Thread: Re: Mission Alumni Pages


Summary

This thread developed into the mission.net project you see here and into the lds-alumni mailing list for mission page maintainers.



From: Troy Young
Sent: Monday, January 08, 1996 2:24 PM
To: 'Lorin Thwaits'; 'Robert Craig Harman'; 'Brandon S Plewe'; 'Robert B Lawlor'; 'Sean Foley'
Subject: Just an idea about WWW mission pages...

I'd like to bounce an idea off of you, knowing in advance that
there are some serious concerns to be raised, so I won't be offended
if the idea is rejected soundly right off.

It occured to me that it is possible to have your own domain name
(e.g. www.missions.com, etc.) at a fairly reasonable cost (on
Primenet it's $50 initial cost + $50/year), so that a mission
page could be called:

http://www.missions.com/ecuaguay

instead of:

http://www.primenet.com/~troyy/ecuaguay

for example.

My thought was that all of us could pool funds (maybe $5/ea, or
something, plus $10/year?) to fund this account, and then use
it to hold all of our pages. (If at least a majority of page authors
wanted to be involved, that amount should cover both the domain
name charge and the normal $21/month charge for server space along
with the $2.50/mo. per 5MB of server space).

Right off, I see several pros and cons:

Pros:

- Mission page URL's would be shorter and easier to remember.
- All mission pages could be accessed via an index at http://www.missions.com
(or whatever name was used)--it would be nice if the author of
one of the existing indices could continue to maintain it at this
site).
- Web users that couldn't normally maintain a web site (e.g. college
students w/ only dial-up access, or Compuserve users, etc.) could
maintain a page.
- We could develop standard CGI scripts (search scripts, etc.)
and have them installed by Primenet, sharing that cost (about
$50/hour, I think).
- We could establish a page (or pages) dedicated to general Mission
Alumni Page issues.
- Perhaps the united effort would encourage the Church to get
more involved in the Web and help guide our efforts, or even endorse
our pages (list them in Church News, Ensign, etc.)
- The "dues" mentioned above could also be used for
mass mailings to institutes, ward buildings, missions, etc. to
advertise our pages.

Cons:

- Everyone maintaining pages at the site would use the same account
and password, reducing security.
- Additional cost, in the form of dues (as mentioned above). (If
this is a real problem, I'd be willing to cover the expenses myself--it
would be under $400/year. I would just convert my current personal
Primenet account to a non-profit account, and then I'd use my
Starnet account--or my AOL account or Compuserve account or Digital
Concepts account--for my personal e-mail, etc.)
- We'd all have to move our pages. Shouldn't take long, though.

- For all we know, the Church may never officially endorse our
pages, the WWW may collapse entirely, or some other calamity could
befall us.

Another factor to consider is that I (or, rather, my company)
may be getting a Web server some time in the next six months,
so I could do it for free (except the $50/yr domain name charge,
which we'd still have to pay). We're undecided at this point,
though, so I wouldn't count on it.

As I said, it's just an idea. Let me know what you think, including
any pros/cons that I may have forgotten.

Thanks!

Troy

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From: Robert B Lawlor
Sent: Monday, January 08, 1996 12:40 PM
To: Troy Young
Cc: 'Lorin Thwaits'; 'Robert Craig Harman'; 'Brandon S Plewe'; 'Sean Foley'
Subject: Re: Just an idea about WWW mission pages...

On Mon, 8 Jan 1996, Troy Young wrote:

> It occured to me that it is possible to have your own domain name (e.g.
> www.missions.com, etc.) at a fairly reasonable cost (on Primenet it's $50
> initial cost + $50/year), so that a mission page could be called: ...

I'm the system administrator of CacheNet, and would be in a position to
set something like this up. Some of you know I've been a little slow to
keep up to date on some things, but I enjoy programming and sometimes
find ways to speed things up by writing scripts or C++ code to automate
things (I maintain a mirror of Brandon's LDS page this way, as well as
the mission index with icons).

