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2:13 AM
posted on October 12, 2016 by John Dailey

In The Beginning… Right from the start, Great Lakes Earth proved itself to be different from our own. Our Earth first came into existence 4,543,000,000 years ago as an inhospitable ball of molten rock that barely survived a crash from a Mars-sized rogue planet whose impact gave rise to the creation of our moon. Great Lakes Earth came into its solar system exactly five billion years ago as the r

 
 
2 hours later…
4:10 AM
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Q: Allow non-SE URLs in Community Events

Monica CellioModerators have the ability to create community events, which show up in the highlighted box on the front page along with featured meta posts and sometimes other posts. Currently, community events can link only to URLs in the Stack Exchange network. I think we can trust moderators with a little...

@UniverseFactory yay, oneboxing works again! (Well, it worked several days ago, but now I can confirm @AdamLear.)
 
Glad to hear it!
 
 
11 hours later…
3:07 PM
@MonicaCellio sooo...wanna guest the next podcast?
 
3:18 PM
@MonicaCellio Don't do it; it's a trap!
 
4:02 PM
The system was built for the WordPress blogs; presumably it could be used for other systems, but would probably need some adjustment; I'm not familiar enough with Medium to know how much work would be required there (the current logic just operates on an RSS feed). There's also the moderation aspect: we've had at least one instance in the past where someone was posting some fairly inappropriate stuff on one of the blogs; we'd need some way of ensuring oversight (by moderators / community members; we could always turn off the feed, but ideally it wouldn't come to that). — Shog9 ♦ 25 mins ago
@AdamLear Shog's comment ^^^ suggests that it should be technically feasible to syndicate new blog posts to the "yellow box" section on the front page, the way SE blog posts are put there now. But he raises concerns should somebody post something inappropriate to the blog, so there's a policy component too. Our blog is overseen by at least one moderator. What would we need to do, both process-wise and technically, to feed links to new blog posts to our front page?
@James sooo, some questions, of two types. First, what are we talking about? And second, technical requirements?
 
We are actually getting together on Thursday evening to discuss topics. Technical requirements are a webcam, vsee (free) and audacity (free) oh and a mic I suppose...and a computer to use it all on :)
 
On the latter: I have a Mac with USB headset but no camera, and I have an Android tablet (with camera) and can use a phone headset with it. The tablet is a few years old and the last time I used it for a Skype call it was a little jumpy at times. So you probably want me to do it from my Mac, but unless I also point the tablet at me while we do it, no video.
@James sorry, I was still typing. :-)
 
lol no problem.
 
Does vsee have a Mac client?
Or is that "see" as in 'video" so not relevant given what I've described?
 
We can do it without a webcam, we did it last time, but its better feedback in the conversation if we can see each other (in my opinion)
 
4:09 PM
No, it's got to be relevant; you haven't mentioned a different tool for the actual communication (like hangouts or skype).
 
@MonicaCellio I would guess it would work on both but I haven't tested that theory
 
@James yeah, the rest of you were more interesting to look at than Whoosh. :-)
 
vsee is the chat program yes
 
Can you find out if there's an Android client for vsee? We could try to jerry-rig video that way, perhaps.
 
That may actually work
yep theres an app
 
4:13 PM
Ok, how about if we try this: you'll send me a link or something for the Android app, I'll use it to join your call on Thursday, and we can talk about content and whether my tech stack works, and then I'll answer your question about whether I want to be a guest. :-) Ok? (I'm actually, err, kind of shy in real-time discussions, just so you know.)
 
@MonicaCellio Sounds like a good plan. I promise we will be nice...well...Ill be nice I can't speak for @Green that guy is crazy
 
Oh, before I forget: in the first one, whoever was in the lower left seemed louder than the others to me. I don't remember who that was or know who should adjust what to address that, assuming anybody else thought it was an issue.
Meanwhile, @James, how's the blog post coming? :-)
 
@MonicaCellio Ugh. Slowly, I am probably trying to over-do it.
 
@James ah. Just some bullet points about what y'all talked about, in a way that entices people to watch the video -- I hope you're not trying to produce a transcript. :-)
 
@MonicaCellio No, but I am trying to makes sure I get all the links rounded up and the video embedded so people can get to the blog, the podcast channel and the main site, plus I am trying to make it funny...hopefully this afternoon is quiet and I can get some progress made.
 
4:27 PM
@James Just to clarify, crazy != mean.
 
@James sounds good. Thanks for the update. I hadn't thought about all the cross-linking; people coming in from the blog need to see the embedded video and people coming from YouTube need to see the blog post, and both of them should get the links to things you talked about during the podcast. Yeah, more moving parts than I initially thought about.
 
