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Challenges for the new website

Alaa's picture

To set up a website the way we described in the Wiki (we need to import this stuff here) there are some descisions we need to make, and some challenges facing us that may require coding or altering the way we work.

The real challanges are not in the CMS though, its in coming up with new guidelines and rules of governance.

sticky topics like posting guidelines, moderation guidelines, administration guidelines, who belongs to which user group and how to determine the criterea, how to avoid conflicts, how to encourage contribution etc.

I will stick to the drupal specific problems here, the rest needs a long dialogue.

  • firgure out which blocks to enable
  • figure out a taxonomy system for the whole website
  • figure out an editorial policy
  • come up with icons and artwork for navigation and taxonomy icons (and smilies??)


  • almost all forum issues are resolved
  • only missing stuff are some convenience moderation feature like ability to move comments.
    • easily implementable, needs on complex SQL query, hard part is UI design)
    • look into ability to promote comment to node
  • users can't attach files to forum posts at the moment (they can use a filestore module to upload files then reference them in their posts, and one can look into automating this).


  • The wiki modules just adds Markup; features like BackLinks and WikiCategories are missing, no idea if we can substitute these with an existing drupal feature or if we need to add our own.
  • categories can be replaced with drupal taxonomy, however since taxonomy manupilation cannot be delegated on a single vocabulary basis we cannot allow all users to edit the taxonomy (not to mention that it is a bit complicated), this means wiki organization will be a bit centralized (not nessecarily a bad thing since normal users can always create pages that just list WikiWords).
  • categories may also be replaced by the book outline feature (this actualy seems to be the more reasonable approach), interaction between taxonomy and book outline is confusing to most users.
  • apparently wiki footnotes don't work.
  • apparently inlined wiki images don't work.
  • collered diff views between revisions are also missing.


  • how can we make blogs attractive and an incentive for members to contribute? (all these ideas need a hack)
    • allow them to moderate their blogs.
    • allow them to style their blogs with their own CSS and themes.
    • allow full html markup
    • allow PHP code (maybe with moderator approval, since php code running inside drupal pages runs within the drupal space and has access to all variables, this is a limitation in php and there is nothing that can be done about it).


  • The default drupal navigation interface assumes the user understands how drupal works.
  • we need to build menus and navigational blocks that expose a simpler interface.
  • do we hide the druapl interface completly, or allow it for certain user groups (administrators, moderators, senior users).
  • we need a method for anonymous users to switch locales
  • The bidi problem needs to be addressed, what is the default direction of the webpage RTL or LTR.


  • one can allow users to post to any section but wait for moderator approval.


  • We want to allow members to post polls as usual, however we need official polls once a month or so to make things interesting.
  • the poll block displays the latest poll regardless of who started it.
  • however administrators and moderators can promote a poll to the home page, does it look good on the body of the home page?
  • we could find a way to make an official polls only block if needed.


  • Moderated RSS procedure, have an aggregator that track important pages, and have moderators promote top news to the side bars.
  • easy to read docs describing all new features

Missing Features at the moment

  • Member rating system
  • single page with all rss feeds


Alaa's picture


+private messages +email notifications

I think these can be done with drupal modules.

whirlpool's picture

I am overwhelmed

I think there are lot of features that should be removed and reintroduced later on. I beleive that we should remove the wiki/book, poll, blogs and the news feeds now. And concentrate on the forum. I know you will not like this. But think of it that each time we introduce a new feature to the site we will provide some documentation about it. So instead of forcing people who use the linux egypt forum into discovering a totally new website. We start with the forum, with threaded view and teach them how to use and then after a month introduce the polls. Then introduce the feedreader, wiki and blogs. And even more modules in the future like the calender etc.

Imagine people who want help about their modem will ask in the book module or in the wiki. Remove features, do it like Havoc Penignton !

