Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Website Administration

We have our fancy new website, and already a few issues have been brought to the table about how to run it.

During a discussion on the uses of userboxes and categories for keeping track of our members, somebody cited "WP:CREEP", which prompted me to exclaim "This is not wikipedia!" Some users have even tried to upload encyclopedia articles about pennsylvania, which prompted a modification of [[MediaWiki:Newarticletext]], [[MediaWiki:Edittools]], and [[MediaWiki:Copyrightwarning]] to explain in large red bold letters that "this is not wikipedia!" It's my hope that people get that point now, and that we wont need to be explaining it for the rest of our chapter's existence. On a philosophical note, if it is this hard for our little website to distinguish itself from Wikipedia, how hard must it be for the poor sister projects to do the same? Kudos to projects that have actually made a name for themselves from under the shadow of Wikipedia.

The current draft of our bylaws (which has gotten some good reviews and probably won't be changed much) specifies that there will be an "executive council" that will handle the "everyday administration of the chapter". It's my interpretation (and it's sad that I wrote the current bylaws and am having to interpret them) that the executive council will also handle the administration of the website. This would include the appointment or removal of admins on the website, and the specification of website policy. Because of the focused-nature of this website, we don't need much policy, but there are always going to be people asking defiantly "Where does it say that I can't?"

Once we get an executive council set up, we will be able to appoint people to administer the website, the mailinglist, the IRC chatroom, etc. This will help to get other users involved in the workings of the chapter, and will also help to make the process less chaotic then it currently is.