The first thing to do is to get the web site up and running and to develop and deploy the whole range of tools that will be used to power it.
As far as the look of the web site is concerned, we purposefully use the simple default theme shipped with Drupal. When the organization of the site has settled down, we can then consider changing the look and customize it.
More importantly, we are working to make the information provided by members within blog, book or forum entries easily accessible to those looking for it. Typically, in a forum or in a blog, people read and react to the latest entries. At wechange.org, information posted months or years earlier could be still relevant and interesting today. Often, it is not important when it was posted. That's why we are setting in place some tools that will help to sort the information topically and geographically.
Latter, a kind of rating system will be made available so that the most interesting items are ranked first, and are promotted to the front page.
Beside geographic relevance, we must also consider chronological relevance. A post about a rally "next Sunday" is perishable and has a "short shelf life". Another highly philosophical post may be as interesting (or not!) ten years from now as it is today. We do no want scores of recent short uninteresting comments to hide away older more important contributions. We are still looking for the appropriate solution, but one could involve the way the forum is used.
Also, a lot more must be done to help new visitors to find their way around.
All of the above is a way to ensure that the signal/noise ratio is very high so that visitors can easily find the information that interest them.
Remember that this aims to be a community web site. Your comments and support will help define the direction and shape the site. Post your thoughts in the appropriate forum:
As an example of the way this web site works, you can find all the posts relevant to this action project in the following places:
- In the forum: http://www.wechange.org/forum/11 where the posts are ordered in reverse chronological order, regardless of the interest, length, relevance of the post.
- In the taxonomy listing of the same forum: http://www.wechange.org/taxonomy/term/11 . It's the same as above but the information is presented in a different way. Currently, the posts are ranked in the same way, in the chronological order, but later on they could be ranked by ratings.
- The listing here http://www.wechange.org/taxonomy/term/55 is that of all the book entries (like this one), blogs and forum entries that include the term "wechange web site" (term 55) in the topic field. You will find here all the more 'timeless' pieces of information on this topic.
- The listing http://www.wechange.org/taxonomy/term/55+11 combines the two previous ones. You get all the longer and better thought out comments on this topic, as well as the maybe shorter forum topics that may be relevant for a shorter period of time.
For all your blog and forum entry on this topic, don't forget to add the term "wechange web site" in the topic field if you feel that your entry would still be an interesting read a year or two from now. For a simple comment that may be relevant until, for example, a certain issue is dealt with, just use the appropriate forum.
It all may sound complex. That's maybe another challenge for this web site: make it easier to use and understand, and also motivate contributers so that they take the extra time to put some added value to their contribution so as to increase the signal/noise ratio.