VOC trip agenda instructions
Ever since he ran his first trip and spent hours cutting and pasting emails from the member list, not to mention trying to figure out which "Joe" had indicated interest in it, Veenstra has been dreaming of some sort of signup tool which interacts with the member database... His first attempt at it went online 2 March 2011 and is currently stretching it's legs in the "real" virtual world after months of partial existence on a home laptop. You can go to it here.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Instructions
- 2.1 How it works
- 2.2 How to list an event
- 2.3 Max Participants
- 2.4 What's the difference between "Interested", "Committed" and "Actually Going"
- 3 Browser Optimization
- 4 Known problems (bug reports)
There are two sets of tools the Trip Agenda and the VOC signup tool. It will not replace the wiki or message board - these are too flexible to be replaced - but it will work in parallel with them.
The Trip Agenda is very similar to the old trip agenda on the wiki - It stores information like the trip name, start time, pre-trip time, a little blurb, links, etc. displaying upcoming trips and automatically moving past ones to an archive. All members are able to add new events (doesn't have to only be trips), and the creator of an event can later modify it (or even give it away to another member). The creator could choose to use the VOC signup tool for one of their events, if they like. This will allow members to sign up for a trip at the click of a button, under a variety of participant management schemes.
- Trip Agenda is updated automatically.
- Create links easily, by just cutting and pasting the entire URL - no need to learn wiki or MB formatting.
- Many trip wiki pages are currently generated by cut copying and pasting an old wiki page and adding a new signup section. For trips like this it should be possible to create a more-or-less static "generic" wiki page describing the route details, objectives, etc. and just create trip agenda entries with signup enabled which link to that static page for further details.
- Allow members to sign themselves up as "interested", "committed", or "actually going" (organizer can choose any or all to be allowed)
- For "actually going" signup it is possible to allow only the organizer or the exec (or any combination) to sign members up.
- Generate wiki-formatted text to cut and paste into a wiki page.
- Create various email lists of participants automatically.
- Drivers and the organizer can arrange rides at any time (but passengers cannot - they will need to email drivers).
- When arranging rides you can see a map showing carless passengers and available car spaces.
- Google maps pickup directions for drivers are generated automatically.
- Email everybody in a car automatically.
- For one, there are probably still some bugs.
- It is (possibly) more complicated to use, but I guess you'll have to try and see.
- It is restrictive, compared to the wiki (but, of course, you are probably still creating a wiki page - only the agenda is replaced outright)
- Members need to make sure their address is accurate, and can be found by google maps (it checks for this during signup)
For the most part things are fairly self-explanatory, just give it a try and see how it goes. If something is giving you trouble, post about it on the message board thread and the answer will get placed here for future people to benefit from.
There is a link to create new trip agenda pages in the header on every trip agenda page. The main trip agenda listing takes you to the public-viewable details page, where you can see all the wonderful details entered by the organizer as well as sign up for the trip (if the trip has a signup). From the details page you can also navigate to the members-only functions page, which lets you email others on the trip and has links to edit the event details, arrange rides, generate wiki text, and mark people as going (depending on what permissions you have). Other interesting features will be added to this page, as they are invented.
How it works
The Trip Agenda listing (both past and upcoming) is publicly viewable, and contains links to a Details page for each trip. If there are wiki pages, message board posts, or external links these are also included.
The Details page is also publicly viewable, and contains more details (if the organizer filled them in) any links the organizer included, the organizer's email address as well as a link the the members-only Functions page. If the organizer is using the signup tool then there will be a signup list shown on this page as well as buttons which allow members to signup for the trip.
The Functions page is members-only, and is where you will find all the special additions which interact with the membership database. Edit your participation entry, email trip participants, drivers, etc. and follow links to other special pages (like ride sorting, or a printable list of names/phone numbers).
How to list an event
In the header for every page on the trip agenda (which you can enter from the "Trip Agenda" link on the sidebar) there is a link which reads: "Members can insert new events into the calendar and signup for trips, but please read the instructions before posting." You guessed it, follow the link. If you are not a VOC member but are interested in running a trip for us you probably at least know somebody in the club... they can post for you. Otherwise you can contact the current year's Trips Coordinator and they will be happy to help you out.
Once there there are only 3 required fields:
- Organizer membership ID: default comes up as your own, but you can change it to "give away" the trip to another member
- Trip/Event Name: fairly self-explanatory
- Start Date/Time: also fairly self-explanatory
After that if you'd like to stick close to the old system it's then as simple as copying the address for the trip's wiki page into the "wiki url" field. If you're really keen you can also fill out the "message board url" field.