I haven't yet worked with virtual host names (multiple hosts on a single
server), though I'm being pressured to figure it out, and I'm confident I
could do it. The possibility of setting it up on a separate machine also
exists, though funds are low for that right now. I could probably get a
virtual host set up within a month or less. The InterNIC often takes
several weeks to register a domain name (I don't know whether they've
gotten any better since my last experiences).
...

> Pros:

> - Mission page URL's would be shorter and easier to remember.
> - All mission pages could be accessed via an index at
> http://www.missions.com (or whatever name was used)--it would be nice if
> the author of one of the existing indices could continue to maintain it at
> this site).

This could be done. Security would be an issue, but I could set up
separate accounts for each maintainer (telnet-only) and allow access only
to their own pages.

> - Web users that couldn't normally maintain a web site (e.g. college
> students w/ only dial-up access, or Compuserve users, etc.) could maintain
> a page.

> - We could develop standard CGI scripts (search scripts, etc.) and have
> them installed by Primenet, sharing that cost (about $50/hour, I think).

Again, I enjoy scripting, and could certainly set things up for whatever
arrangement, search techniques, etc. (though you might have to have
patience with me, and prod me on from time to time). No cost, of
course. It would just take programming time, which I do fit in.

> - We could establish a page (or pages) dedicated to general Mission
> Alumni Page issues.
> - Perhaps the united effort would encourage the Church to get more
> involved in the Web and help guide our efforts, or even endorse our pages
> (list them in Church News, Ensign, etc.)

> - The "dues" mentioned above could also be used for mass mailings to
> institutes, ward buildings, missions, etc. to advertise our pages.

Could be. I could set things up for mail as well. I'm hesitant to
expect that the Church will get involved any time soon. But I'd
certainly be willing to provide such a service if people are interested.
I'd want to be careful about collecting any sort of dues; I wouldn't want
to be accused or suspected of trying to make a profit.

> Cons:

> - Everyone maintaining pages at the site would use the same account and
> password, reducing security.

Again, I could set up separate accounts for each maintainer.

> - Additional cost, in the form of dues (as mentioned above). (If this is
> a real problem, I'd be willing to cover the expenses myself--it would be
> under $400/year. I would just convert my current personal Primenet account
> to a non-profit account, and then I'd use my Starnet account--or my AOL
> account or Compuserve account or Digital Concepts account--for my personal
> e-mail, etc.)

I don't know how much of our system's resources this would take up. As
long as people were careful not to start loading the system with sound
and video, and I could keep a careful watch on bandwidth, etc., I can't
see that it would be much of a process.

> - We'd all have to move our pages. Shouldn't take long, though.

I would expect that not everyone would be overly enthusiastic about
moving their pages. Many people are probably comfortable with their
arrangement as they have it now. If such an arrangement were to be made,
we'd would certainly not push people to move their pages. We could still
manage to maintain adequate indexing, forwarding, etc.

> - For all we know, the Church may never officially endorse our pages,
> the WWW may collapse entirely, or some other calamity could befall us.

I doubt the WWW will collapse. The Church won't collapse. And I trust
there is enough value in the technology that we ought to fight to maintain
our piece of heaven wherever we are. I don't want to do anything that
might be shunned by the leaders of the Church, but I feel pretty good
about these mission pages. Everything ought to be done in moderation---
we need to be careful not to get too caught up in our own interests that
we forget what the gospel is all about.

> Another factor to consider is that I (or, rather, my company) may be
> getting a Web server some time in the next six months, so I could do it
> for free (except the $50/yr domain name charge, which we'd still have to
> pay). We're undecided at this point, though, so I wouldn't count on it.

CacheNet is a relatively new business, and it's hard to say what the
future holds. I'm open to the idea, and would be willing to give it a shot.
Of course, I'd have to confirm the arrangement with the owner. I suppose
there is a chance of concern from him or others around here, but they are
members of the Church, and I think would welcome the idea.

> As I said, it's just an idea. Let me know what you think, including any
> pros/cons that I may have forgotten.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have questions, suggestions, etc.

-Robert

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From: Troy Young
Sent: Monday, January 08, 1996 11:21 PM
To: 'Robert B Lawlor'
Subject: RE: Just an idea about WWW mission pages...

