A History of the Monaro Folk Society Wiki

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The Wiki was created in January 2009.

Bob, Lance & Rod recreate the initial meetings

We sat on the back deck in Aranda late in 2008, pooling our knowledge of "Web Content Management Systems", and mulling over our options.

Then-WebManager Myk Dowling had inherited a web site built in Dreamweaver, that Myk had to maintain using a text editor. Macromedia Dreamweaver was a proprietary web development application. It cost hundreds of dollars, was not a commonly-owned software application, and did not come to Myk with the web site.

In addition, the migration of the hosting of the web site was in-progress. It had been decided that hosting would be moved to the non-profit community organisation the PC User Group.

Richard Levingston had experience with other Wiki-based web sites and provided valuable ideas on available web content management systems.

Then-MFS-President Lance Court went along to the PC User Group Christmas party in December 2008, with a view to finding out who knew what about web site hosting and Web Content Management Systems. There was a consensus there in favour of MediaWiki as a platform, and other sites hosted by PCUG were using this software.

Bob, Lance & Rod recreate the initial meetings

Over the Christmas break, Rod Fenwick, Bob Hodgson and Lance Court, helped by others including Richard Levingston, assisted the society Webmaster Myk Dowling to set up a new web site (http://mfs.org.au/wiki). The old monarofolk.org.au website had proven difficult to maintain without special software that is not commonly in place on our volunteers' PCs. We therefore decided to move to a "MediaWiki" implementation on the PCUG host server for the web site. This promised to allow broader participation in content management, and spread the workload, by allowing access to updating the web site to all our activity organising teams. The Mediawiki implementation has lived up to this promise. The only software needed for authorised MFS members to change web content is a web browser (for example Firefox, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer).

The existing hosting arrangement at the time had proven to be problematic, and the web team also wished the existing site to continue in parallel whilst the new site was being built, with readers able to call up either the old or the new site during a short time of transition. We therefore decided to start afresh and register an address to be owned by Monaro Folk Society, with all the passwords and contact details documented and known to a number of authorised MFS people, and available to any member of MFS executive in case of emergency (or handover). The team registered www.mfs.org.au, and built the new MFS site at that address, while maintaining www.monarofolk.org.au during the time that the new site was being built. Rod Fenwick was our resident expert and advisor on web domain matters.

The PC Users Group (ACT) Inc were extremely helpful in assisting in our establishment of the new MediaWiki site, and the relationship between MFS and PCUG was and is excellent. Special thanks go to MFS member, and then PCUG Webmaster, Lawrie Brown for his assistance in setting up our new site.

Myk Dowling has the honour of making the first entry into the Wiki, under his user name "Politas". Then Lance Court added a few introductory, "welcome" style paragraphs, and then Bob Hodgson took it away, building the contents of the main page and setting the structure of the content.

In February 2009 Lance Court, Myk Dowling, Rod Fenwick and Bob Hodgson established the MFS members-only web site. This site was needed to house pages that need to be kept private, either because they represent a benefit of membership, like Monaro Musings, or because they contain contact details, minutes of meetings, etc made available to MFS members but not publicly on the web.

A Reunion to Celebrate the 500,000th Page View

Now three years later we are celebrating over 500,000 page-views on the public site so far, with 425 content pages published, and 230 uploaded files. The members-only site has enjoyed over 25,000 page-views with 79 content pages and 180 uploaded files.

Clearly we can count that as a success. Thanks to everyone who helped to create www.mfs.org.au, to David Gilks and Keith Ward who applied considerable technical expertise in areas including establishing PayPal facilities on the Wiki and permissions management, and to Web Managers Ray Martin and now Simon David who have in turn kept the MFS Wiki flame alive.

Lance Court, Rod Fenwick and Bob Hodgson
February 2012

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