Subject: Re: [NYCGA Internet] Site Technology assessment
From: felipe ribeiro
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2011 16:08:38 -0400

it seems to me we are at something of a crucial moment - we just won a big battle against the city, which means our support has reached a critical mass across sufficient portions of society. The big question (which is now bigger) is "what's next"? It would seem that the question of what we want our software to do is a reflection of what we want to accomplish as a movement. What kinds of online interactions are we going to enable? is the strategy/planning component to be relegated to working groups, or will there be an online component to this as well? If so, shouldn't this be a specific topic/location with input from all sides - facilitation, internet, FLO, direct action, in short - ANY group that wants to have a voice in what the next move is??

I don't think this is an archaic discussion, it dovetails with/replicates the discussion(s) regarding what our next move is as a movement - how to grow the consensus model, how to act in accordance with principles of legitimated outcomes via transparent methods of negotiation, and through this process, EVENTUALLY, how to get to an analysis of what the problem is, and *possible* solutions. (all of this is, of course, my own analysis of what the next move is, your view may be different and just as valid/more informed than mine)

In short, building the software is a way of encoding the values and objectives we have as a movement. If we accept that the first step is to agree upon what these values and objectives are, then we can look at the software implementation as the first "political" act. If so, then this conversation needs to be brought to a wider audience. It isn't appropriate for IRC, for instance. Most people have no idea what that is.

I think a clear statement of intention is a good move, something to the effect of "we offer this application/CMS as a first draft, a rudimentary way of chronicling the movement, in hopes of registering the intention/wisdom/opinion of the whole group as much as possible, to then implement a tool that we truly feel, as a whole, is a better vehicle of aggregating our willpower, resources, and knowledge in a fashion that enables our goal of self governance." At the end of the day, there are three things you can do - resist the existing model, try to reform it from within, using whatever mechanisms exist for this purpose, or take the buckminster fuller approach, and build a better model, that makes the existing one obsolete.

What is the best way to advance this view - that we need discussion, ASAP, from a large number of people about what the ideal CMS should enable (after this first iteration of MU WordPress)?

I have ideas on this, but this isn't the channel to express them. Where are these discussions happening, outside of working group meetings that may or may not happen in accordance with what is publicly posted at the NYCGA website? Otherwise, can I create a parallel site? Would that be seen as forking this discussion and/or adding to the chaotic nature of the current moment, as opposed to being a constructive act?

Bottom line - important moment, important topics, and if they are being discussed already, this discussion should be VERY easy to find for anyone from "outside?


On Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 3:32 PM, Chaz Cheadle <> wrote:
I'll let it rest but,
My point is that we aren't asking the public to develop site. Our job is to provide a site that works for them with the appropriate technologies. If the technology is complicated, that is of no concern to the users. I don't believe the literacy argument is valid because on the front face, the website is just a site, what makes it work is immaterial so long as it can do what it needs to. Voters don't need to know how Diebold machines or punchcards work, they just need to use it. Our mission is to use the best technology to support our cause. I realize lots of people blog with WordPress, and if that is all we want this site to do, then that is fine and it is an appropriate tool.

We have to keep the dialogue open in here amongst the IWG about whatever we are working on. We are a team after all... perhaps even the A-Team, and that makes me BA Baracas!

On Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 2:16 PM, Evan Wagner <> wrote:
We are building the permabank site (resource routing/sharing platform) in Drupal, so we have the opportunity to let the debate play-out in implementation.  Should be interesting!


On Oct 14, 2011, at 1:56 PM, "Dr.Ron Suarez" <> wrote:


For many people using Drupal would be like having a literacy test before you can vote!

I know Drupal is more powerful, but that power comes with the tradeoff in the ability to create flexibility for larger numbers of people to control not just their own content, but how they want to enter it and present it.

