Tue 14 Mar 2017 12:55AM

CCANZ website redevelopment + impact case studies

EH Elizabeth Heritage Public Seen by 49

Kia ora koutou

One of the things I'm excited about getting stuck into this year is redeveloping our CCANZ website, and we're really grateful that Prefer, who have long hosted our website for free, are continuing to support CCANZ by doing this work for a nominal fee. Our website will of course continue to be completely open source.

I've been thinking a lot about how best to make use of our website as a communications tool and I wanted to share this thinking with you all and get your ideas.

The primary comms goals of the CCANZ website are that it should:
- persuasively tell the story of what the CC movement is and why you should join in
- give easy-to-understand factual information about what the CC licences are and how to apply them etc.
- signpost useful sector-specific information and resources
- show what CCANZ is up to as an organisation and invite people to join our community.
(As well as all the regular stuff like newsletter sign-ups, how to find CC works online, etc.)

In terms of design, tone, and content, I want the CCANZ website to be as welcoming and accessible as possible, both to people who are considering CC for personal use and those who are visiting for work/professional purposes. I see that accessibility working across a variety of axes:
- making sure people who are visually impaired can use the website as easily as possible
- being less monolingual
- making better use of visual imagery and video, for those who learn better through those media than through text
- making it really clear what help CCANZ can offer to organisations who are considering using CC so that they don't feel they have to muddle through it alone.

One of the things that we want our website to do better is demonstrate the impact of using CC. We have lots of great case studies but they are often more about the process of choosing to move to CC rather than the impact of what happens after you do.

So my questions for you all at this stage are:
1. If you had all the time and money in the world, what would you want the CCANZ website to be able to do? Give me your wishlist! If we can't make it happen now there's always the chance we can work towards it in the future.
2. Where in Aotearoa do you think CC is having the biggest impact, and how can we demonstrate this?

Mā te wā


Danyl Strype Mon 27 Mar 2017 2:47AM

One thing I've been encouraging many community organisations to do, as much as they possibly can, is to become self-hosting. In the age of the CMS, a website is not limited to being a static delivery pad for text, graphics, and audio-visual media. Many of the interactive functions organisations habitually outsource to other (often corporate and proprietary) platforms can be fulfilled by free code packages, hosted on the same server as the website CMS. These include:
* discussion forum: OnlineGroups, Discourse, and Loomio can be self-hosted and support ongoing discussions that can be viewed and replied to via the web or email
* newsletters: our OnlineGroups could be used for these, but Mautic offers most of the extra "marketing" features users want from MailChimp
* live chat: RocketChat and MatterMost provide the same set of chat functions people use Slack for
* file storage: NextCloud allows sync of larger numbers of files than gratis accounts on proprietary platforms like DropBox, while keeping the files and the syncing process on our server
* document collaboration: LibreOffice Online is now available, providing an HTML5 version of the standards LibreOffice suite that can be used in a modern browser. Etherpad offers a digital white board for note-taking and brainstorming.
* community database: CRM packages like CiviCRM and Tendenci allow organisations to store information they hold about website users (be they staff, officers, members, volunteers or others) on their own server, in a proper database (not a spreadsheet), and can be integrated with the website CMS
* microblogging ("social media"): GNU Social supports the posting of short messages, and GS accounts can be bridged to Twitter accounts for backwards compatibility
* statistics: rather than giving data about site visitors to Google to help them target advertisements, packages like Piwik or AWStats can provide visitor statistics

At present, CCANZ's digital tools are spread across a range of platforms, some of them free code hosted by the developing organisation (eg OnlineGroups, Loomio), and some of them proprietary service run by US corporations (eg MailChimp, MeetUp). We don't need infinite time and money to come up with a strategy for replacing these, one by one, with self-hosted free code packages, starting with the proprietary ones. This strategy will make it easier to tightly integrate these tools into the website, ideally under a single user account.

CCANZ is lucky enough to be hosted by OERF, who place a high priority on using free code platforms in their work. OERF are luck enough to have tech support from @davelane , who is able to test potentially useful packages in his work with NZOSS and Catalyst, and recommend tools for the specific needs of OERF and CCANZ. I strongly believe we need to make the most of this, and set up an integrated platform of free code tools that will provide for our organisational needs for years to come.