How to edit an event
Only the trip organizer (or admin) can edit an event. If you're allowed, it will appear on the list of links on the "Functions" page. Don't forget to push "update" when done.
How to create a new wiki page, with no trip agenda
This is still possible - just guess the URL and you will be brought to the familiar "this page doesn't exist, why don't you create it" page.
or similar ought to do it.
This field doesn't actually do anything - it's just there for people's information. This was chosen because the number of people who actually show up for a trip often ends up being quite fluid, and a hard stop or a dedicated "wait list" seemed like it was promising too much. The order you sign up in is preserved, but in reality somebody from lower on the list might end up being the one actually on the trip (say, because by bringing that car they own, it allows more people to actually come).
What's the difference between "Interested", "Committed" and "Actually Going"
To some extent this is up to the trip organizer, the final call will always be up to them and you should ask them to clarify what they mean. Probably they will only turn on 1 of either Interested or Committed, and they might turn them on at different times. However the general idea in Veenstra's mind when programming it and deciding on three levels was as follows:
Use this so that people can show they are interested, pre-answer questions like "how many people can you drive", verify that their address is correct and become easier to email and mark as "going" but you won't hold it against them if they never show up to the pre-trip meeting or otherwise disappear off the face of the earth.
It's anticipated that probably this is what most people will use for most trips.
All the advantages of showing interest, but also showing commitment. Potential signups are shown the message: You are about to sign up as committed. This means you really want to be on this trip above all others: You've booked the time off work, made sure you have no pressing assignments, are prepared to pay any course costs, etc. If you decide to bail people will be dissapointed, and might hold it against you... Of course, you might still not make it on, if the trip happens to be full.
It's anticipated that this will be used mostly for trip where a cost is involved, and somebody will be out if you don't show up. For example, maybe the club is trying to book a wilderness first-aid course, and needs to know how many people are willing to actually purchase a spot before putting down a cash deposit to book the course. Or possibly for trips which are expected to fill up fast, like Glacier School.
Fairly obvious: you're paid up, going for sure, etc. For most trips only the trip organizer (or possibly the exec) will be able to sign you up as "actually going", to make sure that you actually communicate with each other, have paid, etc. It is still possible to let members sign themselves up, however.
Changing signup class
Members can themselves migrate to a "higher" class (ie. from interested to committed), assuming that higher class is allowed, by just clicking on that button on the details/signup page. They can also "bail" from any class. Once "bailed" from either "committed" or "going" that remains in the records, and cannot be removed (trying to signup again is still possible, and will create a new record). "Not interested anymore" (ie. bailing from "interested") isn't really bailing, per se, so you can still move back up to a higher class from there.
Most people never bother to change what their browser does with mailto links, and leave it on some frustrating default whereby it launches up the system default mail client which you've probably never even used. But life doesn't have to be this way... for example you can make Gmail the default thing to do with mailto links. Just ask the internet about it and I'm sure you can figure it out. In firefox it's under Preferences->Applications.
Searching huge lists of people
Searching large amounts of text is what computers are made for. In firefox you can even simply press "/" to get started (assuming you are not typing in a text box).
Known problems (bug reports)
If you find any bugs - things not working the way it should, please report them here and email Veenstra about it so he can fix it.
A # symbol in the addresses causes markers not to be drawn
The server is not on PST, so signups open and close when you don't expect.
WTF happened to Scott Nelson's participant table id? It's 13 but appears as 0 in the driver page somehow...
If there are no drivers signed up the "drivers" page generates an sql error...
fix timezone problem in a way compatible with php4, you know, the version the server actually runs.
Inserting a % sign into questions or blurb screws it up on the edit page.
Having "going" turned off seems to screw up the edit page, look near line 86
- small maps on driver's page show google's "guesses" (e.g. centre of vancouver) when it can't find an address (rather than an obvious error notice) This will be a tough one. Might be more of a human-engineering problem.
printable list doesn't work (sql errors)
link to organizer's extended info on functions page is broken.
It should generate an error message if any end times are before start times.
Checkbox for drivers should be moved on the edit participation page.
not all links to the printable list page work, some don't seem to point to the members section and give a 404 error, fixed?
details and signup links from user profile pages 404
Signup2.php is missing trip reference - claims signup tools are not enabled, even when they are.
Printable List page has a link back to the "Functions Page". This text should read "signup page" since that's the new name
- On the drivers page addresses may map to Vancouver WA, not Vancouver BC (example)
Things which are not bugs
- I can bail on a past trip
- I think it's appropriate to be able to switch to bailed on a past trip. Maybe you bailed early in the morning, and the trip has already switched over, or are just trying to be honest after the fact. If people actually use it it will improve the quality of data which the trip tool will accumulate.
