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Re: LoCo Portal Planning Meeting on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 from 21:00 to 22:00 UTC


On Mon, 2016-02-15 at 15:28 -0600, Simon Quigley wrote:
> Greetings,
> My name is Simon Quigley and I am the leader for the Ubuntu US
> Wisconsin Local Community team. Recently I noticed that the LoCo
> Portal, located at loco.ubuntu.com, hasn't received much development
> lately. I spoke to a few individuals about this and we have decided
> to
> have a meeting to plan further development of the portal. Our goal is
> to get feature requests, bug reports, and a community prepared for
> further development.

Hi tsimonq2,

Sadly, I have a conflicting engagement, so here's my feedback.

Question: Is it worth the effort to maintain the LoCo portal as a
separate website?

- It's hard for new enthusiasts to discover the site. When I search for
"Ubuntu Wisconsin", the team wiki is the first hit. The LoCo portal is

- Once a new enthusiast finds the link to their LoCo and sees the list
of upcoming events, I see no compelling reason for them to return. I
see LoCos using their own tools for continuing contact. Wisconsin, for
example, uses an online calendar (with other LUGs) and the wiki and the
mailing list.

While it's fun for me in Wisconsin to see the Ubuntu Hours in Paris,
it's value seems entirely entertainment. If I'm traveling to Paris and
want to go to an Ubuntu Hour, my favorite search engine will happily
point me to the appropriate wiki page.

- LoCos must expend effort to use the site...which duplicates their
existing wiki, mailing list, and other channels. Any new code should
*reduce* that duplication or administrative burden. 

- The inability of the portal to help us coordinate and cooperate with
other LUGs in our territory is a hindrance. In the Wisconsin example,
the Milwaukee LUG (not the LoCo) is running an UpgradeFest to celebrate
16.04's release, so the Ubuntu event is not listed in the portal.

- I do not recall seeing LoCo portal wishlist items in any of the
venues that I frequent. Maybe I missed it; I'm not omniscient. But new
users don't seem to be clamoring for LoCo portal improvements.

As an Ubuntu Member, I completely understand the attraction of bolting
new code onto an existing system. I love doing that, too (Find-a-Task).

However, long-timers can also rattle off other well-coded projects that
fizzled (Ubuntu Brainstorm, Ubuntu Accomplishments) due to fundamental
flaws in the concept or design.

The LoCo portal is *beautiful* website, and everyone who put it
together should be justly proud of it. I think the conceptual flaw in
the LoCo portal is having it be a separate website. I think LoCo
referrals and event listings should take place in active new-enthusiast
venues. When we make them leave for a new site, we (unintentionally)
create an unnecessary barrier to entry.

When you are looking at alternatives, consider shifting from a separate
site to using other pieces of existing infrastructure.

Here's one conceptual example. (Conceptual, not intended to be

1) LoCo map moves to community.ubuntu.com

2) Teams list their events on their team wiki, in a format specified by the LoCo Council so it can be aggregated by a tool

3) Optional: An aggregating tool compiles worldwide events (and minutes and logs and other data) from the wiki for the LoCo Council's needs.

4) Optional: The same aggregating tool can perhaps prepare a summary of upcoming events to post in Forums, G+, Reddit, and other venues. The sneaky real purpose is recruiting: To remind venue users about LoCos and pique their interest.