I was wondering how long it would take for the Drupal vs. WordPress debate to rear its ugly head. We have created a multisite installation and special applications could be created in Drupal by those who want to use Drupal and reside at a subdomain. We are using Multisite WordPress that will enable our Groups within our BuddyPress social network to have their own site at their own subdomain. Having this in WordPress makes it much more accessible to the masses of people who want to be able to exercise more control over their own content and how it is presented.

Drupal developers are much harder to find and much more expensive. Specialized projects might be very appropriate targets for Drupal development. Please don't force less technical people into a situation where only a much smaller number of  people can make changes. If you like Drupal, then you should build something useful with it.

Around 24 Million people use WordPress to blog.


On Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 12:23 PM, Ted Schulman <> wrote:
Hi Chaz,

I agree that we have to create a migration plan from the current wordpress site to a more dynamic cms. Internet and Open Source workgroups are currently setting up the hosting environment and toolset that will allow us to define a development and migration roadmap. Our methodology will include the 5D's:

Discovery - who, what, where, why, when - these are some initial assessments.
Define - what functionality is required
Design - how the audience interacts with the system
Develop - 
Deploy - 

We will be a more detailed methodology section to the FLO Open Source Workgroup webpage in the near future.


On Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 10:20 AM, Chaz <> wrote:
  I would like to propose a serious consideration of Drupal for the
website. I know that WordPress has been used to start the site. If we
expect this site to grow in size and functionality we should consider
the increased needs for features and content types. In my opinion
WordPress is a very powerful blogging platform but I think our needs
will outpace its capability in terms of required content types and
features. Drupal, like WordPress is opensource with a huge developer
network but also has a very strong enterprise level architecture and
is used by extremely large and high-traffic websites. I believe
Drupal's module system is more mature with a great focus on
customization and security.

  As I think our site is and should be more than a blogging platform
we should consider a highly developed CMS system to meet our future
needs. Since we still seem to be in an early development stage of our
new website I strongly urge a discussion and a needs assessment of the
website in terms of technology and future expansion.

Some of the needs addressed extremely well by Drupal*:
-Menu systems (programmable)
-Forms API (programmable API for creating and processing simple/
complex forms (voting,surveys,creating custom interfaces for
administrators, content data entry etc.)
-Taxonomy driven content processing (manage and process content based
on vocabulary/hierarchy)
-Module support for other FLO technologies such as OpenLayers
-Security and Access Control (Core level security and access control
system for content and administration)
Internationalization (multilingual support for menus and site content)
Calender/Events system (integrate date driven events/calenders/email-
list notifications into any content type)
-Solid integration with Varnish/Pressflow (site caching for quicker
page delivery for high traffic sites)
-Views (custom content processing and display for any content type,
display/customize content based on configurable filters- login,
location, date, etc.)
-CCK (create any content types beyond blogs/posts such as; bios,
rotating articles, document library, company profiles, maps, featured
events, etc etc etc.)
-Multisite (ability to host multiple subdomains/sites with shared or
separate user databases, partially or completely separate  subsections
for groups if desired)
Themes (global and user preference based site themes
Content publishing/unpublishing on any desired schedule (repeated, one
time etc)

  Drupal, like WordPress relies on the addition of modules or plugins
to add features to a site; niether one will serve our needs right out
of the box. I have had a hard time finding equivalent plugins for some
of these features in WordPress which is why I would like to ask for an

  I would be willing to begin and share development lead on this if
we feel Drupal is more appropriate solution for this website's
architectural needs. Just like a WordPress version of this site we
should have designers, content authors and developers working
together. We should also keep the architecture/management of any site
100% transparent so anyone looking for information on the content
posting process or the technology behind it.

* Disclaimer: I am a Drupal developer. I create and maintain Drupal
modules for site administration and content publishing for a large,
multisite Drupal installation- so I am much more familiar with its
architecture than with WordPress'.

I would not like to start an argument, but rather open a dialogue for
an evaluation of the movement's web technology needs.

Thanks for reading.


Dr Ron Suarez

President, Loud Feed (Ann Arbor + Brooklyn)
+1 415-935-1321

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