Alaa's picture

Re: I am overwhelmed

of course we need to gently introduce stuff, but this does not mean removing features.

this simply controls how features are presented.

ya3ni news feeds masalan, these are links in the side bar, their text explains what each link does, and they could be themed to say in a very clear manner Latest Linux News

users who just want the forum will not be confused by them, they don't get in the way.

same for polls, we already had polls in the forum, only difference will be to have a poll on the home page, which many sites do, again it does not get in the way.

the wiki is an old feature not a new one, the trick is to make sure not to confuse people with it. we can disable comments on the wiki to make sure no one mistakes them for a place for general support questions. we can give it a small no prominant link that just says wiki, a meaningless word to most members.

wa hakaza.

so I say implement all the features but don't push them.

one thing we can do is put a very prominant link to the forum in the home page, not just among the normal navigational links, but something inside a short paragraph saying "for help in using linux go to the forum" or something like that.

blogs are for senior users only anyway.

and no we don't have to introduce the dopcumentation the moment we launch the feature either, we launch first, document later, then explain it, promote it and the final step would be to push it.

Alaa's picture

title module back

fixed the conflict between the title module and the wiki module.

to create a link by title you use double square brackets.

remember link by title works using substrings.

ezabi's picture

Ummm guys

Isn't it challenge?? or monoboly style?? maybe french schools messed up ma mind

Alaa's picture


yeah me and my typos, when emacs gets UTF-8 and bidi this will all be over.

anyway shows that we should come up with an editorial queue policy for articles and stuff that gets on the homepage.

whirlpool's picture

Transparent PNG and IE ?

Alaa's picture


1- we are not using any non standard features at all 2- we are not going to help M$ by fixing their problems 3- all we need is for the content of the page is readable and it doesn't look horrible on IE it doesn't have to look right or for all the features to work on IE

we should send a very clear message that Linux Egypt supports web standards, if any new web standard seems useful to us and is supported in one single Free Software browser it should be used, adopting the standard is the only way to catch the attention of browser developers.

whirlpool's picture

should we use smilies ?

hi :) should we smile ?

Alaa's picture

ximian again?

انت ايه حكايتك كل حاجة شكلها ximian كده

أنا شخصيا شايف ما نستخدمش smilies الا اذا كانوا تصميم خاص بينا و له روح مصرى

بالشكل ده هيبقالهم تاثير ايجابى على الجو العام و يزودو احساس الانتماء للcommunity انما نستخدم stock smilies مالوش معنى الASCII smilies شكلها أحلى

حد يعرف يصمم smilies بالحروف العربى؟؟؟

ya 3eni 3ala el 3arabi

ramez.hanna's picture

what do you mean by "Form bas

what do you mean by "Form based articles"?

Alaa's picture

form based articles

you can test this yourself by choosing create content -> create review article.

cheers, Alaa

ramez.hanna's picture

form based articles

so is the problem solved or do you need another form ?

the best things in life are free --- so as myself

Alaa's picture

it was not a problem, just a

it was not a problem, just a todo.

I need to remove this from the list.

bas tab3an we need ideas for such articles, the only idea we have is the software review thing. we also need feedback on the software review form, is it good enough.

feedback on the whole idea aslan is also needed, do you feel such articles will be useful, do you feel they'll achieve the goal of encouraging people to contribute?

ramez.hanna's picture

another form

a HOWTO from will be good

title: description: steps: tips: conclusion: links:

the best things in life are free --- so as myself

Ofcourse it'll encourage peop

Ofcourse it'll encourage people to contribute, but we gonna get alot of messy articles if the thing is opened to the public, ofcourse along with useful reviews. "Messy" could range from poorly written articles to trolls

Alaa's picture

different attitude please

please this is exactly the kind of thinking that is killing linux-egypt

the linux open development method allows for many messy patches yet it works, leave it to readers and to those who send comments to decide whats messy and whats not and whats good and whats not.

IMO any in topic contribution should be welcome and encouraged, this is a dynamic website, the article can berefined and edited forever.

as for trolls, this will be taken care of by moderators.

also note that if we get to the situation where recieve hundreds of reviews and feel the need to practice quality control we can use a moderation queue (open to all not just moderators) in the style of Kuru5hin or slashdot (an unlikely situation since the whole setup is different).

the more streamlined the form is, the easier it will be to make a useful article.


maybe i sounded that i don't

maybe i sounded that i don't want it open to the public which i didn't mean. I personally "love" the idea that I can contribute articles and other content without much restrictions (like it being in arabic). maybe we set some recommendations and not rules, like:

  • think before posting the article or review whether it is actually beneficial
  • search to make sure if similar article already exist
  • pass the article through spelling checker before posting

something like the posting guidlines that MaherG wrote. not allowing the public to contribute content is the last thing i wanna see here :D

Alaa's picture

good idea

I like the idea of having suggestions or recommendation for this kind of thing. we should have a link among the help links in all submition dialogs with a set of advisory guidelines.

or we should have a wiki section for discussing such things.

