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Jun 25 / Mike Ward

Welcome to WSULUG’s Blog

While chatting in #waynestatelug the other day, we got to thinking that the website is rather dull. While I know better, to the outside observer it just seems very static, and reminds me of times I’ve looked for a group online, but from the website I couldn’t tell if they were still active at all, or if I was the first to discover the site in years. I just doesn’t have signs of life. So we started thinking about that.

We have a mailing list for discussion already (and a forum that doesn’t get used), so that doesn’t really add much to the site, but what about a blog? But then, a blog about WSULUG (and on top of that, starting in summer, when most are away)? That didn’t seem to make too much sense, so we tossed some ideas around, and we think we have something that could be pretty neat. Below, I’ll describe it, what we’ve done so far, and how you can be a part of it.

Summary

The basic idea is to have a blog under the WSULUG name to which members can contribute posts, and we’ll publish one a week or so (or more or less frequently, depending on supply). Ideally, they’d be relating (at least a little) to Free Software, Open Source, Linux, Development, and so on. Even better would be things about both those sorts of things, and higher education (perhaps a series on Free Software for Higher Ed Students?). Other than that, posts could be about whatever the submitted would like – just as long as it’s at least tangentially relevant.

Platform

Wayne State offers an installation of WordPress already maintained and is set up at blogs.wayne.edu. Anyone with an AccessID can log in and start up a blog, and start posting. What’s nice is that it’s very easy to add other users to the blogs you create, so this is what we’ve done. I created a blog at blogs.wayne.edu/wsulug, and added Arslan and Adam Lincoln to it as admins (mainly just so there’s more than one person in case I’m unavailable, incapacitated, or hibernating).

I plan for any other officers to be added as editors, and all members added as contributors. This allows for a pretty simple work-flow – contributors can add posts, but they don’t get published until an editor (or admin) publishes them. So, if you feel like going on a weekend post-writing binge and submit 8 posts, we can publish one or two a week. If you made some dumb typos because you forgot that every browser since the stone age has spell checking, we can fix that (although never actual content, of course) before doing so. If some jerk goes and posts a link to shock-site-of-the-week, it doesn’t get on the site, and only one or two people have to gouge out their eyes instead of every visitor to the blog. You get the idea.

Licensing

I’d very much like to have all the posts under a Creative Commons license. The easy way seems to be to just use the code generator to make a little HTML snippet to add to the bottom of each post, so that would work. By default, we’ll just add a usual CC license to all posts, unless the author specifically asks otherwise.

Content

As I mentioned, content would consist of anything at all Linux related, really. Shorter introductions to software and posts about upcoming or past events are obvious ideas, as well as posts from officers about actual WSULUG news/issues. I might write a quick thing about Piwik, for example. Maybe someone can write something about how to get started using screen, or comparing screen to tmux. I already mentioned that a series of posts about open source software for students would be pretty great. The list goes on.

From the pool of available posts people have submitted, editors/admins would just pick one now and then and publish it (unless the topic is time-sensitive of course, such as a post about upcoming events, software releases, etc). I imagine this would be done by us wandering into the #waynestatelug channel and playing rock-scissors-paper or some equally formal procedure, mixed with an attempt to get a variety of topics and authors.

The one drawback of using blogs.wayne.edu is that only those with an AccessID can post directly. I suggest that for those that would like to contribute but don’t have an AccessID, they just email one of us, and we can post it on their behalf, with a note at the top indicating the original author, a link to the same post on their site (if there is one), etc. Not quite as simple, but I figure it’ll get the job done. Aside from this, we’ll treat those posts exactly the same as any other.

Contributing

If you’re interested in contributing, please feel free. Just contact us and ask to be added as a contributor, and we’ll add you. Once we get a small pool of articles in, we’ll start putting them up, and you, too, can have the fame and glory of having written for WSULUG’s blog.