Plaza Status Report

March 30, 2006

Jennifer Oxelson and Joanne Graham


Inventory of mailing lists

A major inventory of our mailing lists was conducted. Old/defunct lists were identified and will be discontinued in the near future. A cull of mailing lists will ensure the community subscribes to active lists that receive regular posts to obtain useful information. (The retired lists will be 'archived' offline for future reference if needed.)


Are we spamming you?

We have been looking at our use of mailing lists and evaluating if we need to change our methods and/or frequency of how we send announcements to the community. Linda Miller, Joanne Graham, Tom Yoksas, and Jennifer Oxelson are drafting a white paper on the topic. A newsletter article soliciting feedback from the community on this topic is planned for the near future. RSS feeds for our news items will be provided late summer/early fall 2006 to provide an alternative to the mailing lists.


Support archives

The continued use of publicly-accessible email messages generated from Unidata support dialogs (aka 'support archives') was examined with respect to what role these messages would play in-conjunction with eSupport. We plan on still keeping these available, but providing them in a more user-friendly format for viewing. Old, archaic support archives will be 'retired' form the web in the near future. This will ensure pertinent information for self-support is available to the community.


Overhaul of mailing list manager

Our current mailing list program will be retired to be replaced by the popular and easier to maintain list manager, Mailman. Mailman will be integrated with our website/database to permit community members to easily subscribe/unsubscribe from our mailing lists, and update their subscription information at their convenience. Mailman is currently installed on out development server and is undergoing testing for forum integration. Expected deployment date for Mailman is summer 2006.


Addition of forums

The use of forums on the Unidata website has been requested by various community members. A survey of many forum packages was conducted, with particular focus on integration with mailing lists. The ultimate goal is to integrate selected mailing lists with a forum package, thus making available both web-based forum access and email access to the same information source. (Not all mailing lists will be integrated with forums and forums can be offered without the need for a mailing list.) Jive forums appears to be the most suitable and has been installed on our development server for testing. Expected deployment date for the forums is summer 2006 to coincide with the deployment of Mailman.


We are now using Google

Unidata's website now utilizes Google search service for a local search engine. Queries to this service will return Google results in Google ranking-order for Unidata content. Extraneous search utilities used for specifc parts of our site (Mailing list archives) will be replaced in the near future.