I think the formal rules of the website should be simple and minimal, but puting thoughts and making guidelines that are not rigid and fixed and that are not strictly obligatory would help strengthen the community.

also remember that mods are supposed to work as editors, and that we want to retain community memory for as long as possible, so every dozen comments a mod or the original author should incorporate feedback inside the article.

and BTW I think arabic for articles should be a rule bardo, otherwise we'll be totaly redundant, there are thousands of good websites with english ony content.

so basicaly if you write an article place it in the wiki and start asking for help translating it. for the software reviews and similar stuff we can allow english since it should be farily simple to translate quickly.

what do others think about that?

ramez.hanna's picture

article ratings

i think you also may place a poll on the article and if it receives low ratings (>40%) you remove it i think this way only articles that matter to people will remain

the best things in life are free --- so as myself

Alaa's picture

article rating

drupal has an article moderation system similar to Kuru5hin where users moderate articles to decide if they should get published or not.

I suppose we can use that if everyone thinks its a useful feature.

IMO we don't need such a scheme unless we get too many articles, which won't happen soon.

what would be worth looking at is if a thread rating system can be used in the forum to make more useful threads more visible to new users.

ramez.hanna's picture

more viisible

you mean like in a new block where higher ratings are showed or the "latest articles" to be changed to "articles" with two subtitles "latest articles" and most "best articles"

the best things in life are free --- so as myself

YoussefAssad's picture

Drupal tutorials

Perhaps our people at the Sawy Cultural Center would like to host drupal one hour tutorial sessions?


Alaa's picture

sorry for not updating

sorry folks for nt updating this document, I'm very busy with exams and a b0rked connection.

currently working on bootstrapping the interface translation.

ramez.hanna's picture

- the feature that notified m

- the feature that notified me of replies on my thread in the forum was a great one i think such an option would be very useful here in all the site for the comments one gets on his posts - the colors need to be changed they are كئيبة

the best things in life are free --- so as myself

Alaa's picture

notification is on the way

I configured the mail modules, so notification is on its way. however note that drupal offers multiple methods of tracking changes.

mainly its email notifications like you're used to, but also there is RSS which you can use an aggregator to subscribe to (does not cover comments).

now the cute thing about RSS is we can use scripts to turn RSS into mail and have a mailing list that tracks all new content.

we can also use a mail to nntp gateway and track them over usenet,etc the posibilities are limitless.

as for colors, please help with them tayeb, the whole design will be redone.

so if you could make us a mockup (it doesn't have to be proffesional, just clear) it would be great help.

if you know CSS then just start working on a theme.

cheers, Alaa

RSS ???

al salamo alaykom !

im new to this forum thing and im not exactly sure how im supposed to get a reply or what im supposed to do if i wanna ask questions :(

well, thing is, we're (by we i mean me and the other 2 ppl working on the graduation project) are completely inexperienced when it comes to rss feeds... we never heard about rss until about a month ago... so if anybody can possibly help out with info about that, or any tips we might find useful, or any relevant info id be more than grateful !

p.s. any better ideas for a graduation project (related to web services) is way more than welcome :)))

thanx, randa

YoussefAssad's picture

Mods/Admin Transparency

A quick and easy and, IMO, important thing we can set up.

A forum where moderations (such as whirlpool pulling the Bakkar thing) are reported.

Just quick summary of the event, shouldn't have to get long. For example: POSTED by whirlpool Event: Removed Bakkar Article Reason: Violated Trademarks

You can even just say AUP for AUP violations, &c.


ramez.hanna's picture


how did you add the avatar to the user profile?

the best things in life are free --- so as myself

YoussefAssad's picture

Avatar Mini-HOWTO :)

My account --> edit account

Scroll to the bottom, there should be a text box which says `avatar or picture'.


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