Wayne Mackintosh Tue 28 Mar 2017 4:57AM

Hi Strypey,

Indeed - I think its important for open projects like Creative Commons which espouse openness to walk the talk. (A condition of OERF's hosting of CCANZ is a requirement to use FOSS for all enterprise technology.)

In addition to your list we have found Mautic to be a very powerful substitute for automating email and communications. We've also recently adopted Kanboard (which does a better job than WeKan for our purposes) for those addicted to Trello.

Thinking out loud - I wonder if a community source approach is viable, where open source technologists from the CC community could volunteer server admin support?


Dave Lane Tue 28 Mar 2017 7:40AM

Good thinking, Wayne! Given all the free time I now have following the conclusion of my term on the CCANZ advisory group, I'd be happy to offer CCANZ some volunteer FOSS sysadmin services...


Danyl Strype Wed 29 Mar 2017 12:35AM

I have limited hands-on experience with server-side software at this point, but I'm really keen to learn more, and to teach others what I know. I'd be happy to put some volunteer time into sysadmin work for CCANZ, as an apprentice to @davelane and others with more practical experience.
EDIT: Would it be worth setting up a Loomio subgroup as a coordination channel for volunteers working on this?


Elizabeth Heritage Thu 30 Mar 2017 4:44AM

Kia ora @strypey, thanks for your list of suggestions, which will be a useful reference guide for us going forward. And thanks @waynemackintosh for the Kanboard invite you sent me - I haven't used Kanboard or WeKan (or Trello!) before so that will be an interesting thing to learn.

Having the CCANZ website (and other tools) self-hosted is something we could potentially look into in the future. At the moment we're sticking with the hosting solution donated to us for free by Prefer, while we focus on refreshing the content and optimising the potential of cc.org.nz as a communications tool. As I said above, I'd love to hear what you think about where in Aotearoa CC is having the biggest impact, and what kind of case studies - or other content - we could create that would demonstrate this.


Danyl Strype Thu 30 Mar 2017 7:12AM

Just to clarify, "self-hosted" is usually used in contrast with being hosted by the company that provides the software. if we are paying Prefer to host WordPress for us, that counts as self-hosted, whereas if we used WordPress.com if wouldn't be. Our use of Loomio is not self-hosted, because we using the Loomio Cooperative's instance. Clear as mud? ;)

Now having said that, I think there's a third category, something like "community hosted". Because OnlineGroups and Loomio are free code software, and the companies that develop it are hosting our groups as a contribution to CCANZ, because they support our values and goals, that's close enough to self-hosted, at least for now. After writing up the communication strategy discussion document I just posted, it occurs to me that moving the monthly newsletter off MailChimp and making it one of our OnlineGroups would be one piece of low-hanging fruit we could pick in the short term to reduce our dependencies on proprietary platforms.

I'll give some thought to the case studies question over the weekend, and try to comment on it succinctly (hopefully ;) ) next week.


Dave Lane Thu 30 Mar 2017 10:25AM

Regarding the MailChimp mailing list, as it happens, the OERF has adopted an open source alternative called Mautic. I've just done a blog post about it... https://oer.nz/mautichowto


Danyl Strype Wed 5 Apr 2017 5:50AM

One little note on the Licenses Explained page on the website. The explanations on this page are really clear, and I think it does a good job. One little thing I would change though, is to move the various references to NZGOAL to their own section, maybe down the bottom of the page? I worry that the current layout gives the impression that CC licenses are a "government thing" and might put other potential adopters off. I also suggest moving the information about "versions and ports" to the bottom of the basic license explanation. I've created a mock-up on the NZOSS Etherpad to show what I have in mind. Edits welcome.


Wayne Mackintosh Wed 5 Apr 2017 6:57AM


That's a good suggestion.

I would also like to see a clearer distinction between the two free cultural works approved CC licenses and the other four non-free licences. The main CC HQ site makes this distinction when using the license chooser.

Wayne Mackintosh (Mobile)
OER Foundation / OERu


Danyl Strype Wed 5 Apr 2017 4:40PM

I have had a go at this in the mock-up by moving the two free culture licenses to the top, and putting in a short text at the end of the intro paragraph that refers to free licenses and suggests a page to link to.

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