Encouraging Members to Use Unit Websites

Share discussions around the Classic Local Unit Website (LUWS).
jeffhale32-p40
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Ward Websites

Postby jeffhale32-p40 » Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:56 pm

I personally feel that the reason people are creating are ward websites and blogs by themselves is that the church provided sites are too complicated, slow, and inaccurate. I would love it if the church would work on this area more! It has great potential but is currently being wasted. After all a general authority recently gave a talk about using the web and electronic devices as a way of doing missionary work and spreading the gospel.

dmaynes
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Perspective on the websites and Church technology

Postby dmaynes » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:27 am

jeffhale32 wrote:I personally feel that the reason people are creating are ward websites and blogs by themselves is that the church provided sites are too complicated, slow, and inaccurate. I would love it if the church would work on this area more! It has great potential but is currently being wasted. After all a general authority recently gave a talk about using the web and electronic devices as a way of doing missionary work and spreading the gospel.


I can appreciate that feeling. Strangely, I have a very different feeling. I have been working with the websites every day for the past 4 months. I have tried to use the technology as productively as possible to accomplish the goals I have: Bring unity to my ward, Keep members involved, and Sustain the ward leaders in their callings.

My ward has been blessed by the service I have provided in gathering information, publicizing it, and encouraging members of the ward to enroll for the websites. Sure, it takes time. In fact, I easily spend ten to twenty hours a week in my calling. But, I am glad to do this because it touches our members in a very positive way. I have members serving in other units and they have remarked that they feel like they are part of the ward again. I have shut-ins and widows who are not involved in church callings and they have remarked that they feel like they know what is happening in the ward. The Relief Society President says that the website and e-mails make her calling easier.

It's easy to complain about the technology, but I think it is really important to understand that the Church is not a technology company. The mission of the Church is not to create great websites and blogs. It is something very different. I believe the Church leaders are using the widow's mite and the Lord's tithe as prudently as possible to accomplish the entire mission of the Church.

I am involved on this forum because it is one way that I can further this effort. I lend my creative thought and support to what is trying to be accomplished here.

Thanks,
Dennis

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:41 am

dmaynes wrote:It's easy to complain about the technology, but I think it is really important to understand that the Church is not a technology company. The mission of the Church is not to create great websites and blogs. It is something very different. I believe the Church leaders are using the widow's mite and the Lord's tithe as prudently as possible to accomplish the entire mission of the Church.

I am involved on this forum because it is one way that I can further this effort. I lend my creative thought and support to what is trying to be accomplished here.

I'm sure the Church employees that watch these forums are very appreciative of your patience, faith, and encouragement. I agree with you that thinking of the Church as not being a dedicated technology company is a good perspective. But I will counter that with the fact that over the last few years, the Church has hired some very talented developers. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's not that the Church isn't capable of producing a technologically advanced offering; my guess is that it's probably more of a factor of priority and also "using the widow's mite and the Lord's tithe as prudently as possible," as you said.

I would also like to offer one other factor that I think many of you aren't aware of (I know I wasn't until just a few days ago). The Church's ICS department has its customers in almost every other department of the Church. For instance, the Priesthood department would approach ICS and say they need so an so modifications to existing product, or so and so products need to be designed and implemented.

A Church employee recently gave me an idea of how involved this process is; he also gave me perspective on how many products and offerings ICS is responsible for, and it is astounding. ICS apparently develops way more internally used products than external ones that make their way down to us; these internally used products are used by Church employees to help them do their jobs/callings. I'm even talking about custom software written specifically for the Brethren's use only.

Because of how busy Church Developers are, I hope this helps give everyone perspective. I agree the Ward Websites haven't evolved as fast as many of us would like. From what I can tell, the Church is aware of this. Trust me when I say that all of your feedback, suggestions, and feature enhancements are not going unnoticed!

MorettiDP
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Postby MorettiDP » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:24 am

Yes, I believe that we need to be more patient with Church in IT things. If you at USA have problems and things to suggest, imagine we at "international areas". We don't have some of the benefits that you have for use technology as an add to your Church work (including LUWS). The Church isn't an IT Corp, but the Kingdom of God!

cnsieler-p40
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Postby cnsieler-p40 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:14 am

My reply to Krista Cook

My Bishop has no time to spend hours on the computer. That is why he called me a trusted agent to take care of the ward website. I check with him periodically to tell him what I am doing.
I think that the focus of web efforts should be to auxiliaries and Priesthood Quorums. I have a great relationship with the Elders Quorum President. The Elders have their own blog and I have a news item introducing it. They are also great about using the web site forum. The High Priests (I am a HP with gray hair) are a different matter. That is why I like your training links. Can I Use them?
Any way...I feel that if I get one or 2 members to say thanks for the website I am doing my job. As the web savvy generation gets older these tools will get used.

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Postby russellhltn » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:22 pm

cnsieler wrote:The Elders have their own blog and I have a news item introducing it.


Blog? Is this on a blog site or something being posted in LUWS?
Have you searched the Help Center? Try doing a Google search and adding "site:churchofjesuschrist.org/help" to the search criteria.

So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

cnsieler-p40
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Postby cnsieler-p40 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:04 pm

It is on blogspot. I just posted a News item saying where it was. Having been an IT security guy for many years , I appreciate the pace of the development of the LUWS. I always worst case it. Like or not we have to be careful of content on lds.org. That is the big challenge, how do you open up the LUWS to have more collaborative content ala WIKI? Or Sharepoint technologies (WSS 3.0)? The Family Research WIKI seems to be doing Okay.
The key is who approved changes to content and who does revision control. You can't have the free love of a pure WiKI envoriment because the church has too many enemies.

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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:16 pm

cnsieler wrote:The key is who approved changes to content and who does revision control. You can't have the free love of a pure WiKI envoriment because the church has too many enemies.

I realize you were talking about a Wiki in LUWS, but the Church has taken the step of implementing a Wiki:

https://tech.lds.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

The keys are to have traceable user accounts for attributing changes to certain individuals and also to have active volunteer involvment. As an example, I read every change to the LDS Tech Wiki, and if I were to see a problem I would very quickly correct or remove the malicious edits. Wiki's are revertable as well, as you can revert to previous revisions very easily.

rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:21 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Blog? Is this on a blog site or something being posted in LUWS?


cnsieler wrote:It is on blogspot. ...


Russell, is your point that a blog for a ward elders quorum hosted elsewhere than LUWS would be non-compliant with the policy prohibiting other web sites?

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Postby russellhltn » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:23 pm

rmrichesjr wrote:Russell, is your point that a blog for a ward elders quorum hosted elsewhere than LUWS would be non-compliant with the policy prohibiting other web sites?


You're referring of course to this policy. Yes, you figured out where I was heading.

I do think that's a valid issue that needs to be considered. The policy doesn't say "blog" but does prohibit "website" and "email groups". Given the limited popularity of blogs back then, I think it would be easy to explain why they were not explicitly mentioned. Or perhaps it was felt that "website" covered it.

If it hasn't already, I think the issue needs to be reviewed by the ward leaders with all the relevant policies in hand. If it were my place to decide, I'd give thumbs down on a blog outside of LUWS.
Have you searched the Help Center? Try doing a Google search and adding "site:churchofjesuschrist.org/help" to the search criteria.

So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.


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