects

Attending: Aarón ready. Rasha, Stephen, Hilary, Alfredo Stephen: content change, reworking the lowdown workflow

Proposal from Jamie

I've read the outreach committee plans and wanted to give a suggestion for some initial steps to move forward that, with the help of Stephen and myself, I think are do-able over the next couple months. I'm suggesting them in stages - with each stage moving us a little bit more toward our goal. I'm focusing on the outreach committee's goal of revamping both the Lowdown and our approach to communication in general. If everyone is ok with this general approach - I think we could create tickets for each phase and start knocking them out. Let me know what you think. jamie

Phase 1

Upgrade to Drupal 7. This doesn't have to be the first step, but since it will be required for some of the later steps, it makes sense to do it first. I'm hoping Stepehn might be up for the task. I'm happy to coach and help plan the upgrade as well.

Phase 2

Re-define our content types to: (existing content types which will be tweaked):

Blog (formerly called Lowdown article): a blog is full length article that develops an argument or theme related to the Internet with a left political analysis Member news: one paragraph description of an event or development by a member or MF/PL written in a way that relates it to the broader issues of the Internet. Member profile: a multi-paragraph profile of a member. No need to relate to our mission. Includes picture or graphic. Picture highlight: Photos of activists for front page rotation.

New content types:

Status update: 140 characters on anything related to MF/PL or the Internet. Newsletter Issue: an issue is a node with just a date that represents the release date for a single collection of nodes.

Note: we currently aggregate dozens of members blogs and display them on the home page. These are not imported as content on the site. I propose that we keep this sytem because most of these blogs are generally about the left, but not about the Internet.

Phase 3

Automate and expand the collection of content. Using the import module, automatically import content:

Blogs: we already aggregate the blogs of many members. In addition to aggregation, ask members who occasionally blog about issues related to the Internet to tag those blogs in a way that we can automatically import them as blogs (not just aggregated content). Status update: similarly, ask members to tag their status updates (twitter,, friendica, etc) in way that we can automatically pull them in.

Ask LC members or specific members to guest tweet for a week: 2 tweets per day.

Phase 4

Re-work the Lowdown workflow. Stephen: additional area of content: different projects being done for members. promoting things we are building as tools. Hilary: Tool of the Month! All content types will have a node reference field that allows you to assign it to a Newsletter Issue. In addition, all content types will share a weight field that will determine the order of the article in a newsletter page. Lastly, all content types will share a status field indicating a status of: empty (nodes not destined for the newsletter will not have a status), pending-revision, pending-translation, ready for publication. When preparing a release of the newsletter, the editors will review material automatically pulled in and solicit material, creating accounts for users if necessary so they can add content directly to the site. Authors may publish the content when they feel it is ready. Next, editors will create a Newsletter Issue node with a target publication date and they will leave the Newsletter Issue node unpublished. Then, they visit a page (view) that displays all content received during a given period (dates adjustable by the editors). The editors will select the pieces to include by editing the selected piece and choosing a release date, weight and status. A second page (view) will display all existing newsletter issues with a link to view the full issue. Only editors will see unpublished newsletters. The full issue view will display each node assigned to the issue - the title and teaser - with a link to the full node. Only editors will be able to see the status field. Once the editors are satisfied with the status, they can publish the newsletter node. A final view will produce a text-only english version and a text-only spanish version that can be automatically emailed to a arbitrary destination. Note: all content will still need to go through the translation process.

Phase 5

Re-publish. Setup a mayfirst twitter, and accounts. Create a view showing all status updates with a one click button to republish on any or all of the external services. Record which services a given status update has been sent to in order to avoid duplication. Using mailman, create an announcement only list of media contents. Add a button next to each piece of content only viewable by editors that allows you to add a short introduction and email both the introduction and the content to the media list.

Meeting Discussion

Hilary: still does not address content generation. Stephen: agreed. like the content from members, but ... Alfredo: don't know if anything I've been thinking of re: outreach relates to marshalling content for publications. with exception of member involvement. we need to get members involved, hooked in with low member consciousness of organization. Members must understand that their work is MFPL work, we want to talk about it and publish it. Internal outreach to get reps to talk to members about this. Ask LC to divvy up members among LC members, should communicate with these groups. Upcoming membership meeting, etc. Discuss possibility of submission of material.

Stephen: committees as place for members to participate in, engage with members.

Rasha: process for content is needed, proposal is mostly tech foundation. Question about whether LC are the folks to do direct member outreach.

Alfredo: division between staff and LC is not as clear as it could be. Staff cannot do what I just said. Even LC members who are on staff are going to be hard pressed. Overworked body of staff. It's a debate, discussion for LC to have about does it want to project/communicate directly with membership? I think it should. I don't think we can tell it; there has been some clamour among LC members to do this work. This is the Jack Aponte proposal, I don't know if folks would do it. Can we enhance it with other folks? It should be done, and is a step toward getting content.

Hilary: I see what's being discussed in two different ways. Great to have LC involved in member outreach. Other boards are required to give a donation, get another donation. Ongoing process of gathering content? I don't know that LC role is sustainable. A committee is needed. Gathering content is good, we'll have to Rasha - Jamie's addition is more about tech component not content side. Not interested in idea of directly communicating with LC and doing outreach in that way. It's a capacit issue. Good as part of plan to get content, but it seems that there are other ways to gather this information. This is part of the work that is done with Project South. Hilary: content subcommittee to support coordination of content given limited time for staff (Hilary). Stephen: a question for folks: do you want to be a part of this committee? Hilary: contacts to journalists, activists, members, support staff for tech, alfredo column. Hilary: mainly staff are coordinating content. I am not bottomlining everything. Stephen: great invitation to engage members.

Rasha: great proposal to LC to join content coordination committee. for members to contribute content, there's probably a need for a clear invitation, multiple ways: alfredo's proposal is an additional way to include it as part of general member outreach. Also direct asks of folks who are already creating content.

Alfredo: strong consensus in leadership... GGJ, South by Southwest, Project South as members doing big national campaigns. Their work is a contribution to MFPL. Hilary: this is a way we talk to members, we don't know if they're reading it. Connect members to MFPL, but also raise MFPL profile in other forums. Stephen: change website, look, content. Hilary: another question i have, how to go about getting anything started?

Stephen: that is structure, but still needs a design overlay. We need design work done on what the site will look like.

Hilary: not just content, but also design.

Stephen: Aaron has done design, we need translation into Spanish to get his thoughts. Aaron: last week, volunteer committee proposed a survey, maybe 2 weeks we will have answers to help clarify what's inside MFPL and how people feel about participating here. THis will help us understand from within. has some graphic ideas, just the beginning.

Stephen: lift up next steps for what we should we do. Stephen: one LC person facilitating each meeting for subcommittee or other teams. If we bring in more members, we want them to feel that the structure is there. Hilary: requirement for participation. some of the LC committees are less broad in their commitments. Allow more members to jump on board.

Agenda for next meeting:

  • set workgroup for LowDown, talking to members, LC members
  • define projects that need working groups
  • Website Design and Development - connect to Support Team

Actions before next meeting

  • Stephen will start on Phase 1 of LowDown proposal, Drupal 7 set up.
  • Rasha will facilitate, Hilary will support agenda draft, Agenda Draft will go to OPCommittee list to revise/amend before call

Next Call 2nd Monday of June, 6.10.2013 3:30pm New York / 2:30pm Mexico City