NEW Member Article System. You have the information : Share it!
By: Liam Kennedy
August 16, 2003 5:22PM PDT
Views: 7938

OCA Members : You can submit articles direct to the web site

A new feature has been added to the OCA website that will allow every OCA member to create web articles on a wide range of topics. Once created these articles are immediately available for all web site visitors to view directly from the OCA home page. The system allows members to create web articles without any knowledge of HTML.

The system should be pretty easy to use... so I really just want you to give it a try and see how far you get and what problems you encounter along the way.

Why am I doing this?

Simple... I want to place the web site in your hands, the OCA members, and allow you all to contribute to the continued growth of content to make the OCA web site the most comprehensive source of information on amateur astronomy everywhere.  I am just one person and my time for managing the web site is diminishing rapidly as I embark on a new career.  You are more than 800 members of the OCA who have a great interest in all aspects of astronomy and have the information and experience in this hobby that others in the club, and further afield will benefit from.  All you have to do is pluck up the courage to use this new feature and add an article. 

How do you add an article?

All you need is a login and password to the members section of the web site.  There is a login link at the top right of this page.   Once you are logged in you will see near the top left of the oca home page a link that says  "Submit Article". Clicking on that link will take you to a screen from which you can directly enter your article.  The system should be pretty self-explanatory (I hope).  I do recommend you create your article first using a word processor and then  copy and paste the completed text into the article body field provided.  This approach will allow you to spell-check your text prior to entering it into the web system and it will also act as a backup should something go wrong with the article creation process on the web site.

Articles are assigned to one or more categories.  By default (at the moment) all members are allowed to assign articles to almost all the categories I have defined... although there are a couple that I have only setup to be accessible to specific members only (the Presidents Message, Club News and a few other categories can only be accessed by myself and Barbara Toy). 

Although you will be able to see all the articles on the web site... you will in fact only be able to edit articles in categories that you are approved for and all articles that you have authored.

As long as you have a recent version of Internet Explorer when you are creating an article you will be able to format your article using a cool feature that creates HTML for you automatically.  There are buttons to select fonts, size, bold, italic, text formatting etc etc.   If you are not using IE (such as Netscape) you will still be able to create an article but you will have to enter some html into the article body to designate line breaks and other HTML formatting for your article.   

Are there any restrictions on content you can create?

In general you can submit articles on any subject area that you think is appropriate.  All members have a capacity to add articles immediately to the web site with NO APPROVAL process required.  In other words I am trusting you to create articles that you feel will be of interest to other members and the astronomical community in general.   However, as any editor would, I do reserve the right to make changes to articles if I notice spelling errors or I find something that is inaccurate or would benefit from slightly different wording.  If the changes I make are anything other than a typo I will email the author letting them know that I have made a change.   We'll see how this process works and if I find that i must make a change to the approval process we'll deal with that when appropriate.

Watch out... there is a BUG about!

As this is a very new feature of the web site... there are bound to be some bugs or issues with the system.  However... don't let that stop you from trying it out.   If you do find something not working the way you expect it to please do let me know and I'll do my best to fix it quickly.  I will be able to make some changes to the underlying code that is used for this new feature... but there will be some limits to what I can do.  However... don't let that stop you from suggesting anything.  But just be prepared for the situation that I may not be able to accommodate everything requested. 

I do hope you will start to share your knowledge and experience of astronomy with all our web site visitors.

Liam Kennedy
OCA Webmaster.

This new feature is based upon a product called aspWebHeadlines from a company called  I have made some substantial changes to this system to allow it to work with our web site design and the membership system we have.  The company actually donated the software to us for free ... which is very nice of them.   I gave them a testimonial for their web site on their aspWebAlbum software that I implemented for the OCA's Image Album facility.

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