Robert,

Thanks for your response!

>I'm the system administrator of CacheNet, and would be in a position to
>set something like this up. Some of you know I've been a little slow to
>keep up to date on some things, but I enjoy programming and sometimes
>find ways to speed things up by writing scripts or C++ code to automate
>things (I maintain a mirror of Brandon's LDS page this way, as well as
>the mission index with icons).

>I haven't yet worked with virtual host names (multiple hosts on a single
>server), though I'm being pressured to figure it out, and I'm confident I
>could do it. The possibility of setting it up on a separate machine also
>exists, though funds are low for that right now. I could probably get a
>virtual host set up within a month or less. The InterNIC often takes
>several weeks to register a domain name (I don't know whether they've
>gotten any better since my last experiences).

Ooooh. Your idea sounds better than mine. It seems to me that the traffic involved here would be relatively light, since our pages are more information-centered than multimedia-centered. At this point, I'm using less than 200K for all of my pages (including my personal page and a little family history page). I don't see where sound and video would be of much value, unless someone wants to include traditional music or something, but most people don't want to sit around for 45 minutes for a .wav file to download anyway.

Of course, once each page has a hundred or more interested RM's perousing it, there may be a problem.

>Security would be an issue, but I could set up
>separate accounts for each maintainer (telnet-only) and allow access only
>to their own pages.

That would be great. My assumption was that there would be _no_ security.

>> - We could develop standard CGI scripts (search scripts, etc.) and have
>> them installed by Primenet, sharing that cost (about $50/hour, I think).

>Again, I enjoy scripting, and could certainly set things up for whatever
>arrangement, search techniques, etc. (though you might have to have
>patience with me, and prod me on from time to time). No cost, of
>course. It would just take programming time, which I do fit in.

I can see several applications where some simple (or maybe not so simple?) CGI scripts would really enhance a page. Unfortunately, Primenet doesn't allow you to install and test your own scripts on their server--you have to write and test each script, and then pay their guys $50/hour to install and test it on their server. So I haven't taken the time to learn PERL or anything.

>> - Perhaps the united effort would encourage the Church to get more
>> involved in the Web and help guide our efforts, or even endorse our pages
>> (list them in Church News, Ensign, etc.)

>I'm hesitant to expect that the Church will get involved any time soon. But I'd
>certainly be willing to provide such a service if people are interested.

I agree. But wouldn't it be great if a calling were created for someone who could certify each page and give it the Church's OK? I'm frustrated sometimes that Salt Lake is so slow to utilize the technology that is available. For example, why is PAF still a DOS-based program? Why do ward clerks still _mail_ membership information to Salt Lake City every week (and you can't convince me it's a security issue)? Why are ward buildings forbidden to even install Windows on Church computers? Anyway, it seems like these mission alumni pages may ultimately affect thousands or tens of thousands of returned missionaries, so why shouldn't Salt Lake take notice? (I hope I don't sound like a "liberal Mormon", because I'm not.)

>> - The "dues" mentioned above could also be used for mass mailings to
>>institutes, ward buildings, missions, etc. to advertise our pages.

>I'd want to be careful about collecting any sort of dues; I wouldn't want
>to be accused or suspected of trying to make a profit.

Good point. Any efforts should probably be donated, without money changing hands.

>I don't know how much of our system's resources this would take up. As
>long as people were careful not to start loading the system with sound
>and video, and I could keep a careful watch on bandwidth, etc., I can't
>see that it would be much of a process.

Yeah, I wouldn't expect much traffic for a couple of years.

>> - We'd all have to move our pages. Shouldn't take long, though.

>I would expect that not everyone would be overly enthusiastic about
>moving their pages. Many people are probably comfortable with their
>arrangement as they have it now. If such an arrangement were to be made,
>we'd would certainly not push people to move their pages. We could still
>manage to maintain adequate indexing, forwarding, etc.

I agree completely.

>> - For all we know, the Church may never officially endorse our pages,
>>the WWW may collapse entirely, or some other calamity could befall us.

> I doubt the WWW will collapse.