4:43 PM
@MonicaCellio That was me! But it's up to ArtOfCode to balance the volume. I'll bring it up to him.
If you use VSee from the tablet, what about the Audacity recording?
 
5:05 PM
@NexTerren oh right, you each made your own recordings. Hmm. Can audio and video be separate streams?
If it would work, I could connect to the call using my Mac (and USB headset) and also have the tablet propped up somewhere nearby to capture video.
Oh, wait. I think we have a webcam on one of our conference-room computers at work. Maybe I can borrow that overnight. Let me look into that.
(If I end up doing this more than once I'll just buy a webcam, but I wouldn't be able to do that for Thursday.)
 
@MonicaCellio They can be separate streams though with the way we are doing recording, your audio/video stream would be recorded by both me and Nex.
 
@Green you didn't mention James. Does everybody record everybody, or what? Maybe back up a step: as a participant in the call, what recordings am I making and what am I doing with them?
 
@MonicaCellio James doesn't record anything except his own audio stream.
The only thing you'd need to record (and I'm not even sure if it's needed) is your audio stream.
VSee allows everyone to record everyone but that's lots of redundant recording.
I capture all the "raw" streams. @NexTerren records more information or makes it pretty somehow.
Part of this is redundancy so we don't lose the entire recording if Nex or my PCs go belly up.
@MonicaCellio Assuming you have a webcam, you're responsible for recording your own audio, nothing else.
 
5:22 PM
@Green ah, ok. So I'm responsible for my own audio recording, which I use Audacity to capture? And I don't need to worry about recording video? Cool.
 
@MonicaCellio Correct.
Audacity + VSee are all you need.
 
@Green I'll borrow a webcam for Thursday.
(I was exploring using my tablet to record video and my desktop to record audio, but that'd be complicated.)
 
When we're done, you'll upload it to Google Drive (James has details). After that, you're done.
 
Except for the part where I say "hey, that stupid thing I said at (timecode) -- can we edit that out?". :-)
 
@MonicaCellio You'll have to take that up with ArtOfCode. He's the one who edits that stuff.
 
5:24 PM
I'm assuming that meta post has a link to get VSee.
@Green yeah, fair enough. I'm also not planning to be a special snowflake here, but...
 
@MonicaCellio You're working out all the stuff that we worked out last episode. No worries.
 
@James for Thursday I'll borrow a webcam and just use my Mac. What time are we doing this on Thursday, and how do I access the call then?
 
9:15 or 9:30Eastern
 
Excellent. That's late enough to be well past dinner and stuff.
 
@MonicaCellio See you then!
 
5:55 PM
I love coming back to questions that someone else answered for me :)
 
6:05 PM
@Green heh -- I guess you will! Usually "see you" is more metaphorical. :-)
@James what exactly do I need to download for Vsee? I followed the link from the meta post and it looks like the product there is "HIPAA messenger". I assume that's built on the Vsee platform.
 
7:03 PM
@MonicaCellio Looks like they updated their site. Try this link: my.vsee.com/download
 
7:33 PM
@MonicaCellio There's a lot of assumptions in the code about the source of the posts. This would need actual feature work.
If nothing else, one of those assumptions is in URL construction for the feed: current is $domain/feed (we append /feed, and /feed/<language> to support localized SO blogs living off of our main company blog). This works for Wordpress blogs as well, but Medium's URL structure is medium.com/feed/<blog name>
if we're talking about supporting Medium, that's one thing. If we're talking about a more general "anything with an RSS feed" support, that's another.
(Although a cheap approach there could probably be to track feed URLs rather than blog URLs, but that's getting into implementation details.)
As for the policy aspect... the main concern I'd have here is that in case something goes wrong, you'd need an employee with developer access to fix the community bulletin for anything urgent.
You'd have to coordinate removing the post, and then (unless you want to wait an hour or however long the caching there is, I forget), find someone who knows how to force a refresh.
(cc @Shog9 on the above, re: non-blogoverflow blogs in the CB)
 
@NexTerren I see that's an executable, presumably a direct link to the installer. Is that a Mac version? (I'm at work right now so can't actually test it out.)
 
@MonicaCellio The page should be smart enough to see what version of the browser you're using and infer the OS from that, and provide a download to fit. I don't have a Mac (in my case, I don't have one at all) to test it out either, but I believe that you should get the correct file if you open it on a Mac.
 
