Thu 24 May 2018 11:34AM

Choosing our tools

D Dieudonné Public Seen by 316

This thread is about how we choose which tools will be used for the PVH


Dieudonné Thu 24 May 2018 11:57AM

I've just received a mail entitled "Newsletter sent from NVC-O website!" announcing the PVH uses "Jackmail, which will allow us to send up to 2000 emails per month, for $5/month.".
Is there no open-sourced alternative to this tool ?
Personally I wouldn't like to use it, because it doesn't inspire me confidence .


Dieudonné Thu 24 May 2018 1:35PM

To be more precise, I do trust nvc-global.net webmasters (Julie and Bob for the moment) intentions, but i do not trust the intentions of the other persons behind the other websites used by softwares which are not open source.
In the case of Jackmail, behind the link in the emails sent you have theses kind of sites :
* http://eye.sbc33.com

for which I have no idea of why I should trust them.

By the way, for the moment here are the websites used to create http://nvc-global.net 's front page :
* nvc-global.net
* cloudflare.com
* google.com
* gstatic.com

To find out how to discover theses websites, see the joint image generated through a Firefox addon (NoScript).

I find google has enough power for the moment, and I'd love that, when we create a website, we give other strategies a chance.

And they are many !



Brent Barker Thu 24 May 2018 5:47PM

Some hosting providers have a built-in service for sending email, for example nearlyfreespeech.net , which I use for my personal hosting and find to be quite aligned with our mission. Then we would just need a Wordpress plug-in that can send email through common linux email utilities.


Bob W Fri 25 May 2018 2:54AM

Could you say what sort of "built-in service for sending email" you're talking about? Certainly the host we are using has "common linux email utilities".. we just didn't find a plugin that relied on these that did what we seemed to need. So, I'm not clear whether you're pointing to something that is actually an "alternate solution" or not..?


Brent Barker Fri 25 May 2018 3:13PM

When I installed Wordpress and Piwik Analytics on my website, it was straightforward to have those softwares send email through the hosting provider's email server. Looking at nearlyfreespeech.net's FAQ [1], they support the following ways to have a dynamic website send email:
"If your site runs PHP, you should use the mail() function.
For all CGI languages, you should use /usr/bin/sendmail."

  1. https://members.nearlyfreespeech.net/faq?q=SendEmail#SendEmail

Julie Sat 26 May 2018 12:50AM

Thanks Brent, I joined nearlyfreespeech so I could read this FAQ (couldn't seem to access it otherwise), and I'm still not clear whether it would solve our emailing issue. The problem is that the way Wordpress sends emails means that lots of them end up in spam folders. To avoid that, we need to set up smtp stuff (which i know very little about). So as I far as I understand, the issue is with Wordpress, not the host provider, and we'd still have the same issue with nfs ... is there something you're understanding that I'm not?


Brent Barker Sat 26 May 2018 2:38AM

I wasn't familiar with the Wordpress-spam problem, so I don't know if NFS.net would help here. It looks like PHP just calls the underlying "sendmail" program in a linux environment. Spam filters are probably looking for inconsistencies between the orginating server and the "send mail as" part of the email, because it would look like spoofing a return address [1]. I imagine the brute force way to fix this would be to make the hostname of the machine equal to the email domain, then make a user for each prefix part of the email address you are sending from, then have it run the sendmail program as that user. This way, you are not pretending at any stage of the process. I bet there is an easier way, but I don't know it.

  1. http://jafty.com/blog/tag/sendmail-emails-going-to-spam/

Julie Sat 26 May 2018 8:08AM

Thanks for that. I think it's more complicated than that, though, or everyone would be using that simple solution. I was surprising when I read the article, that such a simple thing would work, but then I noticed the article was given 2/5 stars by 8 people, so I suspect it's not so simple.


Dieudonné Thu 24 May 2018 6:14PM

Thank you Brent for this offer : )

I find very important to choose open source software also to
remain free. For instance, recently Loomio changed his policy, and
we can't have access to a global view of members of the group like
we used to.

But since it's open-source we can choose another hosting without
this restriction.

For instance we could move to this one :

Le 24/05/2018 à 19:47, Brent Barker
(Loomio) a écrit :


Bob W Fri 25 May 2018 2:50AM

I like open source... and, it can be very hard to find tools that do what we want. If I looked around, and saw an open-source alternative and a closed/commercial alternative that were equally accessible, and easy to get to do what we want, then sure, I'd go open source. But, I find we keep coming to points where we do a bunch of research, find one solution (of any sort) that seems like it could do a decent job of addressing our needs.. then the choice is whether to go with that, or spend and indefinite amount of time search and searching in the hopes that we can find an open-source solution and figure out how to get that to work. I guess I'm personally inclined to prioritize what is doable over what is "ideal" but unknown as to how much effort it would take to get it to work. I simply don't know how to find these other solutions and get them to work in the amount of time and effort I'm currently able to invest. If someone does the research to find the pieces of an actual solution -- not just here is an open-source solution, but here is how it integrates with WordPress/BuddyPress, and how it will address our needs, then I'm happy to help implement those solutions.


