Join the support team and help prioritize the actions to take!

Status: Just started
Step: 
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For a long time already, we've been working on a new NABUUR site. Lots of discussions have been held, designs made, development started for a site that should work a lot better than the current one. Given the major changes that have taken place over the last year, the new site may not be completed very soon.

At the same time the current site is not very easy to use: there is too much information and the relevant bits (active villages, active people, concrete volunteer opportunities) are hard to find.

While a new NABUUR strategy is being defined, it would help to sort out the current site: to bring it back to a state where it at least works (though not perfectly) and where newcomers can find their way.

If you want to help make these improvements, support new neighbours or have suggestions please join the discussion below.

The following actions/resources to make life easier for new Neighbours have been mentioned earlier:
- a FAQ - There is a FAQ page already at http://www.nabuur.com/en/frequently-asked-questions which is very out of date
- a screen that briefly describes what Nabuur is and what people can do here
- a general support group where people can ask questions. There is one now called How Nabuur Works http://www.nabuur.com/en/group/how-nabuur-works but it needs people who look after it
- a guide to using the website

Furthermore the following issues could be taken up:
- change the NABUUR homepage, to make it more compelling: better emphasize stories, include Twitter, Facebook etc.
- find a way to highlight active villages which enables new neighbours to find the 'good stuff', rather than having to sift through everything.

Join the discussion below and tell us what you think we should start with, or which action you'd like to take up!
New ideas are also welcome!

Alright, let me start with my own preferences ;-)

I'd like to find a way to highlight active villages/projects, so that the projects taht are still active also get the attention they deserve.

Furthermore my fingers are itching to make the homepage simpler and more compelling, but that (partly) depends on being able to show good content there and have a page that briefly describes NABUUR in place.

So in order of priority I would say:
1. find a way to highlight active villages
2. a screen that briefly describes what Nabuur is and what people can do here
3. change the NABUUR homepage
4. a FAQ
5. a general support group where people can ask questions
6. a guide to using the website

Your votes please!

Pelle

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Hi Everyone in this team and to all volunteers,

I think I would agree with MariaZ that the homepage needs a bit of changes and hopefully we can make the homepage little bit more attractive to our valued guest and potential volunteers.

I think that the homepage have not been changed for a decade. Maybe we could make a bit different for the new year to come. New homepage face for the new year.

When I first came to nabuur I noticed that the homepage have not changed for quiet a long time now and it seems very idle to me with few details of new developments. Why not make it more attractive so that we could have more volunteers.

However I would say that I think this concern needs to be directed to the website development team. To which I have been trying to join the team so that I can contribute. However I have not been able to do so because I cannot find any member of the team. Can anyone help me in joining the website development team.

Thanks a lot,

Jeremy Ecle

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Hi Everyone,

In addition to my first comment. I think that we need a solid website development team. This the 21st century why not bring in the IT guys to help out our current website team. I am an IT guy myself and I have been willing to share my knowledge with the website development team.
I think a little helping hand with the website development team will be great. Please count me in.

This is only my suggestion.

All the best,

Jeremy Ecle

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Hi Pelle and everybody,

Thanks for taking up the discussion again. I think in the light that all these points have already been discussed several times, especially at the camp in Amsterdam last February, we, and especially the board have to make a strategic decision whether to further work with the current website (and make some adjustmensts that are possible, knowing that it is less than ideal), or putting all power into a new website (the camp did a lot of designing and writing of the content already).

I am saying this because it determines how deep improvements can go (eg highlighting active villages, creating more peer control on how reliable villages are, etc). Nabuur is such a mass now that small changes as writing a FAQ or creating a guide how to use the website will not help a lot to revitalise the community.

Besides that strategic decision (that is linked to funds, and a strong team to do it in say 3 months), I would strongly advocate to do a major cleaning up! For example, one could write to all villages and ask them if they still want to be active on Nabuur - if nobody answers in the next three months and the village has been inactive for a long time, it could be deleted. The more active ones should also get an incentive to clean up their villages.