@AdamLear thanks. We're using Medium because a CM specifically suggested that platform to us when we asked for an SE blog. (And now, with the installed base, not inclined to move elsewhere.) I originally asked for the ability to create community events for new blog posts -- more work for mods, but avoids some policy concerns. Off-site events aren't currently allowed. @Shog then said something about syndicating the blog being the better approach because automatic. I'm fine either way.
I'd like to get announcements of new blog posts onto our front page without making community ads for them (which would be a huge PITA to manage). What's the best way to proceed?
Now that other sites are losing their blogs, I anticipate that we won't be the only ones with this problem.
 
Yeah, I think I agree that syndication is the better approach here (if nothing else, using events for this is, at best, super clunky).
Well... you're one of like what... 2? 3? sites that actually have active blogs.
 
@AdamLear I know it's a small number > 1. (I know about SFF; don't know if there are others.)
"Small number of sites" could be a reason for dev work to be rejected, I know.
Syndication is easier, but manual events might be closer to possible.
 
7:44 PM
In this case, realistically... it'd just be so far down the priority list.
@MonicaCellio There's some dev work involved either way.
 
Yeah, this needs its own feature request / discussion.
 
I'd personally prefer to fix syndication or set up a whitelist-based approach to events. Just opening up a link to "anything on the internet" gives me nightmares.
And if we're talking a whitelist implementation... might as well put that work into syndication.
But yeah, its own feature request is the place to start.
I'd also be okay with a "your blog must be on Medium" mandate and implementing feed support for that. More work than no work, less work than a generic feed implementation.
 
The nice thing about having a feed is that
1) we would have to vet the feed before it would go live, which means
2) we would know who to blame if things went sour
 
I'm fine with a whitelist. I'm fine with two-mod-approval for off-site events. I'm fine with RSS + specific approval before it appears. Some of these are easier on the mod than others, but any of them would work.
 
I'm quite honestly not ok with any form of approval for off-site events. I don't think there's any upside.
 
7:48 PM
I'll post a new feature request, then. (My FR last night about community events was an attempt at solving the problem, but I get that y'all see it as an XY problem. I'm happy to iterate.)
 
It's also the most amount of work.
 
@Shog9 community promotion ads are prominent links to off-site stuff.
 
@MonicaCellio Sounds good. Ping me with a link once it's up and I'll post my thoughts in an answer once I have a few to spare.
 
@AdamLear thanks. I'll ping both of you.
 
@MonicaCellio which have a meta post associated with them, and allow commentary and most importantly must be vetted by the community first before they ever go live.
Long, long time ago, we discussed ideas for implementing a community bulletin system that didn't involve moderators. It would've worked similarly to community ads: meta post, special tag, voting.
IOW, you could have an event scheduled for anything, but there's always a meta post and associated audit trail.
In practice, few sites ever used these events enough to warrant that feature
So we left it in the hands of the moderators... But the system still kinda enforces that public audit trail.
 
7:51 PM
@Shog9 so we could make an ad with the intent of "current blog post", and the community would vote that up, and then we'd just swap the image every time there was a new post -- huge amount of work and less-sure visibility, but we could do that now. I'm looking for something less clunky than that.
 
@MonicaCellio that's literally how y'all prototyped the bulletin on Mi Yodeya
 
@Shog9 heh, really? We had one event and we updated it each week? (I can't remember if I've purged the memory or it happened before my time as a moderator.)
Ads are more hassle because graphics.
 
@MonicaCellio this was back in the beta. We gave you community ads (for... A month or something) with the understanding that they'd be used for events. Y'all swapped the image every week or so.
 
@Shog9 oh, community ads -- I thought you were talking about events. I wasn't a beta mod, though I do recall seeing a meta post about us being a beta for ads.
I didn't know they were manually managing it.
 
@MonicaCellio yup. BTW, here's what you're missing with community ads:
they're not just a bare off-site link. They have feedback and accounting built right in.
someone posts something dodgy? You got a direct line to fixing it.
That doesn't exist on the bulletin, because just about anything anyone could ever put there would have the mechanism for correction built into it already.
 
7:57 PM
Ah, I see what you mean. So, see an ad you don't like -> click through and nuke the meta post.
 
@MonicaCellio right
you don't have to go out of band to find a moderator, or make a meta post, or contact support
 
In a prior discussion about the blog (when I was asking for inclusion on the list of blogs, when that was still relevant) Abby asked if we were willing to grant access to an employee and I said yes. Still am.
 
which is... better than nothing
 
Mind, everything that shows up on our blog has to be approved by one of a small number of editors.
 
I think we might be able to allow for blogs, if pre-vetted and accountable
But that'd be a special case of some sort
 
8:02 PM
@MonicaCellio Which makes me wonder...am I still on that list given my...absence?
 
