[SciPy-dev] Some Feedback

Janet M. Swisher swisher at enthought.com
Thu Nov 10 11:34:43 CST 2005

Robert Kern wrote:

>The evidence suggests that Plone just isn't suited to the kind and
>amount of content that our community is producing. Plone is a great CMS,
>but it's not so great when you don't have a lot of content to manage.
>Plone was selected for the website years ago on the assumption that
>people were going to register and stake out little homepages of their
>own to post their stuff. Years later, we don't have many members doing
>that but a fair amount of people posting to the Wiki. The review-by-Wiki
>process is, I think, tenable. Or at least as tenable as the Plone review
>process which we've never used to any real extent.
I think there is a process/access issue introduced by Plone, or by the 
way we've implemented it. Yes, site members can create content in their 
home folders. However, I don't think most members realize that's 
possible, or that such content would be accessible to other members. 
Also, people like to collaborate, not just work in their own silos. They 
do contribute to the existing wikis, because that is the only "public" 
area that they're allowed to change.  The non-wiki public areas are 
locked down except for commenting (and I think not all pages allow 
comments). Only a small handful of users currently have access to change 
the public pages, so pages grow stale when the original owners don't 
have time to maintain them.

Plone seems to be oriented toward PR-type content management, where you 
publish content that remains static unless you replace it with totally 
new content. (Plone doesn't really manage versions, because, in the 
intended workflow, you don't really need that.)  It's possible to use 
Plone in a more collaborative mode, as is done at oooauthors.org (now 
also hosted by Enthought). However, the content being developed there 
isn't even really published there -- it's officially published on 
documentation.openoffice.org -- so the community doesn't worry too much 
about its "public face".

For the scipy.org site, we haven't figured out (partly for lack of 
trying) how to balance the publishing mode and the collaborative mode. 
How do you balance preserving "blessed" content and organization against 
making it easy for people to contribute? I think it's possible to do 
that within Plone; it has a great deal of flexibility that we haven't 
taken advantage of. However, given Plone's apparent performance 
drawbacks, switching to Trac is a reasonable alternative. Enthought now 
uses Trac internally for other projects, so we (especially Joe) would 
get the benefit of consistency.

Janet Swisher --- Senior Technical Writer
Enthought, Inc. http://www.enthought.com

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