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Msg# 3426

Voting Website stuff Posted by Anthony Holder February 09, 2005 - 1:55:55 Topic ID# 3426
Hey all,

Thank you for checking out the site and making comments.

I have a few of my own. I've generally separated topics with a ---- at
the beginning of the section.

First, I can do quite a bit, but may not be able to do everything you
all want, due to time or knowhow. I'll certainly try, though.

Second, I don't mind nit-picking. That's actually the best way to get
things figured out, sometimes.

That said, I'll explain my point of view on a few things.

I thought that nominators could contact the authors and get permission
and ask about the suggested categories. Thus, I have a place in the
story nomination form to copy/paste the author's emails giving his
permission, and his suggested categories, for documentation purposes.

As the system stands, the nominator, author, and admins are allowed to
edit a given story. I guess I'm assuming that a nominator will leave
the suggested categories blank unless they have that email, and that
nominators are trusted to follow the rules.

Right now, I don't have a separate 'Author Contactor' type user with
special permissions. I can add it, but will have to edit the data entry
form in that case, if you want to disallow nominators from assigning
categories. I want to add Author Contactor in any case, so there's
something between a regular user and a full admin, but is there a
reason not to allow the nominator to do the leg work if they choose to
do so?

Also, when an author is created, they are a user, but at present, that
user is not listed as a MEFA Member, and cannot actually log in. I am
now allowing them to log in if they're an author, but not to do
anything except edit their stories (until they join MEFA, at which time
they will be converted to full members by the admin). This change is on
my development system and hasn't been uploaded to the demo site yet.

My understanding is that MEFA membership is determined by membership in
the Yahoo! group, and I am assuming that this voting site will
essentially have a reflection of the member list.

If I'm going to send an email to the authors when their stories are
nominated, I'll have to change it to select a random password, rather
than just putting Author in front of their name, which is a bit easy to
hack. I think I can figure this one out. I should be able to send an
email containing the information and some links to the MEFA sites. Just
let me know what the email should say. Should the email be sent to
every author, or just to authors that are new to the group? I'm hoping
you say everybody.

I put the 'add an author' where it is, because it is right next to the
pop-up menu with the full list of possible authors. I want people to
check the list before adding a new author, and this makes it pretty
easy to do. Anyway, you only really need to add an author when you're
trying to nominate a story. When you add an author, did you notice that
it takes you to the 'new story' page, with the author already filled
in. I felt this was a good design.

Remember that all the MEFA members will be added to the member list
before nomination season, and my understanding is that many of the
authors are already on that list.

Story Types, award categories, and suggested categories are something
that the admin can edit, and do not require any change to the code. I
thought about how to do the drabble/poem/vignette, and ended up with a
system that requires a bit of duplication. They have to be separate
voting categories, but to be able to sort by just those items, I needed
a separate field for story type. Also, there is a separate list of
suggested categories from final categories. If the admins choose, they
can eliminate all subcategories from the suggested categories (to avoid
confusion), and just assign them to the proper award category during
check ballots season. This is something that the admins can decide and
do without requiring any change to the system.

I haven't done any work at all on how to post the votes to the Yahoo!
group. I have some ideas, but am not sure yet. What I expect to do is
something like the following:

Create a separate page for the admins (or helpers) to be able to
manually post finalized reviews.

The page would be able to post reviews according to some grouping
mechanism. Either the three broad categories, as you have described
(Races/Places, Genres, Books/Time), or even by Main Category.

The page would tell the admin (or helper) when the last time reviews
for that category were posted, and how many reviews were ready to post.
After posting, the 'last posted' time would be updated, and the reviews
would be posted.

The reviews would probably be posted as a single email (or maybe one
per Main Category or subcategory, as desired). Some plain text/ascii
formatting would be required to indicate the story, author, and
reviewer, and then the actual review would be posted.

This will require some manual work, but I'd rather not automate that
process, as it requires something outside the web-based system, and I
think that this will work nicely. Of course, all the reviews will be
available on the website as soon as they are finalized, but may not be
posted for a day or two, waiting for the admin/helper.

Once we figure out how to do the posting (some combination of what I
can do and what you want me to do!), we'll update the FAQ to reflect
that, and explain the difference between availability on the website
and posting to the Yahoo! group.

Fortunately, this part doesn't have to be done until Voting season
starts, so I have a bit more time to work on it, unless you want to
start voting season earlier because the site is doing the counting and
sorting. (By the way, I can't remember what the new schedule is. Can
someone send it to me?)

Can someone take charge of deciding how to run a test? I want to do
one, using one or more categories from the 2004 awards, and having the
stories all nominated and all the reviews copied in. I'll clear all the
stories and reviews from the database before the test, and someone will
have to create all the required users (I may be able to open up
creating users to anybody for the testing, to make it easier). I need
someone to choose a category and make sure all the testers know which
data to enter, and what the results should be, etc.

Once the stories and reviews are entered, we'll see if the counting
matches the 2004 counts (accounting for minor differences due to the

Oh, and if there's anything that needs to be added or removed from the
whitelist, let me know.