Dieudonné Fri 25 May 2018 5:55AM

Thank you Bob for giving us clarity about what's happening on your side. How about we publish somewhere public on miraheze for instance, our desired features and/or roadmap so that more people can be searching with you and Julie ?


Brent Barker Fri 25 May 2018 3:02PM

I like this idea. I intend to make a "PreVH Development Status" article on the miraheze wiki today. I will probably include sections for current status of Production and Development sites, Planned Features, and Wishlist Features.

I still also want a page of our collected decision or guiding principles. Not planning to do today, but on my list of "wanting to do"


Bob W Sat 26 May 2018 12:31AM

As an example of something that I would think ought to be possible with open source, but which I haven't yet found a solution for, is an alternative to the GoogleMaps map currently used on the website. I looked at a list of opensource alternatives to GoogleMaps but so far haven't actually found something that will do the job. "Leaflet" might sort of work, but doesn't support marker clustering, which I expect we will need. For "Modest Maps" none of the demos load, which isn't encouraging.

Dieudonné, I know you had a solution based on a MediaWiki plugin... I just don't know how we could integrate that into a WordPress site...

I looked at WordPress plugins related to mapping, and they either used Google maps, or seemed to be focused on doing different things that what I wanted to achieve, and it seemed likely to be a lot of work for figure out how to get them to do what I wanted.

I thought this might be an easy place to move away from using Google, but so far I don't see the path.


Bob W Sat 26 May 2018 3:16AM

I found another list of mapping APIs that offers me some hope for finding an open-source solution. Note that there are actually 2 distinct problems to be addressed: geocoding (converting addresses to coordinates) and mapping, and these don't necessarily need to be done using the same API.


Dieudonné Sat 26 May 2018 7:46AM

About how to integrate it in WordPress, we had the beginning of a solution through integrating wiki pages in WordPress, no ?
Yesterday evening I was looking around the MediaWiki's extensions, and discovered that there is now a very easy to edit Maps through :
* https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Kartographer

You can edit the Map directly through the VisualEditor.

That way the user could do the "geocoding" himself by browsing the Map.

However, my guess for the best solution remains the solution chosen by https://translatewiki.net/ :
* https://translatewiki.net/wiki/Translating:MediaWiki#Map_of_translators

With the button "Add yourself to map".

Yes it's based on :
* https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Maps
* Leaflet

So that you can play around with theses tools, we can ask Miraheze to install the required extensions as explained here :
* https://meta.miraheze.org/wiki/User_talk:Dieudo


Bob W Sat 26 May 2018 8:15AM

For me, this approach has the extremely undesirable characteristic of making more work for our members -- work that is needed only because of the desire to be able to integrate with MediaWiki technology. We already have all the information we need to generate a map, without adding extra steps like "add yourself to the map" for members. I'm worried that we are already possibly beyond the limits of what it will be comfortable for some people to do, in order to register. So, I would like there to be a rather high threshold against adding more tasks for people to do. And I hate adding tasks that are only necessary because of the technology we're using, which properly integrated technology would not require. As a user, I always have a poor opinion of a website that does things like that to its users.

I have the sense that MediaWiki is a great platform -- for the sort of things that it's intended to do. But, to my knowledge, it is not designed for building the sort of website we are building, with some of the sort of features we are wanting. And, it's not designed to be used as an infrastructure platform that integrates easily with WordPress. We could probably force a "marriage" if there were a sufficiently compelling reason to do so. But, it would probably be a rather awkward union. Integrating things that are not designed to work together is hard work. And, I am skeptical about the likelihood of the results being fully satisfying.

I want the quality of the user's experience to be a priority, in what we are doing.


Bob W Sat 26 May 2018 8:26AM

Also, as I said, I just found some open source solutions that may actually be designed to integrate with things like our website. I have much more hope for integrating those.


Dieudonné Sat 26 May 2018 8:39AM

Thank you Bob for giving me your point of view on this. I agree about the user-friendly needed aspect.
At the same time, as I wrote it just minutes ago in another thread, putting in front what a large number of people agree on, even in different languages, from my point of view, is also "the sort of things that it's intended to do". And for that, a wiki seems most of the time the best solution, no ?


Bob W Sat 26 May 2018 9:20AM

I'm glad to hear you naming "putting in front what a large number of people agree on, even in different languages" being what you see as a strength of a wiki. It gives me more of an idea what need you might be advocating to care for.

