HT/VT Application Project Description

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brado426
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Postby brado426 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 1:33 am

dkjorgi wrote:I do like this but I guess we are still relying on the HT's logging their visits throughout the month.


Actually, Home/Visiting Teachers, Supervisors, and Presidency Members collaborating together to log the visits throughout the month. This methodology encourages teamwork.

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Postby scion-p40 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:02 am

RussellHltn wrote:Email is a means of communication where the sender and receiver don't have to be available at the same time. If a standardized mail was sent out, filled out, and returned, it would be possible to automate the gathering and summarizing of data. E-mail side-steps the need for a non-church web server and the issues that go with it.

It's even possible to send out a PDF form, have the users fill it out and the data emailed back for tabulation. However, that probably takes more software then most folks would be willing to buy.

I'm simply seeing if there's another way to achieve the desired end.


Communication is only part of the issue at hand. Analysis and interpretation are also needed. Without that, since God already *knows* whether or not the HT/VT happened, why report it? Tools to help effectiveness differ from reporting tools.

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Postby russellhltn » Sun Jul 05, 2009 1:34 pm

scion wrote:Analysis and interpretation are also needed.


Correct. It would take a program to parse the emails to gather the information and present it.

But by doing it via email, it can be done completely within a leader's PC. There is no website that creates issues with the church website policy, and there's no information being stored on a 3rd party server. Doing it by email is not the most optimal technology, but it does get around a number of issues confronting the current efforts.
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Postby scion-p40 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:19 pm

" . . . it can be done completely within a leader's PC. . . ."

Which lacks the community visibility (for those with the responsibility) that R&R established. One person's computer v. access by all involved parties. This is another difference--unless all R&R email needs to go to multiple individual users who also have this other software installed.

And, to stay strictly within the box, I suppose none of this email can reside on a third party server, either. That takes all of those who prefer to use hotmail, yahoo, etc. out of the loop, too.

It also means installing yet another program, which non-techies are more reluctant to do. That's one more thing to maintain and another possible program to crash or have problems using.

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Postby russellhltn » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:44 pm

scion wrote:Which lacks the community visibility (for those with the responsibility) that R&R established. One person's computer v. access by all involved parties.


That can be resolved by periodic dissemination of the results.

Again, not ideal, but I believe it answers the concerns raised by RAR's approach. At our level, we have no say over policy. So we have to bend the technology to comply.
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Postby brado426 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:32 pm

RussellHltn wrote:That can be resolved by periodic dissemination of the results.

Again, not ideal, but I believe it answers the concerns raised by RAR's approach. At our level, we have no say over policy. So we have to bend the technology to comply.


Sorry, but in my opinion, an Email-only situation is more than just not ideal. In my view, it eliminates 80% of the benefit of what we are trying to provide here.

Brad O.

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Postby mkmurray » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:39 pm

Brad O. wrote:Sorry, but in my opinion, an Email-only situation is more than just not ideal. In my view, it eliminates 80% of the benefit of what we are trying to provide here.

Brad O.

Well there's really only two approaches you can take if you're unable to achieve the Church seeing things your way.

The first option would be to just accept whatever the Church's outline for version 1 of the HT/VT app and wait for them to come around to your point of view in a later revision.

The second option would be to find an approved, less-ideal alternative in the mean time that would get you closer to the benefits of RaR that what is currently outlined.

I think you misunderstand what Russell is trying to accomplish, and that is to engage in a little brainstorming here in regard to option 2.
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Postby brado426 » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:45 pm

mkmurray wrote:Well there's really only two approaches you can take if you're unable to achieve the Church seeing things your way.

The first option would be to just accept whatever the Church's outline for version 1 of the HT/VT app and wait for them to come around to your point of view in a later revision.

The second option would be to find an approved, less-ideal alternative in the mean time that would get you closer to the benefits of RaR that what is currently outlined.

I think you misunderstand what Russell is trying to accomplish, and that is to engage in a little brainstorming here in regard to option 2.


I fully understand what Russell is trying to accomplish and I appreciate it. However, we've been down this road before several times.

There is also a third option, which I'm not going to get into on this forum.

Brad O.

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Postby russellhltn » Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:23 am

Brad O. wrote:Sorry, but in my opinion, an Email-only situation is more than just not ideal. In my view, it eliminates 80% of the benefit of what we are trying to provide here.


I've gone back and re-read at the benefits you've listed earlier in the thread. Clunky, but still seems possible. I'm still trying to understand. What are the critical benefits to the website that simply can't be duplicated via email?

The hard part is going to be coming up with a challenge/response methodology that can be automatically scanned and tabulated while still working with a wide verity of email systems and clients.
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Postby brado426 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:33 am

RussellHltn wrote:I've gone back and re-read at the benefits you've listed earlier in the thread. Clunky, but still seems possible. I'm still trying to understand. What are the critical benefits to the website that simply can't be duplicated via email?

The hard part is going to be coming up with a challenge/response methodology that can be automatically scanned and tabulated while still working with a wide verity of email systems and clients.


Ok, let's say we came up with a reliable way to allow a Presidency member to send Emails from his or her local PC and parse through the responses that were returned. These are some of the benefits [off the top of my head] that are lost in this scenario:

  • Only one member of the Presidency would be able to access the data. One of the key benefits of the website is that we do not rely on just one member of the Presidency to ensure that the reporting data is populated every month. Without centralized data, the burden of collecting the data every month must fall on one person because the other Presidency members would have no access to the data to do their job. Instead of helping to increase collaboration between Presidency members, this decreases the likelihood of collaboration.
  • When reporting their home/visiting teaching, companions would not have any visiblity as to whether their companion has already reported. Therefore, if this potential "stand-alone" system received a report from a companion after the other companion has already reported, it would not be able to accurately replace previously reported information. There is no solution to this except centralized data.
  • No matter how robust an application like this was written, it would be extremely unreliable because of the dynamic nature of Email. We have countless Email clients out there that are formatting the text in different ways. We have Presidency members who have varying Email servers and clients. Even if it were possible to make something like this work reliably for everyone, it would take years of testing and bug reporting.
  • I would never consciously put together something that forced people to send Home/Visiting teaching data across the Internet in clear text. Yes, the data could be encrypted with something like PGP, but if PGP was easy for people to use, it would be mainstream today.
  • I have gone through the line-items of RAR and I can think of ways to replicate a lot of the other functionality, but I also think that this replicated functionality would be a major annoyance to the teachers and presidency members because of all the additional Emails they would be required to receive and respond to.
Additionally, this idea was brought up to me several times from numerous people in the past as the RAR concept encountered hurdle after hurdle. It is beyond my comprehension that after three years, we are now in a position where this idea has to be brought up yet again. Not your fault, Russell. :)

Like I've said before, I'm really spent on this. I've done everything I could possibly do to make this work. If someone wants to develop an Email-only thick client for this purpose, they can feel free to do that. ReturnAndReport.org is up and running and retains the same unofficial status as YouthMaster.org, ymyw.org, etc... Those who want to put forth the effort to use it can do so. Those who want to think it is somehow any different than Youthmaster.org or ymyw.org, can take that stance.

Brad O.


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