Subject: Re: [NYCGA Internet] Site Technology assessment
From: Tom Gillis
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2011 01:34:08 -0400
CC: OWS Solutions <>

Just like to echo what Sam said - having one master platform to run
everything on won't be a viable solution, and I think that the
software we use should, like the movement, be flexible,
semi-autonomous apps, that are loosely joined, sharing information and
computing power through mutually-understood protocols.

On Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 8:45 PM, Ted Schulman <> wrote:
Hi all,
As the web services needs clarify there will be a place for wordpress,
drupal, joomla, and other systems - each has its own strengths and weakness
- we should be able to publish on any of these platforms based on audience
and requirements. The enterprise system will be able to interact with
wordpress, joomla or drupal sites enabled for:

LDAP - for permissioning, and directory management
RSS - for loosely coupled data exchange

Wordpress sites do make sense for many smaller organizations or groups.
Joomla is a very dynamic CMS and is in many ways equal to Drupal but is more
'component' based - has an easier learning curve and is easier to maintain
than Drupal. Drupal can be highly customized and is often the choice of
people with developer level skills.

On Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 8:17 PM, Dr.Ron Suarez <>

Chaz writes: "the website is just a site, what makes it work is immaterial
so long as it can do what it needs to."

Where WordPress will serve us best is where we don't really know what the
website needs to do. Thus, we need tools that many more people can use, so
they themselves can easily make changes in the back end if need be.

Where Drupal will serve us best is where the Problem Space is already
clearly understood.

Historically software development has the worst track record of almost any
industry with respect to cost overruns and complete failures of projects. A
major cause of these failures is directly related to jumping into the
Solution Space before the Problem Space is completely  understood.

There is a usability software design pattern called Pave the Cowpaths:
It comes from a story about an architect who couldn’t get agreement on
where to lay the paths between the buildings on new site. So he grassed
everywhere, allowed people to form their own paths, and then came back and
paved those. The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t try and push
people towards the behavior you expect – you should instead react to the way
they use the space. An example of this is Twitter RTs and @replies, which
were both created by users and later adopted in the platform.

So far, WordPress has enabled a large group of people to quickly begin
producing results and we are forming our paths. Please don't try to stop us
from forming our own paths. After we have formed a bunch of paths, maybe it
may become appropriate to pave some of them with Drupal (a much more
powerful and much less flexible system).

For those eager to learn more, read this book:


On Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 4:23 PM, Sam Boyer <> wrote:

one quick response, inline:

On 10/14/11 4:08 PM, felipe ribeiro wrote:
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
to enable? is the strategy/planning component to be relegated to
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
agree upon what these values and objectives are, then we can look at
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

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
way of chronicling the movement, in hopes of registering the
intention/wisdom/opinion of the whole group as much as possible, to
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?

i'd like to echo this question, as i'm having a *very* similar crisis of
conscience right now.

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
    because on the front face, the website is just a site, what makes
    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,
    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"
        < <>>


        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
                -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
                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
                architectural needs. Just like a WordPress version of
                this site we
                should have designers, content authors and developers
                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 <tel:%2B1%20415-935-1321>

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Dr Ron Suarez