I agree, but there are those who predict that WWW will meet the same fate as the CB radio. Fat chance.

>The Church won't collapse.

No. The WWW will eventually collapse, and Microsoft will someday be a memory, but I'm not worried about the Church.

>I don't want to do anything that might be shunned by the leaders of the
>Church, but I feel pretty good about these mission pages. Everything
>ought to be done in moderation--we need to be careful not to get too
>caught up in our own interests that we forget what the gospel is all about.

If anyone starts one of these pages with any intention other than to strengthen the Church and increase the unity of its members, then they missed some important lessons during their mission. My hope is that the Church leaders will recognize the potential of these pages and help us make sure that the content is appropriate and uplifting.

>> Another factor to consider is that I (or, rather, my company) may be
>> getting a Web server some time in the next six months, so I could do it
>> for free (except the $50/yr domain name charge, which we'd still have to
>> pay). We're undecided at this point, though, so I wouldn't count on it.

>CacheNet is a relatively new business, and it's hard to say what the
>future holds. I'm open to the idea, and would be willing to give it a shot.
>Of course, I'd have to confirm the arrangement with the owner. I suppose
>there is a chance of concern from him or others around here, but they are
>members of the Church, and I think would welcome the idea.

Well, let's see what happens. I sent the same message to some other prominent mission page authors, so let's see what their thoughts are. If the owners of CacheNet would like to donate server space and bandwidth to us, that would be great, and greatly appreciated. In the end, though, it may not be worthwhile, if other page maintainers aren't interested.

Thanks for your thoughts, ideas, offers, efforts, etc. I can't believe there are 62 pages already--my page was the 35th, and that was just over two months ago. Exciting stuff!

Thanks again,

Troy

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From: LThwaits
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 1996 7:02 AM

Subject: Re: Just an idea about WWW mission pages...

Robert and Troy,

As a mission-page maintainer, I think having our own domain name is a great
idea. I don't think moving the pages over would be much of a problem. I'm
willing to put some money toward the registration of the name, and I think at
least half of the other mission page owners out there would do the same.
This is a great thing we've got going here, I would say. And it's only
going to get bigger.

Yesterday I mailed out a letter to a few hundred LDS people on AOL telling
them about mission pages, and from the response I got back it's clear that
95% of LDS people on AOL don't have any idea that they can actually access a
mission page. The word isn't yet out. I think if more people knew, then
we'd have many more people interested in getting on our pages. Getting a
domain name is a good step towards centralizing the whole effort and
simplifying it for the end user.

Robert, I'm delighted that we've got someone with your talent as a resource
in our work. I hope that we can get things together, either through a
provider or through your work, so that ultimately more people can find out
about mission pages. I think it's the start of something big.

-Lorin Thwaits

Maintainer of the Canada Calgary Mission web page

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From: Brandon Plewe
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 1996 1:32 PM
To: Robert B Lawlor
Cc: Troy Young; 'Lorin Thwaits'; 'Robert Craig Harman'; 'Sean Foley'
Subject: Re: Just an idea about WWW mission pages...

On Mon, 8 Jan 1996, Robert B Lawlor wrote:

> On Mon, 8 Jan 1996, Troy Young wrote:
>
> > It occured to me that it is possible to have your own domain name (e.g.
> > www.missions.com, etc.) at a fairly reasonable cost (on Primenet it's $50
> > initial cost + $50/year), so that a mission page could be called: ...
>
> I'm the system administrator of CacheNet, and would be in a position to
> set something like this up. Some of you know I've been a little slow to
> keep up to date on some things, but I enjoy programming and sometimes
> find ways to speed things up by writing scripts or C++ code to automate
> things (I maintain a mirror of Brandon's LDS page this way, as well as
> the mission index with icons).
>
> I haven't yet worked with virtual host names (multiple hosts on a single
> server), though I'm being pressured to figure it out, and I'm confident I
> could do it. The possibility of setting it up on a separate machine also
> exists, though funds are low for that right now. I could probably get a
> virtual host set up within a month or less. The InterNIC often takes
> several weeks to register a domain name (I don't know whether they've
> gotten any better since my last experiences).

