Stake and Ward Calendars

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rayparkelm
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Stake and Ward Calendars

Postby rayparkelm » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:17 pm

I suspect one reason Stake and Ward Calendars on LDS.org don't get more use is that they are "locked up" deep in the web structure and hard to integrate with other personal calendars. Check out this screen shot from a Church in Memphis. Google calendar, no log on required and super easy to copy events over to personal calendar. We could do a lot worse than just copying this approach.
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jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:15 pm

emccartney wrote:I suspect one reason Stake and Ward Calendars on LDS.org don't get more use is that they are "locked up" deep in the web structure and hard to integrate with other personal calendars.
I would have to disagree that stake and ward calendars are locked up deep in the web structure. A registered member only has to logon to the local unit web site (LUWS) and click the Ward Calendar link on the left of the page. That is hardly deep in the web structure.

Requiring a member to be registered to access unit web site child pages is necessary to protect not only the privacy of the members who's information may end up on those pages as well as protecting from predators, malcontents and detractors of the Church. I hardly find this procedure anything out of the ordinary for any publisher of a website that wants to control access to information they put before the public. If a unit calendar were to be open to the general public then the type of information that could be put on that calendar would have to be limited in such a way as to make the calendar less useful.

I agree that the calendars need to be more user friendly in many aspects. One of the aspects that needs improvement is the import and export capabilities taking into consideration those with little technical skill. Integration with other off-line personal calendars would be a good thing in my opinion; but, integration with online calendars that are visible to the public is another matter. Privacy and protection of sensitive information as well as consideration of the potential use of some information that those with nefarious motives would have is a serious driver in this limitation.

There are other threads that discuss the recommended changes to the calendar aspects of the LUWS. Some of those recommendations directly address the 'friendliness' of the unit calendars. If you do a search on 'ward calendar' you will find many of those threads.

emccartney wrote:Check out this screen shot from a Church in Memphis. Google calendar, no log on required and super easy to copy events over to personal calendar. We could do a lot worse than just copying this approach.
I won't refute the ease in which the information would be for anyone wanting to see this information. But that ease of access is just the concern for much of the information that could potentially end up on such a calendar. I do not want to delve into all the issues involved because I am sure I may, and most likely would, miss some of the most important and sensitive.

Finally, I find that while discussing the limitations of the calendars and making recommendations is useful in bringing out good and productive recommendations we also have to consider the instructions of the brethren when so doing. One such instruction is found in the policy letter Authorized Church Web Sites. As long as such instruction is in effect then we have to work within the bounds set. I do, since I sustain the Prophet and general authorities of the Church..
JD Lessley
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macc-p40
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Postby macc-p40 » Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:00 pm

emccartney wrote:I suspect one reason Stake and Ward Calendars on LDS.org don't get more use is that they are "locked up" deep in the web structure and hard to integrate with other personal calendars.

emccartney is absolutely correct. The inability to subscribe to calendars on lds.org as a feed severely cripples their utility. Who wants to use two separate calendar portals? Interest-group-specific organizational features (such as the lds.org calendars) must integrate to be relevant and useful.

[quote="jdlessley"]Integration with other off-line personal calendars would be a good thing in my opinion]
Very few people make their personal online calendars public to any degree. Concerns about privacy, "malcontents," and "detractors" are misplaced on this issue.

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BigMG-p40
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Accessability

Postby BigMG-p40 » Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:40 pm

Whatever reason used to make this or that less accessible, falling back on the "I follow the prophet" infers that anyone who disagrees does not.

Hardly proper in an open discussion regarding why the user experience in the ward websites is what it is. I recommend viewing Elder Eyrings comments on when leaders disagree. Disagreement is not dissension.;)

On to comments:
About half the respondents to our ward website 'broadcasts' bounce back. At one time or another I've had to help a large portion of the faithful* recover not only their lost passwords, but their user names. Just keeping up with the people who let their accounts go stale is enough.

The user experience is such that with most of the people I help, they complain. These are folks who have to log into MSN, Yahoo, or Google. They aren't that savvy, but would like to check up on things now and again.

