Suggestions

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
jonejam2
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Suggestions

Postby jonejam2 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:10 am

1. Is it possible to "require" members to add an Area Code to their phone number when entering it. Many simply enter the xxx-xxxx number but do not add an area code. This plays havoc on the App's that will autodial a member from a smart phone using information in MLS.

2. In the callings section of MLS, you have a listing of callings and a check mark as to whether the member was set apart or not. It seems a third option is necessary - "Not Required". Some non-standard callings "HT District Supervisor" I think is one of them in my ward.

Any thoughts on these?
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:01 am

jonejam2 wrote:1. Is it possible to "require" members to add an Area Code to their phone number when entering it. Many simply enter the xxx-xxxx number but do not add an area code. This plays havoc on the App's that will autodial a member from a smart phone using information in MLS.


Standardizing phone numbers in MLS has been discussed many times on the forum. See, for example, these threads:

Now that members can enter numbers themselves via the Directory on lds.org, this is an even bigger concern.

jonejam2 wrote:2. In the callings section of MLS, you have a listing of callings and a check mark as to whether the member was set apart or not. It seems a third option is necessary - "Not Required". Some non-standard callings "HT District Supervisor" I think is one of them in my ward.


This basic idea was discussed in the thread Assignment vs Calling. So you're not alone in thinking this distinction could be helpful.
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

JamesAnderson
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Postby JamesAnderson » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:36 am

It should be noted that in more and more areas, it is required to dial an area code in the US. Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, all of Maryland, Salt Lake, Atlanta, some areas in Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, etc., they overlay codes so to even dial another phone in the house, you have to dial the area code, and even there the area code could be different!

Freedom55
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Postby Freedom55 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:12 am

Standardization of phone numbers is also a concern in our area. I've made it a practise to do a phone number print-out whenever I meet with a ward clerk. I then highlite the non-standard numbers and ask the WC to correct them in the ward MLS. So far we've seen a real improvement.

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:32 pm

Freedom55 wrote:Standardization of phone numbers is also a concern in our area. I've made it a practise to do a phone number print-out whenever I meet with a ward clerk. I then highlite the non-standard numbers and ask the WC to correct them in the ward MLS. So far we've seen a real improvement.
So how does the ward clerk know what telephone area code to assign to a number? He doesn't. He has to hunt down the member and ask. For inactive members or those who don't attend meetings regularly this means going to their home. In the US, with cell phones any area code is possible because of portability of the number anywhere in the US. When a member makes a change in the directory on-line and does not include an area code this makes additional work for the clerk. A better solution would be the requirement that the area code be included in all telephone numbers for the US. I know that making this a requirement for all Church directories is not possible because of formatting differences in other parts of the world. But when an address is in the US there could be a check for the area code.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:04 am

jdlessley wrote:A better solution would be the requirement that the area code be included in all telephone numbers for the US.

I wholeheartedly agree.
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

davesudweeks
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Postby davesudweeks » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:58 am

jdlessley wrote:A better solution would be the requirement that the area code be included in all telephone numbers for the US.


Not to be contrary, but I must disagree with this suggested course of action. We already have several areas in MLS were partial information is not allowed, which places a higher burdon on the WC than allowing partial information that can be entered, researched, and updated later. I agree that when members update their information online, they should be required to add the Area code (though I shudder to think all the variations that will be entered that we will have to fix anyway), not in MLS. If I only have the Phone Number without the area code, wouldn't it be better to put what I have in MLS rather than nothing? Getting the area code is easier than having no phone number listed at all, in my opinion.

We just went to "Area Code required" about a month ago - I have been preparing for it a little at a time for a year so it was a non-issue for our ward. My advice to the WC in the other ward in our bldg went unheeded (he came over a couple of weeks ago and admitted that he should have followed my suggestion - now he gets to fix telephone numbers for almost 300 families...).

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:16 am

davesudweeks wrote:...though I shudder to think all the variations that will be entered that we will have to fix anyway...

True, but not if they automatically change the phone number field to a structured one for countries that are recognized as having such. For others they can continue to leave the field open, forcing the clerk sort it out later.

Even something simple, like a note under (or next to) the phone field that said, "For the US, Canada, and territories, please use the format xxx-xxx-xxxx", would probably help immensely.
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:57 am

Adding a prompt or editing mask in MLS would no longer be sufficient because the new lds.org website gives members the ability to edit their own phone numbers and email addresses online. These changes propagate down to MLS.

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:35 pm

RossEvans wrote:Adding a prompt or editing mask in MLS would no longer be sufficient because the new lds.org website gives members the ability to edit their own phone numbers and email addresses online. These changes propagate down to MLS.

I'm talking specifically about the new lds.org Directory Tool. IMO, the user-editable phone number field should be changed from a generic free-form field to one with structure, based on the country of residence.
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.


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