I'm not one for centralization. One of the beauties of the Web (which
I've learned again and again with the Virtual Tourist), is the beauty of
distributed resources. The fact that people are able to maintain their
own information at their own sites opens the world up a lot bigger.

On the other hand, I can see a central site being useful for those people
who don't have access to web space in their own accounts. However, would
CacheNet be willing to provide free accounts to people?

I would like to have one master list, instead of each of us maintaining a
separate one. I don't really want to do it, although I like having the
brief history synopsis for each (I do that so older missionaries can see
which mission(s) corresponds to the one they went to which has a
different name or has been split many times).

If one of you wanted to run the master list on a central site, I'd be
willing to create a map interface, like in the Virtual Tourist--I think
this will be useful when there are more locations. I'd probably also throw
in the local membership sites (see

http://wings.buffalo.edu/~plewe/local.html) as well.

Brandon

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From: Robert B Lawlor
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 1996 1:01 PM
To: Brandon Plewe
Cc: Troy Young; 'Lorin Thwaits'; 'Robert Craig Harman'; 'Sean Foley'
Subject: Re: Just an idea about WWW mission pages...

On Wed, 10 Jan 1996, Brandon Plewe wrote:

...

> I'm not one for centralization. One of the beauties of the Web (which
> I've learned again and again with the Virtual Tourist), is the beauty of
> distributed resources. The fact that people are able to maintain their
> own information at their own sites opens the world up a lot bigger.

I agree.

> On the other hand, I can see a central site being useful for those people
> who don't have access to web space in their own accounts. However, would
> CacheNet be willing to provide free accounts to people?

I've talked with some people around here, and no one has a problem with
the idea. I'm willing to give it a shot. Yes, I can provide free
telnet-in accounts. Our most costly resource is the modem pool, so as
long the modems aren't being used, it's no problem. Of course, I would
expect people to respect the accounts, using them for the mission pages
and not bogging down the server with other web pages or other activities.

> I would like to have one master list, instead of each of us maintaining a
> separate one. I don't really want to do it, although I like having the
> brief history synopsis for each (I do that so older missionaries can see
> which mission(s) corresponds to the one they went to which has a
> different name or has been split many times).
>
> If one of you wanted to run the master list on a central site, I'd be
> willing to create a map interface, like in the Virtual Tourist--I think
> this will be useful when there are more locations. I'd probably also throw
> in the local membership sites (see
> http://wings.buffalo.edu/~plewe/local.html) as well.
>
> Brandon

I'd be willing to maintain the list, and include the mission history
synopsis as well. I'd need to know where to find that information---I
hope it's not a time-consuming research process! :)

The map interface idea has intrigued me for a while. You would be welcome
to maintain it on our system (assuming the Linux configuration is
appropriate), or on your own---whichever is most convenient.

If no one opposes the idea, I'm willing to make a directory layout plan
and take suggestions, etc. I would like to get some help with this,
preferably some sort of group of people willing to put some time into
planning, maintenance, and programming if possible. If we're going to do
this, it ought to be done well.

Any suggestions? Any one opposed? Who else should be involved? Who
prefers not to be involved? We can set up simple mailing lists, decide on
any sort of templates, databases, or whatever else might help to keep it
organized. We're running on Linux 1.2.13 using the latest (I think)
Apache web server. I prefer to do programming in gnu C++ and Bourne shell
scripts, though I'm open to whatever will do the job.

-Robert

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From: Sean Foley
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 1996 11:16 PM
Subject: Re: Just an idea about WWW mission pages... -Reply

I've enjoyed immensely this thread that Troy started, and hope that I
can be indulged for a couple of comments. I'm the only one on the
thread that doesn't maintain a page personally (either mission or
list), so I don't have that perspective to offer. My perspective is
one of observation (I've been on the Paris page since the beginning
and since that time have closely watched all the pages), as well as
involvement (I have worked a lot with Craig Harman on designs and
strategies for that page and have done quite a lot of publicity both
for the Paris page and mission pages in general.) So if you're
interested, here's a few comments on what I've seen as a
non-maintainer (if not, you certainly know by now what to do with
uninteresting mail):

* I agree with the comments that one of the key strengths of the web
is in individual ownership. Attempts to standardize too much are
going to cause the creativity to stagnate.