I had actually not been thinking of that as a goal. Maybe that partly explains why we seem to be assessing things so differently. Thinking about that proposed goal now:
1. I certainly see some role of having that be a goal for certain types of content that we might want to have be collectively generated.
2. For other content, I haven't been thinking that was a focus. I am somewhat interested in the possibility that thinking this way might be useful for that other content as well.

However, for #2, the other content, even if we wanted what people agree on, I would sometimes want to limit the set of people who are invited to agree -- for example, maybe only Partners would be invited to agree on some things. I imagine those sorts of "limits as to who is invited to edit" as being difficult to make work in a context where we are trying to marry WordPress with MediaWiki.

As for a wiki being the best way of addressing this goal... I think that becomes less clear in some situations... the main things about a Wiki that support this, in my mind, are it being easy for different people to edit, and there being tracking of different versions. There are other systems these days which are not technically wikis which have both those characteristics. So, I don't see wikis as being the only solution to addressing this goal. Given that the group chose to go with a WordPress solution for the preVirtual Home, it may be easier to find another way of addressing this goal that is more easily integrated with WordPress, than it would be to use MediaWiki technology as a solution.


Bob W Sat 26 May 2018 9:41AM

I found a metaphor for what this conversation feels like. Imagine you are a mechanic trying to modify a car where all the parts are sized using the metric system / millimeters. And someone who is trying to help keeps bringing you parts to use that are sized using Imperial units / inches. The parts just don't work together easily. It's way, way, way easier to look for parts that also use metric bolts and and nuts and gears and connectors, no matter how nice the function of that part sized in inches might be. Except under extraordinary circumstances, it's just not worth trying to figure out how to connect things that are not designed to be connected.

It gets tiring to keep repeatedly trying to explain how much I don't want to do that, and don't predict we would like the results if we did try to do it.


Dieudonné Sat 26 May 2018 9:42AM

When I talk about a "large number of people", it could be very well be the Partners group : )
Another example is the PreVH weave agreeing on a PreVH Development Status being supported by all the people who spontaneously joined this Loomio group. That is already 27 people !
When 27 people find a common direction where they want to put their energy together it can build great things : )


Dieudonné Sat 26 May 2018 9:47AM

I hadn't seen your last answer before publishing mine. Sorry about that. I'll take more time to fully answer you.


Dieudonné Sat 26 May 2018 2:32PM

How about first checking what we agree on in this PreVH weave ?
Isn't that what Brent suggested through this thread :
* New page: PreVH Development Status ?


Brent Barker Sat 26 May 2018 7:22PM

I did not explicitly suggest that we focus our energy on checking for agreement on those principles yet, but I'd like to do that shortly. When you say "first", I don't know what things you want to postpone until after finding that agreement.


Brent Barker Sat 26 May 2018 7:24PM

Also, one solution to this might be a parallel development site. I would be curious to see what this might look like if we implemented the VH with a wiki as underlying platform. @angelalynn could you provide input to this? (She hasn't introduced herself yet, but Angela has a lot of experience with user experience design and different web platforms)


Bob W Sat 26 May 2018 7:53PM

For transparency, I have been noticing escalating distress in me.

You know how when a certain thing happens that doesn't feel good, it's "fine" at first, but as it happens again and again, you become exponentially more sensitive? I think that has been happening to me with regard to feeling not heard about how highly I value strong integration (so the website will function in the most natural and satisfying way possible, with ease in making this happen), and how most applications of MediaWiki technology to the WordPress-based preVH site do not seem to me even remotely plausible as addressing my longings for strong integration.

My inner 2-year-old is at a point of wanting to scream and react violently if "I ever again hear 'the wiki' suggested as a solution to preVH development needs." (And part of the rant is, "Why can't people distinguish between the needs involved, the generic idea of wiki's and how wiki's support collaboration, and the particular technology of MediaWiki, as exemplified at https://nvc.miraheze.org/?")

It seems likely that, on the other other side of this dialog, Diodonné could be experiencing significant stress about something really important to him repeatedly not being heard. It is important to me to acknowledge that as well.

I don't want my reactivity to shut down the dialog. But, I do think it's time to take into account the increasing sensitivity of the conversation, and apply care accordingly.

PS. As if to demonstrate its own sensitivity to how it is spoken about, the mirahez.org website appears to be having technical problems right now.


Brent Barker Sat 26 May 2018 8:27PM

I've noticed your escalating distress as well, Bob. So that I'm more aware, are you having any distress about the way we are currently using the miraheze wiki for Weave coordination?

I think it's easy for me to apply more care in the interactions I'm already having. I wonder if you're wanting any more active care, like mediation, reframing, empathic listening session, or other more active things?

P.S. I found if it gives an "Internal Error", then if I refresh once or several times, it loads correctly.


Bob W Sat 26 May 2018 10:30PM

I am fine with using the Miraheze wiki for weave coordination, in the way we are now doing. (Though frustrated at the moment that it refuses to let me edit. Dieudonné has submitted a trouble ticket.)

