Archiver > USGENWEB-ALL > 2008-09 > 1221172604

From: "Mike St. Clair/ST" <>
Subject: Re: [ABChat] Website maintenance / website host issues
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 16:36:44 -0600
References: <B70C9036F75B4CFFA76F041AC0AE18A3@TinaSVickeryPC>
In-Reply-To: <B70C9036F75B4CFFA76F041AC0AE18A3@TinaSVickeryPC>

I think there are really four discrete but closely related issues that
we should talk about, which I have listed below in the order I think
they would best be discussed. Then we should take action on any of these
where the majority of the board feel action is called for. I acknowledge
that this is just one way this subject could be divided; a division that
makes sense to me. I will certainly listen to any other suggested ways
to divide this set of issues.

I think that subissue #1 can be quickly decided by the entire board and
that subissue #2 should be discussed by the entire board. I suggest that
a small subset of volunteers from within the AB (perhaps 3) should
discuss and investigate subissues #3 and #4 (in that order), presenting
the results to the AB for discussion and confirmation. As part of the
work on both, I suggest that small surveys be done to gather information
on what other similar organizations are doing. In the case of #4, I
suggest that we survey the states and USGENWEB members about the web
hosting providers they are using and their satisfaction with those
providers. This would provide a starting point for the subset of the
many such available providers that would be examined in deciding whether
we would be best served by moving, or staying with our current provider.

My breakdown of these issues into four separate subissues follows:

1 -- Performance and Capabilities of the current web hosting provider, IX

I and some others, including our webmaster, encountered serious
performance problems at times with our current provider from the time
our website moved until sometime in August. As Cyndie mentioned, there
has recently been a noticeable improvement. Since I noticed the same
sorts of problems during the same period with the server used by
ILGenWeb (also from IX) I was concerned this was much broader than our
server. I took the time to do a little research and found many other
complaints from IX account holders, most of them appearing during the
past year. It may be coincident, but IX made a major data center move in
2007, and I noticed many of the complaints were concurrent with that
move and the following months.

Based on the significant improvements that started in late August,
however, I think we could probably take this part of the combined
webhosting issues and drop it's priority, unless the former problems
return. As long as that doesn't happen, I suggest we just let item #4
address comparing IX with other potential web host providers, and
helping us decide whether we should stay or whether we would be better
served by moving to another alternative in the long run.

2 -- What portion of the web maintenance responsibility belongs to the
NC and what portion belongs to the Advisory Board.

The only mentions of website maintenance and webmaster appointment
appearing in the bylaws refer to the AB, not the NC. But it appears that
this has traditionally left to the NC, perhaps under their operational
duties role. I'd like us to discuss, decide and document, how this is
really to operate while remaining in line with what the bylaws call for.
Perhaps deciding this would help in deciding subissue #3. On the other
hand, discussing and deciding subissue #3 might help with this one. I
tend to think #2 should come before #3, but I will listen to what the
rest of you have to say about it.

3 -- Webmaster responsibilities: What should they be? Who should assist
(e.g. should there be an assistant webmaster)? Who should provide
oversight, support, and assistance from within the AB?

I understand that Phyllis Rippee started drafting something, but I
haven't seen that. Has anyone? If that exists, it might be a starting
point for discussion. In any event, I think discussion and documentation
of a formal list of responsibilities in the form of a position
description would help us resolve the obvious differences that appeared
during earlier discussion; differences between various conceptions held
by board and project members of what a webmaster should be doing. Our
target should be a documented list that the majority of the board can
sign off on. Then we should give the webmaster the capability and
responsibility to so perform and ask for regular reports back on
problems, accomplishments, suggested improvements, etc. I'm suggesting
that the same subset of the AB to address subissue #4 be tasked to
address this one also, with the final decision to be made by the full
board, of course.

4 -- Long Term, what should our arrangments be for: web hosting, domain
registration, and DNS.

After many years at Rootsweb, we made a quick move to another option for
webhosting. I think a more organized evaluation of the options available
would be useful before we decide to confirm that quick decision for the
longer term. The other two items I mention are perhaps less crucial, but
they are related and I think could be readily examined at the same time.
This examination should include comparisons of the best options, ideas
of how to pay the bills, etc.

Mike St. Clair

Tina S. Vickery wrote:
> This agenda item is carried over as Old business. As Chair, I re-open the discussion of this item.
> Tina Vickery
> National Coordinator
> USGenWeb Project

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