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08 December 1997

November 1997 ECTC Status Report

by Randall Severy <>>

The Electronic Communications Technical Committee continued the momentum in November that has built up over the past few months. Activity continued at a steady pace in the ASI Web Team, where a large volume of updates to the ASI web site were processed as part of the Missing Links and Moon Miners Manifesto projects. Two more ECTC members joined the growing list of ICQ users. Bobby Will requested several new ASI mailing lists, but the requests were delayed due to some organizational changes at IO, the host of the ASI domain. And John Wertz organized a General Artemis IRC Meeting, which was well attended.

The November ECTC IRC meeting turned out to be the most productive ECTC meeting ever. The agenda focused on seven key ECTC tasks that have been left unassigned since the ECTC Call to Action this past summer. During the meeting, new volunteers were found for all seven tasks, which gave a major boost to the level of ECTC activity this past month. The meeting also included a review of all of the Web Team projects, and the project discussions sparked a lot of new activity in those projects this past month as well.

The ECTC membership declined by one in November, with one addition and two departures. Olaf van der Zalm joined the team, but "Anonymous per request" decided to spend his time elsewhere and e-mail to Barry Gill started bouncing when his e-mail account was closed. At the end of November, the ECTC had 23 active members, with another 45 people in the Observer or Rep categories. You can find the complete ECTC membership listing, including ICQ numbers, at Even with the recent new task volunteers, there is still a lot of room for new volunteers for ECTC tasks. If you would like to join the ECTC and help with any of those tasks, you can use the form on the ECTC task list page at

Here is the latest status information from the individual work areas within the ECTC:

Help Desk

Nanci Brasket continued manning the Comm and Info Center. Tim continued working on the New Volunteer Interview System. He completed the processing of the first page of questions and is now working on getting the second page to work properly.

Listserver Mailing Lists

Several new ASI mailing lists were requested this past month. But setting up the new lists was hampered by the resignation of IO's user support manager, Noah Lee, who had handled the creation of new ASI mailing lists ever since we first moved to IO. It was quite a while before a new contact was identified for ASI mailing list requests, and by the end of November Bobby Will still had not received confirmation that the new mailing lists had been created. Before Noah left, Bobby was able to complete several changes in ownership for the ASI mailing lists.

During the November ECTC IRC meeting, we found volunteers for several key ECTC tasks in the Mailing Lists area. Scotty Gammenthaler agreed to handle updates to the ASI Electronic Communications Procedure Guide, which has fallen out of date. And Tom Wheeler and Greg Garber agreed to restart work on a set of conversation guidelines for ASI electronic discussions, a project that hasn't seen any activity in over a year.

World Wide Web Server

For the first time in almost nine months, the ASI Web System was not upgraded this past month, now that the WebSite Director software that it uses is in a stable commercial release. An enormous volume of updates flowed through the Web System this past month, thanks to the Web Team Missing Links and MMM projects. At certain times during the month, almost 200 documents were being worked on in the Web System at one time. The large volume led to some major backlogs in certain approval stages of the system as the number of updates overwhelmed the number of volunteers working on them, and the backlogs are still being cleared out. The web server that hosts the ASI web site and the ASI Web System continued having reliability problems during the month, with the site being virtually inaccessible for up to a day several times during the month.

During November, a total of 54 updates were published to the ASI web site, including 17 new documents, 36 modifications to existing documents, and one moved document. Most of the work in editing and approving the updates was done by Bobby Will, Randall Severy, Jeremy Kraemer, Greg Bennett, Brad Ackerman, John Peel, Ian Strock, Leah Simpson, Simon Rowland, John Wertz, and Candace Dicks. Some of the new documents and other updates were submitted by Richard Marsden, Tim Cadell, Scotty Gammenthaler, Peter Kokh, and Paul Blase.

Many of the updates going through the ASI Web System were corrected pages from the Missing Links project, which saw a lot of activity this month, including updates from John Wertz, who joined the Web Team and the Missing Links project this past month. The Moon Miners' Manifesto (MMM) project contributed most of the remaining updates, with over 100 new documents going through the ASI Web System from the MMM archives. Dale Amon scanned a collection of MMM drawings for use in the MMM section of the ASI web site. Candace Dicks wrote a "MMM article guidelines" document to help with the MMM formatting efforts. John Peel continued working on the Header and Footer Redesign project and developed two new sets of header and footer templates for the ASI site.

Several key Web Server tasks received new life this past month, thanks to new volunteers during the November ECTC IRC meeting. John Wertz agreed to take on the challenge of coordinating the layout and content of the entire Artemis Data Book, with new help from Candace Dicks. Later in the month, Simon Rowland returned to help with that task, which he had started over a year ago. After many months of inactivity, the ASI Internet Site Design task got a boost when Tom Wheeler volunteered to move that effort forward once again. Late in the month Tom Hopper agreed to help with that task, which he had once led many months ago.

The search engine on the ASI site has been running on autopilot for many months. With a new upgrade to the WebGlimpse search engine software, and a variety of suggestions for improving the search engine, it was time to find some volunteers to enhance and maintain the search engine. Brian Cesar and Joelle Cowan volunteered to tackle that effort. Brian began going through the user manual for WebGlimpse to get ready for the project.

Scotty Gammenthaler completed a significant update to the ASI Web Site Style Guide, splitting it up into two documents: one covering writing style and the other covering HTML coding styles. Scotty also resolved almost all of the open issues on the FAQ/FRO Redesign project and continued working on the design of the Nav Aid window that is part of the new FAQ/FRO pages.

WWW Conversation Pages

No progress to report this month.

Usenet newsgroups

No progress to report this month.

Online Services

No progress to report this month.

Real-time Meetings

In addition to the amazingly productive ECTC IRC meeting on November 2, the month of November also saw the first General Artemis IRC meeting in almost a year. The General Artemis meeting was attended by nine ASI members and provided many of the attendees with their first opportunity to meet other ASI members in real time. The conversation in the meeting tended to wander from topic to topic, but some useful discussion took place about improving ASI activities and the local chapter system. The monthly ECTC IRC meeting on November 2 set a new attendance record, with thirteen ECTC members making it to the meeting, including first-time meeting attendees Greg Garber, Joelle Cowan, and Tom Wheeler. The meeting covered a wide range of ECTC activities, with a focus on key unassigned ECTC tasks and the Web Team projects. Everyone at the meeting who was not already working on some ECTC tasks volunteered for some of the unassigned tasks, so the meeting resulted in an enormous amount of progress for just a few short hours.


Tim Cadell added several news articles to the ASI Online News this past month in his role as acting ASI Newsmonger. Tim completed the upgrade to the Cronkite software that manages the news article on the ASI site. Cronkite now interfaces directly with the ASI Web System to generate directory index pages for each section of the ASI Online News. Tim continues to look for additional writers and contacts in other ASI committees to provide activity reports as well as someone to take over as ASI Newsmonger. If you have any information that would be useful for an ASI Online News article, or if you would like to write for the Online News, contact Tim at . Tim made some enhancements to a Schedule of Events system that he is installing on the ASI web site.

Several tasks in this area received a significant boost from the November ECTC IRC Meeting. Joelle Cowan agreed to tackle the Electronic Communications FAQ document, which was first proposed over a year ago but which hasn't seen much progress since. And Bobby Will volunteered to work on maintaining historical and statistical records about the Artemis Project electronic communications infrastructure, a project that had been sitting idle for several months.

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