The look/feel of the page (and spelling errors) are important too, but perhaps not "bugs". These "problems" tend to be easier to fix. List that stuff here.
Congradulations -> Congratulations (appears after inserting a new trip, among others)
Manditory -> Mandatory (when inserting new trip)
When signing up as interested, suggest moving the checkbox for "I have a vehicle and am willing to drive" to the left of the text, which is the more usual location for a checkbox.
Markgoing "not allowed page" has a reference to the "Details page" instead of signup page.
- Some suggestions to reduce clutter and improve readability
- Make page title for all pages just the trip title. This would make the top half of all pages static - they won't change as you click links
- Put the trip dates beside and to the right of the title at the top. This is very important information
- If the signup open/close dates have passed, just print "signup open now" or "signup closed" instead of the expired date. (Future dates are still useful)
- make open/close dates for signup buttons less prominent. Maybe put all the open/close dates for all types of signup into a compact table in a less prominent location on the page (i.e. at the bottom or on the right). This table should also include a note if only the trip organizer can sign you up as going (instead of dates for self signup). The main feature should be the buttons themselves. The text on the button "sign me up as interested" is self explanatory.
- Change "The organizer has indicated that the largest group they are comfortable with is" to "Maximum Group Size:"
- Remove all the text describing what "Maximum Group Size" really means and transfer it to this wiki page.
- Print nothing at all for empty lists (not even the list title) for empty lists instead of "this list is currently empty".
- Move drivers page directions to this wiki page
- Print nothing instead of "This trip does not have an associated Wiki Page."
- Remove text "Due to privacy concerns, the sigup list has been moved to a members-only page. Check the second item in the links list near the top of this page." and put the explanation on this wiki page
- Remove the word "time" from "start time" and "end time". The trip organizer may not have specified a time.
- If the trip organizer has not specified particular start and end times, display only the start and end dates.
- Move bug fixes / wish list from this page to Talk:VOC trip agenda instructions or to another wiki page.
- It's not clear whether the start time is when you start driving or when you start hiking/skiing/climbing. If the former, maybe change it to "departure"
If you wish something worked differently then request it here.
Draw map showing carless passengers and available car spaces
Display information about past trips organized on organizer's extended info page
on the create trip page ideally signup information wouldn't appear unless you click "yes" for signup tools
little clickable popup text windows explaining how to use it would be good
committed should maybe not be turned on by default?
drivers should not be able to edit other people's cars?
on the trip edit page, candrive should be a checkbox to prevent people from interpreting it as the number of required cars
Generate a printable list of participants
Have "To:" fields in emails contain full names of participants, e.g. "Joe Blow <[email protected]>"
Separate lists by month
more descriptive field labels on the "edit" page
Put data in a table on the trip agenda page with separate columns for date, trip name, links to make it more readable.The printable trip participant list should probably be a table as well.
if user puts "midnight" as trip start/finish time (ie - they don't actually enter a time, or deleted it) it should be hidden. Probably what they meant.
if start and end times are the same day only 1 should appear in the upcoming list.
- add carname and capacity to the membership database
- Make interactive driver/passenger map
- Make it possible for new entries to automatically start a message board thread
- Make it possible for new entries to automatically create a wiki page
Bail button to remove yourself from the trip.
if max participants is "0" it should be hidden, as that's what the user probably meant
- use historical bailing data to assign each user a "bail factor," visible on their profile page
- auto-bail functionality to remove yourself from other trips when you commit to another one
- warning messages when you become interested in multiple trips for overlapping time frames
- an option to get the trip agenda formatted for the VOCene - this can be used by the VOCene editor as a base for the VOCene. This option should be available just for admins/execs.
- when adding a new trip, have a checkbox for "Sign me up for the trip", which will by default be checked. This saves the trip organizer from having to sign up, but still allows them not to sign up if for some reason they won't be attending (could happen).
- Add trip date to all associated trip pages, most importantly the sign-up page.
- Ability to add non-members to trips.
Wishes that probably won't be granted
- make mailto: links not email me (the emailer)
- This is a more difficult problem than it appears... it can't be done via the link itself (unless you configure your own browser to ignore mailto links to yourself, but this is not a standard option). The mailto links could be made not to include the email address of the person logged in, but in households with multiple VOC members (or the clubroom computer which often remains logged in) this could result in people (the person logged in) being accidentally left off an email chain. So, if it bothers you to receive that email from yourself you'll have to delete it from the to: field. For now.