Email Befuddling

So, the common concern is:

If I put my email address "out there" on the web that spammers will get it and start sending me spam messages.

Well, that is a valid concern. There are scripts and crawlers which go around and look for email addresses. (And lets suppose that they also do not check for a robots.txt file.) These generally work by focusing on the syntax of the email addresses using Regular Expressions or finding the mailto: term in the HTML code. There are some things which can be done to prevent this from happening.

  • The best way is to use contact forms.
  • The second best way is to use JavaScript hiding. (Go here to read how to do this if you are running your own HTML pages, or here if you want a site which will create a JavaScript for you.)
  • The third best way is to use HTML characters for your email addresses.
  • One way that I severely dislike is to spell out the email address or phone number like (you see a lot of this on sites like craigslist and after a few spam text messages one understands why it is done): seven-one-seven or hugh dot paterson at.

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Permanently accessible? to whom?

Photo of the Bush House


Bush house: the BBC World Service is leaving its home after 71 years
Photo: Paul Grover via The Telegraph

There has recently been some discussion on the about the BBC selling its production facilities and moving from the Bush House to somewhere else. The BBC world service has been a major player in radio and oral culture in Great Britain and around the world for 71 years. A lot of history has been reported by the service. And the BBC's records (including its archive) have oral histories of a variety of world events for the last 71 years in a variety of languages (Wikipedia has a brief description of the collections at the BBC.). Continue reading

Presenting Audio and Video on the Web

I have been trying to find out what is the best way to present audio on the web. This led me to look at how to present video too. I do not have any conclusions on the matter. But I have been looking at HTML5 and not using javascript or Flash. Because my platform (CMS) is WordPress, Continue reading

The Social Benefits of a Public Roadmap

ACF To-do list

Roadmap for development for the Advanced Custom Fields plugin for WordPress.

I am working with a team to redo a rather large NGOIt is worth noting that there are different flavors of NGOs. This particular NGO is also a non-profit charity and also a volunteer organization (most of the staff are volunteers). Not all NGOs fit this category, though I do make some assumptions in this post as if all NGOs do fit this characterization. website (both the NGO and the website are large). One of the questions through the process is How do we “dismantle a huge 1995 era website” and replace it with a “modern CMS system”? The new CMS of course is going to have to be phased in as its detailed features are built out. The social challenge is that if something which is not meeting the organizational (NGO’s) needs is replaced with something else which also appears to not meet the organizational needs then the people within the organization (the spectators, not the people directly involved with the website project) have a tendency to think that the newly launched product is a flop. The bottom line is that there is a general loss of confidence in the development and implementation team. In my particular context this often means that when people loose confidence in a development or implementation team that they stop expecting great things and start looking for other “more suitable” solutions. One way to combat this loss of confidence is to address the the people (and their concerns) who are watching the phased role-out. One part of that engagement strategy can be to do use a public Roadmap. Continue reading

Developing an understanding on how multi-lingual content needs to work on sil.org

Over the last few weeks I have been contemplating how multi-lingual content could work on sil.org. (I have had several helpful conversations to direct my thinking.)

As I understand the situation there is basically three ways which multi-lingual content could work.

First let me say that there is a difference between, multi-lingual content, multi-lingual taxonomies, and multi-lingual menu structures. We are talking about content here, not menu and navigation structures or taxonimies. Facebook has probably presented the best framework to date for utilizing on the power crowds to translate navigation structures. In just under two years they added over 70 languages to Facebook. However, Facebook has had some bumps along the way as DropBox points out in their post talking about their experience in translating their products and services.

  • Use a mechanism which shows all the available languages for content and highlights which ones are available to the user. Zotero has an implementation of this on their support forums.
    Zotero language options

    Zotero language options

  • Basically create a subsite for each language and then only show which pages have content in that language. Wikipedia does this. Wikipedia has a menu on the left side with links to articles with this same title in other languages. Only languages which have an article started in them on that title are shown in the menu.
    SIL International in English

    SIL International in English

    Other Pages in other languages may not show the same content.

    Other Pages in other languages may not show the same content.

  • Finally, create a cascading structure for each page or content area. So there is a primary language and a secondary language or a tertiary, or a quaternary language etc. based on the browser language of choice with country IP playing a secondary role. If there is no page for the primary language then the next in preference will show. This last option has been preferred by some because if an organization wants to present content to a user, then obviously, it would be in the users’ primary language. But if the content is not available in the primary language then the organization would want to still let the user know that the content exists in another language.

It would also be good to understand the concepts used in Drupal 7 (and Drupal 8) for multi-lingual content. There are several resources which I have found helpful:

  1. Localized and Multi-Lingual Content in Drupal 7
  2. Drupal 7’s new multilingual systems (part 4) – Node translation
  3. Drupal 7’s new multilingual systems compilation
  4. Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative

It would appear that from this list of resources that Drupal’s default behavior is more in line with part two of the three examples given above.