* For example, I'm not sold on the proposal to combine the various
index pages. Currently I see each providing something unique
(graphics, history, speed of updating, completeness, authors, etc.)
For the same reason that Yahoo, Lycos, Alta Vista, and company are
going to coexist for awhile, I don't think that we should be too
anxious to restrict ourselves to one index. Over time people will
start to know what they want, and the indices (as well as mission
pages, and the whole darn Internet for that matter) will start to
homogenize. Right now, with just over 1100 missionaries registered,
none of us are totally sure yet what we like, so let's see it all.

* That's not to say that some central structure cannot provide a
great service at this stage in the development of the mission pages.
There are many things that I think it could give: ideas, publicity,
resources (i.e. disk space, connections, discussion group of page
owners, etc.) Working together I think we could really see mission
pages go to the next level. While my last comment was on the
importance of individualism of thought, having a pool of skills and
resources is vital. What good does a great idea do you, if you don't
have the resource (the software, disk space, script, graphic, etc.)
to make it happen?

* Finally I agree that this should absolutely be considered as being
not at all directly related to the church. Obviously that is a
common bind between us all; however I don't see it ever being
recognized by the church. It's just a fun way for old friends to get
together and keep in touch and share information. Trying to make it
any more than that would be extremely dangerous. Just look at the
Mormon newsgroups (very briefly) if you don't believe that.

Thanks again for indulging me, and for all the great work that you do
on these pages!

Sean Foley

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From: Troy Young
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 1996 11:28 PM
To: 'Brandon Plewe'; 'Robert B Lawlor'
Cc: 'Lorin Thwaits'; 'Robert Craig Harman'; 'Sean Foley'
Subject: RE: Just an idea about WWW mission pages...

On Wed, 10 Jan 1996, Robert B Lawlor wrote:

>On Wed, 10 Jan 1996, Brandon Plewe wrote:
>...
>> I'm not one for centralization. One of the beauties of the Web (which
>> I've learned again and again with the Virtual Tourist), is the beauty of
>> distributed resources. The fact that people are able to maintain their
>> own information at their own sites opens the world up a lot bigger.
>
>I agree.

Valid point--I'd definitely rather maintain my page on Primenet with my other pages. Makes directory organization, etc., convenient.

>> On the other hand, I can see a central site being useful for those people
>> who don't have access to web space in their own accounts. However, would
>> CacheNet be willing to provide free accounts to people?
>
>I've talked with some people around here, and no one has a problem with
>the idea. I'm willing to give it a shot. Yes, I can provide free
>telnet-in accounts. Our most costly resource is the modem pool, so as
>long the modems aren't being used, it's no problem. Of course, I would
>expect people to respect the accounts, using them for the mission pages
>and not bogging down the server with other web pages or other activities.
>

Also, I would imagine that most of the people that would use this would eventually
ecide to get a permanent account locally, and their pages would move accordingly.

I really like this concept--it accomplishes everything I was shooting for originally, without inconveniencing current mission page maintainers.

>> I would like to have one master list, instead of each of us maintaining a
>> separate one. I don't really want to do it...
>
>I'd be willing to maintain the list, and include the mission history
>synopsis as well. I'd need to know where to find that information---I
>hope it's not a time-consuming research process! :)
>

I think there's a Church Almanac with that info.

>The map interface idea has intrigued me for a while. You would be welcome
>to maintain it on our system (assuming the Linux configuration is
>appropriate), or on your own---whichever is most convenient.
>

I still love the idea of being able to point to www.missions.org (or whatever) to get an index of mission pages. Very easy to remember. In my mind, that would be the greatest benefit of using CacheNet resources, although I like the other ideas also.

>If no one opposes the idea, I'm willing to make a directory layout plan
>and take suggestions, etc. I would like to get some help with this,
>preferably some sort of group of people willing to put some time into
>planning, maintenance, and programming if possible. If we're going to do
>this, it ought to be done well.
>

Count me in.

