VOC trip agenda instructions

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Revision as of 08:13, 2 March 2011 by Rwburton (talk | contribs) (Max Participants)
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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.


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
  • Members need to make sure their address is accurate, and can be found by google maps (it checks for this during signup)

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.

Wish List

If you wish something worked differently then request it here.

  • Draw map showing carless passengers and available car spaces
  • 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
  • Display information about past trips organized on organizer's extended info page


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.

Max Participants

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.

Actually Going

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.

How to change signup class

Members can themselves to 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. You can't drop down, though - you'll need to communicate with the organizer to do that. They can move you off the list by adding you as "actually going" and then deselecting you again.

Browser Optimization

Mailto links

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).