As for "wanting any more active care"... it's tempting to say, "Oh, no, that's not needed." But, I'm not sure that's true. My resilience is way down, due to other stressors. And, given that, interactions around this topic are harder to keep in the "healthy" zone than I would like. So, if someone wants to privately offer me empathy, let me know. A supported (mediated) conversation about this topic, to help us all have more togetherness and ease around the subject, might make sense... don't know if that's likely to be feasible before tomorrow's meeting.


Brent Barker Sat 26 May 2018 11:27PM

I'm glad you checked in with yourself. I'm available for up to an hour tomorrow morning between 9:00am and 12:00pm Central Time to give empathy or support a conversation. I have limited experience with mediating conversations, and I trust that I can work with you and others to decide together what structure is desired, then facilitate that structure.


Dieudonné Sun 27 May 2018 7:11AM

Thank you both for theses exchanges. It does help me keep feeling part of this crew. I use the word crew intentionally to make a reference to an environment I've practised during 30 years. So far I was missing a place like this one :
* PreVH Development Status

We could call it a "shared vision" of where we are and where we want to go. That way, it's easier for everybody to see where he wants to offer his energy. And like in a crew, I value when it is reminded the whole crew during a briefing for instance, how anybody can bring an input which might be instrumental for everybody, regardless of its rank in the hierarchy. For instance, a young steward might save a plane by reporting seeing snow on the wings before take-off.

So thank you for having included in the PreVH Development Status theses aspects I see as fundamental :
* keep as a goal to become free of "vendor lock-in" (I'm astonished to see how google is present in so many websites : you can see that through the NoScript addon. I see theses proprietary softwares used in nvc-global.net a bit like snow on our wings before take-off !)
* Favor products from companies/groups that share our values.

Thank you Bob for putting so much energy and intelligence in setting up this website. My question now is : what could we do to help efficiently include more people like Brent in this creation ?

By the way, I wrote Julie about a bug on my side :

I just did a request for password reset on both sites, but I got an answer only on the dev site, although I got this answer for nvc-global.net : "Email successfully sent!"

But since I had no answer from her, and I wrote to her from my mail …[at]free.fr, and when doing that to Bob, I got a message that it was rejected as considered as "possible spam/virus content", maybe it went in her spam folder too.

So I write it here : can anyone help me recover access to the production site ?

Bob I gave you admin rights for nvc.miraheze.org in case you need it.


Bob W Sun 27 May 2018 7:44AM

I am now fairly confident that I can figure out how to replace Google Maps with Leaflet (though the solution will be a bit more complicated than the Google Maps solution was, and I still need some time to figure it out).


Dieudonné Sun 27 May 2018 7:46AM

Thank you for cleaning that part of our wings : )


Brent Barker Sun 27 May 2018 6:46PM

@dieudonne I'm glad that this new page supports your yearning for a shared vision. When you wrote "what could we do to help efficiently include more people like Brent in this creation", are you sensing a need for our weave to include more people, and if so, for what purpose? Additionally, what traits do you see in me that you'd like to see in other members of our weave?


Bob W Mon 28 May 2018 3:30AM

The site no longer uses Google Maps. Check out the new map on the home page.


Dieudonné Mon 28 May 2018 6:26AM

:rainbow: Thankyou Bob ! For me this changes a lot the spirit of the website : )


Julie Sat 26 May 2018 12:32AM

My apologies, Dieudonné, for not passing this by the group first. I got so involved in solving the problems of building the site, and when we went live a lot of things felt more urgent. And as Bob said, it can be really hard to find what we need, particularly when we're limited to Wordpress stuff ... perhaps we need to consider different options when we build the real Virtual Home.

As for the mail plugin, I thought it was a godsend when I found it, because mail sent from Wordpress often ends up going to spam folders, and to work around that you need to set up SMTP servers, and it's pretty complicated (I think), and the plugin we found does it all for us automatically, and for a good price. So I jumped at it.

Anyway, it sounds like we need to spend more time exploring what open source solutions are available.



Dieudonné Sat 26 May 2018 7:50AM

No worries Julie. It's good to have NVC in common : it helps us remember not to confuse needs and strategies ; )


Dieudonné Sun 27 May 2018 7:34PM

Actually even just within this loomio group, I'm sure several
persons already could offer valuable inputs. Bob's idea to publish
this page :

makes it easier for them to contribute.

I believe our job is to make it easier for people within our
community to share the best they have to offer. And we started ! :

To make it simple : the model I find the most inspiring looks
more like Wikipedia or many of the Commons-based peer

than Facebook : ))

The fact you have practice in this domain is giving me
confidence. Your proactivity reinforces that ; )

Does this help ?

Le 27/05/2018 à 20:46, Brent Barker
(Loomio) a écrit :