This article describes some of the microsite models that we have developed, along with proposed ways of working to ensure that such sites are professional and accurate.
First, I propose some guidelines for allowing us to build provisional and experimental sites without compromising the FFII's official position on certain subjects.
Next, I describe a set of example microsite models. I hope that over time we'll expand this set of templates.
- Create well-targetted sites rather than broad sites.
- Create sites that support well-defined projects.
- Microsites are the responsibility of specific workgroup(s).
- Microsites are public, and represent FFII viewpoint(s).
We look at each microsite model in terms of these criteria:
- Format of the site, how it works.
- Goals of the site.
- Lifespan: how long it is designed to last for.
- Branding: whether or not it has its own domain, logo, identity.
- Language: whether or not it needs to be multilingual.
- Support: how many people, and what kind of team, are needed to run it.
- Key points: what makes such a site work, or fail.
- Examples of existing sites that work like this.
We have discussed the issue of how to publish unofficial works in progress. In some cases, sites can be made private, but this is difficult to manage (it means they cannot be easily reviewed and corrected).
My vision is that it is necessary to allow FFII activists, working in a team, to produce new and interesting sites, with a minimum of burocracy. At the same time it is necessary to protect the FFII's reputation and authority.
These are my proposals:
- We explicitly allow experimental sites in order to test the reaction on particular positions, campaigns, etc.
- We accept that individuals who are strongly identified with the FFII cannot make such sites on their own behalf, because people will in any case associate such sites with the FFII.
Provisional sites carry this phrase on every page: "This site is not an official FFII position, but a work in progress, and its contents are subject to review."
- Official sites will not have this phrase.
- Both provisional and official sites may use the FFII logo, and link back to FFII sites.
- All microsites must be the responsibilty of a well-identified workgroup, who will answer for any problems such sites might create.
- The workgroup and people responsible for a site must be noted on the site in a page "About" or "Contact".
- The board will be responsible for deciding what sites can be official.
Format: classic wiki consisting of evolving tree structure of pages.
Goals: allow people to work on a rich information package, aimed at a specific public.
Lifespan: depends on the project.
Branding: weak branding (somewiki.ffii.org).
Language: single language.
Support: wide support from FFII experts.
Key points: accuracy of material, speed of development (we often have deadlines).
Format: news/comments site consisting of regular updates, with discussions.
Goals: bring people back to a source of running water.
Branding: strong branding (domain, logo, identity).
Language: single language.
Support: support from small team of editors.
Key points: well-written stories, interesting and new material.
Format: main page with signature form, some backing pages.
Goals: create noise around specific issues.
Lifespan: short-lived (3-12 months).
Branding: very strong branding.
Language: multi-lingual for most pages.
Support: media and packaging support.
Key points: controversial, aggressive, simple, backed by hard arguments.
Format: pages for registration, programme, information.
Goals: acts as information center for specific event or events.
Lifespan: limited, as defined by events.
Branding: weak branding, unless multiple events are planned.
Support: from event organisers.
Key points: simple to use for speakers and attendees.
Format: classic wiki containing detailed reference material.
Goals: provide an on-line encyclopedia.
Branding: strong branding.
Support: support from wide team of FFII experts.
Key points: accuracy of information.