>Any suggestions? Any one opposed? Who else should be involved? Who
>prefers not to be involved?

Just a question--is CacheNet usually pretty quick? The last time I looked at your page it seemed a little slow. Primenet bogs down pretty often, too, so I understand if its a sporatic thing. Not that it matters.

>We can set up simple mailing lists, decide on
>any sort of templates, databases, or whatever else might help to keep it
>organized. We're running on Linux 1.2.13 using the latest (I think)
>Apache web server. I prefer to do programming in gnu C++ and Bourne shell
>scripts, though I'm open to whatever will do the job.

I don't have any experience with Bourne shell, and limited experience in C++, and I haven't had a chance to learn how to write CGI scripts, but I know HTML pretty well and I've designed a MS Access database that automatically generates HTML code for my email list. Saves a lot of time. Eventually, I hope to automate all of my pages that way. I could do something similar for a list of mission pages. It could generate versions for text browsers, pre-HTML 2.0 browsers, and browsers that support HTML 3.0 and other extensions (MS Explorer, Netscape 2.0, etc.)

Anyway, I really like the direction this is taking.

By the way, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I have a recent list of all of the Institutes in the U.S. and Canada, and I intend to send flyers to about 50-100 of the largest ones (probably all those with 200 students or more). Any suggestions/thoughts/etc.?

Thanks,

Troy

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From: Troy Young
Sent: Thursday, January 11, 1996 12:06 AM
Subject: RE: Just an idea about WWW mission pages... -Reply

Sean,

>I've enjoyed immensely this thread that Troy started...

Cool. I'd never started a thread before this one.

>* I agree with the comments that one of the key strengths of the web
>is in individual ownership. Attempts to standardize too much are
>going to cause the creativity to stagnate.

Yes, I see that now. The thing that keeps me browsing others' mission pages is the variety of techniques and such.

>* For example, I'm not sold on the proposal to combine the various
>index pages. Currently I see each providing something unique
>(graphics, history, speed of updating, completeness, authors, etc.)

This is true. I spend equal time at a couple of different mission page indices for different reasons. However, it _might_ be nice to have a master index (at an easy-to-remember URL like www.missions.org) that would integrate the best features of the other indices, as well as links to those indices.

>* Finally I agree that this should absolutely be considered as being
>not at all directly related to the church. Obviously that is a
>common bind between us all; however I don't see it ever being
>recognized by the church. It's just a fun way for old friends to get
>together and keep in touch and share information. Trying to make it
>any more than that would be extremely dangerous. Just look at the
>Mormon newsgroups (very briefly) if you don't believe that.

I'm afraid I don't have enough time on the 'Net to recognize the dangers you refer to, but I trust your judgement. I guess I would like to see some sort of official endorsement for two reasons: First, it would be somewhat comforting to know that our efforts aren't frowned upon by Church leadership (although I can't imagine why that would happen). Second, it's possible, although unlikely, that a mission page could be introduced that wouldn't represent the beliefs and standards of the LDS people as well as I believe all of the current mission pages do. (See "Space Mormons" at http://www.compassnet.com/~sacerdoc/smormons.html for an example of a page that I find very interesting, but somewhat disturbing--I wonder what non-members think of it.) I don't like the idea of Big Brother watching us, but...well, the more I think about it, the more trivial it seems. I'm sure we'll be fine w/o official endorsement.

One thing I will say, though, is that I don't feel comfortable using the official Church logo on my page w/o its endorsement.

Thanks,

Troy

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From: Robert B Lawlor'
Subject: RE: Just an idea about WWW mission pages...

On Wed, 10 Jan 1996, Troy Young wrote:

...[mission history question]...

> I think there's a Church Almanac with that info.

Where can I get ahold of this?

> Just a question--is CacheNet usually pretty quick? The last time I looked
> at your page it seemed a little slow. Primenet bogs down pretty often,
> too, so I understand if its a sporatic thing. Not that it matters.

