Archive:Exec report - VOCene Editor 2007 - 2008

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VOCene Editor: Scott Webster

Ok, so here is my "how to" on being the VOCene editor. Basically you just have to write the VOCene and then send it out and post it on the website. Pretty easy right? Well, yeah, basically.

So, your first task is to write the newsletter. I recommend that you use a similar design to the past VOCenes (check the website for examples) where there is a table of contents at the top, with organized sections below. At the bottom you should have some contact info and tell people how to unsubscribe. They can do this themselves in their membership preferences on the website.

To find the content for the VOCene you should:

  • Go to the exec meeting. Hopefully it will be midweek and you can ask people what they want included and you can send it out soon after.
  • Read the wiki (especially the trip agenda).
  • Watch the message board (especially the trips board).
  • Keep track of the emails that you get (often sent to, should be set up to redirect to you).

I think the email should be in plain text, so that it shows up well on pretty much everyone's email program. You might have to play around with the line breaks to make sure it doesn't all show up on one big long line for people. Probably certain people (like me) will complain if this happens. I had success using emacs and the auto-fill-mode.

I recommend against sending any more than one email per week except in exceptional circumstances. Some people are picky about their email and will be annoyed if you send them too much. You also need to decide what to include in the VOCene. Sometimes people will request that you put something in that does not belong. You'll have to figure this out and reply to people explaining your decision. You can ask the rest of the exec for advice on this. Usually this isn't that big of a deal (you probably won't get TOO many requests) and you can publish most things.

Once you have your VOCene prepared you need to email it out and post it on the website. I always posted it on the website first, because once I could see it there I often noticed a bunch of mistakes that I didn't see before. To do this you have to be an "admin" on the website. Chris Michalak should take care of this. Then you just click on the "admin" section of the website (link in red at bottom left) and choose to upload a VOCene or meeting minutes. Choose VOCene on the next page, make sure you get the date right and enter a title. Probably nice to number the VOCenes in some logical fashion. Paste in the text and hit submit. Then you need to confirm at the bottom of the page. There are often some formatting quirks on this screen, so I found it easiest to just always confirm, then go read the VOCene at the regular VOCene spot and if I found a problem I just deleted the document and reposted it (you will be able to delete the documents since you are an admin, you just click the link at the bottom of the document in question).

Ok, so, now the VOCene should be posted on the website and you can send it to both the members and alumni! All you have to do is send the message to the voc-members and voc-alumni mailing lists, both hosted by You need to be an admin of the lists to do this, again probably best to ask Chris Michalak for help here.

Every time you send out the VOCene you'll probably get a whole ton of bounced email messages since lots of people don't keep their email up to date or it was entered into the database wrong. You can try to figure out if their email is wrong by looking in the member list (maybe an obvious typo) and you can always fix it yourself by editing their member info since you should be an admin on the website. You can also unsubscribe them from the list by changing their member preferences if you don't want to get the bounce messages... but probably you should only do this if you are sure their account is dead and not just that their mailbox is temporarily full.

I think that is pretty much it. Feel free to ask me any questions.



Added by Roland Burton, fall of 2008

I did a sporadic summer VOCene because I figured it might be fun, and it might keep the Members in touch. I decided to not describe things that had already happened as that just makes us sad that we missed them, but your results may differ on this. I tried very hard to avoid publishing things that had already happened. I tried to liven up the thing by including a "Ms Manners" section, and it was mostly well received. Getting input from Members is mostly difficult, and needs to be encouraged. Letting the Members know what the Exec has on their minds, is also worth while.

My procedure for publishing this thing is as follows;

1) Using Linux, prepare a plain-text file (no html). 2) Email it to myself and look at it to correct line breaks, add missing words, fix spelling. 3) Take the received version and send it to the members and to the alumni 4) File a copy in the VOC Archive. Do this last because otherwise you may get strange punctuation artefacts inserted into the message and they look bad.

Good Luck. ...Roland