Accountability, of course. And pre-vetting blogs is fine. I'm looking for a way to announcements of new posts on our one as-official-as-it's-allowed-to-be blog onto our site. In thinking about the FR last night I remembered the Space thing, but my concern is blogs -- plus the general goal of not making an interface more specific than it needs to be.
@James you are. You haven't become less trustworthy with your reduced activity, after all.
 
@MonicaCellio I just snorted my Frappuccino thank you very much. bahahaha...I am not entirely sure why it was so funny to me.
 
also, if we made that list based on activity, Monica would be pretty alone there...
 
@James sorry 'bout your keyboard. My point was just that we grant privileges based on trust, which is a different axis than availability. If you go completely inactive (or should you request it) we'll yank your access, but I think of you as just on vacation right now.
 
@MonicaCellio what's your objection to meta posts?
 
8:08 PM
@Shog9 one meta post per new blog post, you mean? Clutter, mainly -- plus, I know I've gotten hit with a "you can't post that near-duplicate question" once in the past, though I don't recall the circumstances now, so I think it might run into that?
 
@MonicaCellio well, you could do it that way.
Or you could have one post and just drop a new answer every time there was a new post
Or just edit it.
 
@MonicaCellio God I wish I were on vacation!
 
@Shog9 and perma-feature it. When the featured tag ages out, can we re-add it immediately?
 
@MonicaCellio I don't remember. You might have to edit it out first.
But... Given you can schedule events before they become visible, I would use those
When you schedule a post, schedule an event.
that lets you determine how long it's visible, set a descriptive title, etc.
Also doesn't kick it out if there are featured meta posts for some other reason
Obviously not an ideal solution, but... Not really very much work as a proof of concept
 
@Shog9 ah. Since we can't stage the meta edit like we can stage a blog post and event, I think we need to publish the post, meta update, and event at the same time. But good point about it not overloading the featured tag.
Yeah, we could try that.
 
8:15 PM
@MonicaCellio no, you don't. I mean, unless you want the post to be a complete surprise.
1) Schedule post (let's say, for Monday)
2) Post on meta: "next blog post: how putting accent marks in your character names makes them 100% more awesomer. Tune in Monday Oct. 24th to find out!"
3) Schedule event to point to meta post. Set visibility prior to event to 0.
 
8:33 PM
@Shog9 but we still want that meta post to have a direct link to the blog post.
I mean, we could just link to the blog, but linking to the post is better. Like you do for SE blog posts.
 
@MonicaCellio well, here's where my lack of familiarity with Medium comes in. If you can't schedule a post to go live in the future (and get a link to that eventual post), then you're left having to go back and edit the meta post.
 
@Shog9 we can schedule a blog post for the future, but the URL remains the same from the time it's created to the time it's published. So if you have the URL you can see the draft even if it hasn't been published yet. (Hmm, I think everybody can and not just blog people; need to check that.)
 
@MonicaCellio heh, that's unexpected.
 
@Shog9 yeah. Drat, don't have a useful test case right now (our one pending submission has already been published on the author's personal page). Let me create a test.
@Shog9 can you see this post? medium.com/p/e270fe38bdc5/edit
 
@MonicaCellio nope
 
8:43 PM
@Shog9 oh, good! Thanks. Then we can update the meta post in advance.
 
@MonicaCellio you sure that's the right link?
that looks like an edit link
 
Huh, Medium rewrote the URL. I just deleted that test; let me make a new one.
Try this: medium.com/p/537a6c011b11 , which as I'm pasting it in here does not end in "/edit".
 
@MonicaCellio that's visible :-/
 
anyone can see it, provided they have a link
 
@bilbo_pingouin that's what I thought. It just worked for me incognito, too. I think the idea is to allow pre-publication collaboration, but it'd be nice if it were configurable that way.
 
8:53 PM
I used two different browsers, on one I am not logged in medium at all...
 
Ok, so the workflow would be: schedule blog post, schedule event, and then on publication day add the direct link. Meanwhile, the meta post can always have the main blog link, so if people see the event before the meta post is updated they still have a path to the new post.
I'll create a meta post tonight, including (I hope) assembling a list of posts in an answer. So a new post gets featured in the question initially, and then when the next post comes along it moves down to the answer.
And I'll make that MSE feature request to figure out how to better integrate blogs (better = less manual intervention), accounting for the need for oversight and fast recovery from problems.
 
 
2 hours later…
10:48 PM
@MonicaCellio All of the above sounds fantastic. Thank you.
 

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