We've been running on a 56K line through American Fork and SprintNet into
Chicago, which has not been an extremely reliable connection, and which has
been feeling slower as our traffic has increased. We've now got a T1 hooked
into Salt Lake, following a short route to the NAP in Denver. We still need
to change our IP addresses in order to configure all routing to use the T1,
and we're planning to do that switch-over in two weeks. If all goes well,
the connection will be faster and more reliable after that.

-Robert

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From: Brandon Plewe
Subject: RE: Just an idea about WWW mission pages... -Reply

On Thu, 11 Jan 1996, Troy Young wrote:

> I'm afraid I don't have enough time on the 'Net to recognize the dangers you refer
to, but I trust your judgement. I guess I would like to see some sort of official
endorsement for two reasons: First, it would be somewhat comforting to know that our
efforts aren't frowned upon by Church leadership (although I can't imagine why that
would happen). Second, it's possible, although unlikely, that a mission page could
be introduced that wouldn't represent the beliefs and standards of the LDS people as
well as I believe all of the current mission pages do. (See "Space Mormons" at
http://www.compassnet.com/~sacerdoc/smormons.html for an example of a page that I
find very interesting, but somewhat disturbing--I wonder what non-members think of
it.) I don't like the idea of Big Brother watching us, but...well, the more I think
about it, the more trivial it seems. I'm sure we'll be fine w/o official endorsement.

(I'm still trying to figure out what to make of Space Mormons--the guy
wanted me to list it on my LDS page, but I couldn't think of a one-line
description--is it a joke? is it supposed to be eccentric? is it anti?)
I would rather not see the Church endorse these pages, or take them over,
although I would like to see the Church provide some kind of official
information separate from these pages, including mission information
(i.e. boundaries, offices, and languages for *every* mission, so members
& nonmembers can know what mission they are in and how to contact
the missionaries)

> One thing I will say, though, is that I don't feel comfortable using the
official Church logo on my page w/o its endorsement.

That's easy--the Church logo is copyrighted and you shouldn't use it.
Some of us (not myself, but I was warned indirectly) were actually
contacted by Church officials about using it unofficially.

Brandon

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From: Troy Young
Sent: Thursday, January 11, 1996 10:39 AM
Subject: Re: Just an idea about WWW mission pages...

FYI, I've got a page that you can access from my mission page that has this thread on it. It's at:

http://www.primenet.com/~troyy/ecuaguay/thread.html

I thought that maybe someone with a complete list of mission page authors could send them e-mail making them aware of the thread so that they can become involved if they want.

Thanks,

Troy

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From: Robert Craig Harman
Sent: Thursday, January 11, 1996 4:35 AM
Subject: Re: Just an idea about WWW mission pages... -Reply

>> By the way, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I have a
>> recent list of all of the Institutes in the U.S. and Canada, and I intend to
>> send flyers to about 50-100 of the largest ones (probably all those with
>> 200 students or more). Any suggestions/thoughts/etc.?

> In November I sent flyers to about 13 of the biggest institutes in the West.
> I'll send you the list of which ones I did.

> We've seen one person join the Paris list because of them, and I hope that
> there have been others join other lists. Possibly there have even been a
> couple new pages started. As Lorin confirms in his last message, I think
> there are still a lot of fairly net-literate people out there that don't know
> that the pages exist. They just haven't thought to look.

Indeed, the person who signed on to the Paris list due to the flyers said that
he'd be sending e-mail to all his companions who he has contact with, implying
that there are large numbers we haven't reached yet.

...Craig

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From: LThwaits
Sent: Thursday, January 11, 1996 11:45 AM

Subject: An exciting new development with the mission web pages

Dear Web Page Owners,

Lately there has been talk (or email, rathar) of creating a domain on the
Internet just for mission web pages. This thread is now two days old and
holds about 15 messages which cover all sorts of aspects of such a
proposition. We'd like for you as the maintainers of the web pages to be
aware of this possibility and comment about your feelings of an internet site
just for the mission pages. The thread can be read, courtesy of Troy Young,
at his site. This is the URL:

http://www.primenet.com/~troyy/ecuaguay/thread.html

Thanks for the excellent work, all of you, on your mission pages.

-Lorin Thwaits

(author of the Canada Calgary Mission web page)



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