So, all the tasks you mention are important, Pelle, but I think all should start with the question do we need and want a new website or not, since all other tasks depend on the question will we have a new structure or work in the old frames of the current website. And it would be great if this decision would not need another 6 months to be taken.

All the best,
Maria
Maria

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Hi Maria and Jeremy,

Thanks for jumping in right away!

Maria, concerning the new website: during the unpleasant discussions that took place after the NABUUR camp we lost a couple of (new) developers, the longer term developers are mostly lurking, doing only day-to-day management. Seeing the fact that we'll also be redefining the strategy I don't think it's realistic to aim for a completely new website within a few months.

I'd like to clean up the current site and I'm sure we can make some (easy) improvements to make it work better. This won't bring us the ideal website that we discussed in February, but at least give us an environment where volunteers can work on projects again and new people can find their way.

Jeremy, thanks for the support for a new homepage. As I said, my fingers are itching ;-)
Concerning joining the development team: that currently consists of Frans, Kester, Rolf and myself... and we should find out who of the other team members would still like to be involved. You're welcome to join - let's discuss what you need to be able to participate via email (rather than derailing this discussion)

Pelle

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Hi Maria,
I have tried to join in in the past but given up with so little feedback from Villages.

As you are revising the system I'm wondering if it would be improved if each village was asked to categorise their needs and also give their priorities.
Someone in the village has to take charge of this.

Graham

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kiserian needy kids 2012

i daniel mwangi i would like to join the team ,i have some experience of years in nabuur,any part i can play and roll it
--
we are the voice of voiceless

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kiserian needy kids 2012

ACTIVE VILLAGE NEED FAST PRIORITY
good idea about active village ,some village are sleep many months ,so is good ideas your decide to highlight active village ,on behalf of my village i join and vote the issue with a big YES
--
we are the voice of voiceless

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I have been browsing the site for information and past experiences and it is a goldmine for useful information about the ways and means people have solved problems also a suggestion to document the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful projects.

Creating a central on line library of all the great videos, pdf's, documents, policy, planning, techniques, methods, contacts and templates would be a great reference for all villagers.

I don't know the full extent of project startup, running and ending works at Nabuur but I do know having templates, a reference library and the re-use of existing knowledge is priceless.

Hope this helps

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kiserian needy kids 2012

fist priority to the active village
thanks maria for your information and i join ,vote yes and support your comment ,for example if my village kiserian is not active is better to be cleanup to give room to the active village and others new villages want to join nabuur
we are the voice of voiceless

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Project TZ suggestion is a fact that we need to consider. Why not create a group that focus on agriculture alone, another group for fundraising activities etc., another group for child sponsorship, another for the website development team, another group about education, another group for water and sanitation, another group for others not mentioned.

I agree with Project TZ.

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Hi Jeremy,

We have already these kind of groups (click besides the My nabuur on "groups") and you´ll find them. I completely agree that an online library with all the different documents to find would be a major step forward and should rank highly in our priority list. Sonja and I worked on this issue last February in Amsterdam and established a list of key words for people to search for, and a system how such a library/ search system could look like - the only thing we need is a website system that allows us to do this (the search function on the site now is rather chaotic). So, I come back to the website question...

Thanks for all your contributions,
Maria

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Hi Everyone,

It's great to see that there are a lot of people who are eager to help out in this transition. It's also noteworthy that most of the suggestions being brought forward have already been suggested in the past and the question remains as to how they can be achieved.

Maria and everyone else, I agree completely with the need for a proper website. The question as to whether the current one will be upgraded or a new one brought in place completely depends on what becomes Nabuur's strategy in the next year. We are trying to move from a system whereby the website dictates what is possible to one where the website facilitates what needs to be done. Therefore we need as much input as possible on the first 3 tasks concerning the vision, mission and guidelines of Nabuur. This is only a first step towards deciding what Nabuur will become in the future and as Mary pointed out, to learn from past mistakes so that we do not repeat them.

This process is extremely important and needs the input from people who have been around long enough to see Nabuur through its highs and lows and those who can only perceive what Nabuur ought to be without much background knowledge.

