RussellHltn wrote:I've gone back and re-read at the benefits you've listed earlier in the thread. Clunky, but still seems possible. I'm still trying to understand. What are the critical benefits to the website that simply can't be duplicated via email?
The hard part is going to be coming up with a challenge/response methodology that can be automatically scanned and tabulated while still working with a wide verity of email systems and clients.
Ok, let's say we came up with a reliable way to allow a Presidency member to send Emails from his or her local PC and parse through the responses that were returned. These are some of the benefits [off the top of my head] that are lost in this scenario:
- Only one member of the Presidency would be able to access the data. One of the key benefits of the website is that we do not rely on just one member of the Presidency to ensure that the reporting data is populated every month. Without centralized data, the burden of collecting the data every month must fall on one person because the other Presidency members would have no access to the data to do their job. Instead of helping to increase collaboration between Presidency members, this decreases the likelihood of collaboration.
- When reporting their home/visiting teaching, companions would not have any visiblity as to whether their companion has already reported. Therefore, if this potential "stand-alone" system received a report from a companion after the other companion has already reported, it would not be able to accurately replace previously reported information. There is no solution to this except centralized data.
- No matter how robust an application like this was written, it would be extremely unreliable because of the dynamic nature of Email. We have countless Email clients out there that are formatting the text in different ways. We have Presidency members who have varying Email servers and clients. Even if it were possible to make something like this work reliably for everyone, it would take years of testing and bug reporting.
- I would never consciously put together something that forced people to send Home/Visiting teaching data across the Internet in clear text. Yes, the data could be encrypted with something like PGP, but if PGP was easy for people to use, it would be mainstream today.
- I have gone through the line-items of RAR and I can think of ways to replicate a lot of the other functionality, but I also think that this replicated functionality would be a major annoyance to the teachers and presidency members because of all the additional Emails they would be required to receive and respond to.
Additionally, this idea was brought up to me several times from numerous people in the past as the RAR concept encountered hurdle after hurdle. It is beyond my comprehension that after three years, we are now in a position where this idea has to be brought up yet again. Not your fault, Russell.
Like I've said before, I'm really spent on this. I've done everything I could possibly do to make this work. If someone wants to develop an Email-only thick client for this purpose, they can feel free to do that. ReturnAndReport.org is up and running and retains the same unofficial status as YouthMaster.org, ymyw.org, etc... Those who want to put forth the effort to use it can do so. Those who want to think it is somehow any different than Youthmaster.org or ymyw.org, can take that stance.