To have a calendar that exports more easily to outlook, google, or sunbird, would also help remind people to check in with the ward. The really cool solution would be to integrate it into a dashboard, like most profit driven providers are already doing. I love iGoogle, but there are a dozen others that also have apps for facebook, twitter, youtube--all with plenty of LDS presence.

I think that why we are encouraged to reserve the building, schedule events, and post reminders online is so that everyone can stay informed. To communicate. The fact that too few people are doing this, but are still capable of using other products, may point to the fact that the fault may not be in the stars...

rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:09 pm

Have you tried out the new Local Unit Calendar project? There may be a newer version on the labs site, but http://tech.lds.org/luc will let you see what's coming.

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BigMG-p40
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Thanks

Postby BigMG-p40 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:58 pm

rmrichesjr,
Will give it a shot.

Thanks much!

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Postby scion-p40 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:05 pm

I like Google calendar because I can view everything to which I am subscribed, or hide all but what is important to me. I am blessed to live in a very active stake. However, I don't need to know *every* stake calendared item all the time. Most of the time, I need to see my own ward & one of our YSA ward events. Viewing a calendar with 6-10 events on most every day isn't helpful--it drives people away. It itsn't searchable. There is no apparent way to set certain types of events as hidden (i.e.: hide the other 7 -10 wards in the stake), or be able to "subscribe" to certain things that I always want to see.

Although the calendar is apparently exportable, there is no explanation whatsoever of what to do with the long list of CSV data, for example. This differs from other websites that automatically export to Excel or PDF. It could be useful, but needs directions at the very least.

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Postby lajackson » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:56 pm

scion wrote:Although the calendar is apparently exportable, there is no explanation whatsoever of what to do with the long list of CSV data, for example.


I open the CSV file into Excel and edit it to delete items I do not need, fix repeating events that do not duplicate well, write it back to CSV, and then import it into my Google calendar.

If I have prepared the CSV file the way I want it, I just import it into my main calendar. If I do not have time to do that right away, I just import the CSV into a different Google calendar and edit it there later.

I think you can have up to 25 calendars in Google. Ultimately, I use Google to drive my iPod Touch calendar.

So many people use so many different calendars, that I am not sure it would help to provide an explanation at the LUWS calendar site. While the files that are exported have some problems, they are in very standard formats that are familiar to anyone who moves calendars around from device to device.

rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:06 pm

scion wrote:I like Google calendar because I can view everything to which I am subscribed, or hide all but what is important to me. I am blessed to live in a very active stake. However, I don't need to know *every* stake calendared item all the time. Most of the time, I need to see my own ward & one of our YSA ward events. Viewing a calendar with 6-10 events on most every day isn't helpful--it drives people away. It itsn't searchable. There is no apparent way to set certain types of events as hidden (i.e.: hide the other 7 -10 wards in the stake), or be able to "subscribe" to certain things that I always want to see.

Although the calendar is apparently exportable, there is no explanation whatsoever of what to do with the long list of CSV data, for example. This differs from other websites that automatically export to Excel or PDF. It could be useful, but needs directions at the very least.


At least a couple of months ago when I was helping a bit on the LUC, each user could subscribe to exactly the calendar feeds (YW, Priests, YW, RS, scouts, activities, etc.) he/she wanted. I tried to verify it at http://tech.lds.org/luc just now, but I'm getting a ConnectException. That said, I haven't used exporting myself, so I don't know whether subscriptions take effect in exports.

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Postby kd7mha » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:03 am

rmrichesjr wrote:At least a couple of months ago when I was helping a bit on the LUC, each user could subscribe to exactly the calendar feeds (YW, Priests, YW, RS, scouts, activities, etc.) he/she wanted. I tried to verify it at http://tech.lds.org/luc just now, but I'm getting a ConnectException. That said, I haven't used exporting myself, so I don't know whether subscriptions take effect in exports.


I have used the export feature on the labs site, when you select the export option you are presented with a private address (iCal) that you can use to feed your personal calendar, it will feed all of your subscribed calendars
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