I am therefore asking everyone who can to take a look at the 3 tasks about the vision, mission and guidelines. It really will not take much time. We need as many contributions as possible to make it good and we'll build up our case from that point to a point where we can clearly communicate to the web builders what the website should facilitate. It will most likely mean a new website in which case it does not make sense to make drastic changes to the current website. We can, however, still do a little house cleaning to make it easier to navigate through the site or add valuable information. It will still not be perfect of course, but I hope it makes a difference.

I realise this does not answer the question about what will be done about the website but that's because that question cannot be answered until we know where we want to go and how we want to get there.

So to everyone who is reading this, please help start shaping the future of Nabuur by making your contribution to the 3 tasks I have mentioned above. I know it may not a primary concern or of interest for some of you but without this we'll be going back and forth for a long time to come. We have 2 weeks to receive your input and another 2 weeks to finalise the vision and mission statements after which we can make more concrete decisions TOGETHER about where we go from here, how we get out of the current situation and make this a more fulfilling experience for every community member on Nabuur. We are counting on your criticism and input to make it better starting from the top. Nabuur needs you in this first crucial step.

Hoping to see more activity in the 3 initial tasks and wishing you all a great day :-)

Nonhlanhla

--
'If you are willing to change the world, let love be your energy.' Robbie Williams

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Thanks for all the useful suggestions!

I realise that the scope of this project is not showing clearly on this page: the aim is to make the current NABUUR site more attractive, easier to use for newcomers. That can involve clean up work and small improvements that make life on NABUUR easier. (I'll change the project and task description)

Given the fact that the development team is not at full strength and that we're redefining NABUUR strategy (see Nonhlahla's post) I don't think it's realistic nor wise to aim for a completely new website within a few months.

That doesn't mean we can't look into some of the improvements mentioned!

Graham - In earlier days we used to have a system where each village was categorized working on a certain theme. That system was left during on of the previous website changes, but tasks and projects are still linked to the need for certain 'Expertise'. Looking through the tasks that come up there, I can see that the system is 'polluted'. (which brings us back to the clean up that Maria suggested)

'Project TZ', Jeremy - there are indeed already some thematic groups, although lately I don't think they've been actively managed/facilitated.

It's clear that 'being able to select villages/projects/valuable content based on theme' is an important issue, although I'm not sure how easy it will be to filter out valuable content. Not a really quick win, I think, but something that needs proper attention.

Maria:
- Could you dig up the list of keywords that Sonja and you made?
- I think we could look into a way to highlight active villages without having to make major changes. It would need a few people to indicate which villages are active (so partly technology, partly manual 'labour'). Personally I think that would be a great help.
- creating more peer control on how reliable villages are. Doesn't sound like a really technical issue to me. On the other hand it doesn't sound like a quick win either.
- I agree that 'writing a FAQ or creating a guide how to use the website' will not revitalise the community, but together with some of the other proposed improvements they may just give new neighbours a good enough feeling to get going.

So.. summarizing we have now:

1. find a way to highlight active villages
2. a screen that briefly describes what Nabuur is and what people can do here
3. change the NABUUR homepage
4. a FAQ
5. a general support group where people can ask questions
6. a guide to using the website
7. a system for easily selecting villages/projects/valuable content based on theme
8. a peer control system for the quality of villages

The issues mentioned differ a lot in size and difficulty. I'll create an overview where we can make that clear. For the 'big and difficult' issues I suggest we also try to define quick wins (where possible) or first steps ahead and then start with some concrete actions.

I would suggest to try and tackle the clean up 'issue by issue', as we move through different areas. That way we'll be able to see our own progress best.

Thanks for all your suggestions! More improvements are still welcome ;-)

Pelle

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Hi guys

I am a little wary about getting back into this discussion, and agree that most suggestions will already have been made.

So just one suggestion for now, which I think I have mentioned before, related to highlighting the most active villages.

It would be great to fix the order of the results on the country/keyword searches from the Village page so that they reliably shows the villages with recent posts at the top of the list. At the moment it is common to see somewhere that has not had any obvious activity for a year or more right near the top. I don't know what is causing this - maybe the external news feed, or something else not directly related to the village, is included in the search sequence?

Mary

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