PAA web site content guidelines

Submitted by Bill Crosier on October 2, 2006 - 5:52pm. ::

Here are some suggestions/guidelines for content on the Progressive Action Alliance web site.

If you feel the need to make an exception, or have questions or suggestions, please contact one or all of the PAA web site admins first:
* Charlie Lindahl
* Sarah Gonzales
* Bill Crosier

For all content:

* No video or audio files should be uploaded (with the possible exception of short MP3 audio files). They take a lot of bandwidth and our server can't handle that. If we need this later, we'll have to pay extra for this. Instead of uploading such files, include a link to where people can find it elsewhere on the web along with a short description.

* Minimize the size (resolution) of photos and other images that are on a web page. This means no 1 megapixel images, for example. They take too long to download (especially on dial-up links and cause the entire web page to take too long to load. A good guideline is about 100kB for the maximum size of pictures and graphics (preferably 25 kB or less). For our photo gallery or an attachment to a web page, larger files/resolutions are OK, but it's still best to keep them to 500 kB or so, and be sure to also upload a thumbnail image (small, low-res) for the gallery index.

* For attachments, make sure they are in a universal, non-proprietary format if at all possible. This means no Microsoft or Pagemaker formats, for example. MS Word documents (and Windows executable files like EXE's) are among the worst, as they can also harbor viruses, as well as being unusable by people who don't have MS Word or a Word converter. Plain text is OK. PDF is best for documents where you want to retain the formatting, and these can also include graphics as well as text. If your PDF converter has this as an option, make sure that it embeds fonts with the file, so it will display properly on other computers that may not have the same fonts loaded. (The PDF converter built into the Mac OS X operating system does this automatically, and there are several free PDF converters for Windows XP.) JPG's are fine for photos or other graphics that don't need to be scaled.

* Don't use the Safari web browser for editing event pages -- Civicspace has a bug that keeps it from working properly. We recommend using Firefox, but I think Internet Explorer also works OK.

* Use Civicspace's plain text editor if possible. The HTML (rich-text) editor for events has some bugs in it (apparently affects all browsers). It sometimes won't allow you to unbold text that you previously set to bold, for example. It also puts some extra and unnecessary html tags into the source for the web page, although usually this does not affect the display. I recommend using the plain-text editor (selected by clicking the "disable rich-text" button in most cases. If you are familiar with using html tags, you can still insert html tags and edit them using the plain text editor, and then use Preview to make sure it looks OK. If you go in and edit the HTML code, be sure to use the close (end) tag for any open (start) tag.

* Don't allow content on the PAA web site that says that the Progressive Action Alliance endorses a candidate for political office. We can have stuff like that in our e-mails because they don't go to the entire world, and PAA members are free to endorse whoever they want, but we are not a PAC and we're not supposed to say that we endorse a candidate as an organization. It's OK to post events for candidates, though, as long as we allow other candidates to have the same opportunities to do this. it's also OK for PAA to endorse issues.

* Don't forget to click on "Submit" when you are done entering or editing a web page. No changes will be saved until you click on the "Submit" button at the bottom of the web page for entering or editing the entry. It's best to first Click on "Preview", though, so you can make sure everything looks right, then you can click on Submit. If you forget to hit Submit, then everything you entered will disappear when you close that web page. This can help you, though-- if you are editing a web page and it gets really messed up, just click on the Reload Page button (or select it from the drop down menu) to delete your changes and go back to the previously saved version of the page.

For calendar entries (events):

* Watch for these common problems and either correct them if the right information is supplied, or call the contact person indicated for the event:
- Title isn't descriptive about the event (This is the only thing that appears on the monthly calendar and in the upcoming events list in the right column of our home page.) Vague event titles like "
- Date is the current date (that's the default -- they forgot to enter the date)
- The incorrect event type (Meeting, Fundraiser, Social Event, etc.) is specified (default is "Conference") - Note that you can select more than one type. If this is not specified correctly, the event may not show up during searches for the desired event type.
- There's an extra "http://" entered for the event web site (The Civicspace software inserts this automatically, so if they don't read the instructions and also include "http://" then the link won't work.)
- Address isn't specified properly so the automatic map generator (to help people find the event) won't work. The "street" entry must be either a number and street name (like 1000 Main St.), or an intersection (like Main St. at Congress St.) -- if you say 1/2 mile north of XXX St., it won't work. Also, both the city and state must be specified. Be sure to click on the map link to test it -- some people apparently don't do this for events they enter.

* Don't approve entries that are anonymous and have no contact info (phone number or e-mail address) or web link listed. This is rare, but it happens occasionally. People don't have to provide all of that info, but they should include at least one.