About-New Web Format

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You'll Notice Some Changes

"Old Format" web page
You may have noticed a new page format showing up in the Ottawa RASC web site. There are now two distinct page formats:
  1. A new format, such as the page you are reading right now, with a white background and a menu of frequently-used functions down the left margin; and
  2. The original format, with blue text on a blue background.

The observant reader may also notice that the format for URLs (page addresses) is different in the new pages than it is in the old ones.

What's Going On?

We have introduced a Wiki to the Ottawa RASC web site to enable faster and more flexible web publishing.

The "new format" pages, such as this one, are based on the wiki. (Wikis are configurable and we could, with effort, exactly reproduce the old format; but we like the fresh new look and would prefer to put our available time in publishing new content, not reproducing old format.)

We'll be using this new wiki capability for some new pages in the web site, especially for pages that need to be updated frequently and rapidly (such as information about star parties or meetings). We may also convert some of the more frequently used old pages to this system; however, we don't plan to convert all the hundreds of old pages, so you will still see the old format too.

Why Change?

There are two reasons we have introduced this change.

First, it makes web publishing easier.

  • Simple pages and updates can be made very quickly and without specialized software;
  • Web publishing can be shared among multiple contributors;

Among other things, we hope this will mean that we can publish new information in a more timely manner.

Second, it enables some new features common to modern web sites. Most significantly, readers (you) can now comment on pages by clicking on the "discussion" tab at the top of a wiki page. (This ability is strictly filtered for spam.)

What's It Mean To You?

If you are an ordinary user, your use of this web site should not be affected except for the noticeable format change of some pages. Your old bookmarks will continue to work, and all the information you are used to seeing will still be available.

You will also have a new ability, to add your own thoughts and comments on the "discussion" page associated with any page. (Comments will be edited and must comply with our wiki content rules.)

If you are a RASC Ottawa author, you can continue to have your web publishing done by the webmaster. However, you can also have the ability to do your own publishing, and to update your own pages (assuming you are comfortable with the wiki software notation and are willing to follow some naming conventions and obey some content rules). This ability will be extended only to authors with an established track record of publishing quality information in the other RASC Ottawa forums. Email the webmaster to request login credentials if you would like to edit or publish.

Planning Page

Here is a page where some of the RASC Ottawa web authors have been organizing the plans for the wiki. This page is temporary, and will be removed once the wiki is fully online and announced.

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