OpenWetWare:Steering committee/Meeting - May 2007

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Audio from meeting.

Chat session of meeting

SC Reports

Brief reports on the month's activity should be written by each chair 2 days before the SC meeting. At the meeting each chair will bring up any open issues that require discussion, but won't need to recount everything described below.


Traffic (pageviews and sessions) has dropped slightly since March, but is significantly higher than in February. There are no dramatic changes in the trends since the previous months in general.

A short summary of the traffic in April can be found here.

In addition, in the future we might want to consider to have a deeper look at the wiki specific statistics in addition to traffic statistics. Examples of some specific figures we could be interested in tracking:

  • Most visited pages
  • Most active pages in terms of edits
  • Most active pages in terms of number of users contributing to it
  • Number of labs, pages, users
  • Number of unique users logged in over the last month

UPDATE: Since data dumps for OWW are available, it is trivial to generate some more detailed statistics on the OWW usage, based on the wikistats (wikipedia) scripts. The tables contain quite a bit of interesting information, including the most active users and most edited pages. The charts contains general information, e.g. number of users, active users, number of articles etc.

We might want to consider to customize this set of perl scripts further, if we would need more OWW specific statistics.

notes from meeting:

  • can we produce a distilled version of the stats with some of the more important stuff and then publish it to the wiki each month?



News and highlights mailing list established to allow users to suggest/submit/discuss OWW news or highlight content

link posted on main page (lower left) to send email to

proposed guidelines for OWW news and highlights:

  • links from the main page should (almost?) exclusively highlight OWW content, including:
    • OWW labs, groups and individuals
    • useful OWW community pages, such as the conference page that Julius set up
    • OWW events/seminars
    • (possibly, occasional outside news or events but only if directly relevant to open science, web 2.0 etc.)

BioSysBio posting swapped out with iGEM announcement

Ideas for future news and highlights:

  • Upcoming conferences page [[1]]
  • iGEM teams for group or video highlights

decided to:

  • highlight hoatlin lab / silver lab
  • iGEM video highlight


This month we took a step back and started to develop infrastructure that will be useful in the outreach effort, as well as for oww members in general. We did not focus on recruitment of outreach officers or preparing outreach documents, since we would like some of this infrastructure to be in place before those efforts start.

We recognize that we need to gather more information from current oww members to better understand what they like and don't like about the current oww system. We would also like to find out how they came to join oww, and what their current usage patterns are. To this end, we have drafted an oww user survey. We would like to take the month of May to allow the sc to edit the survey, and to discuss with the extension chairs how best to implement the survey. We hope that in June the survey can be implemented and conducted. We hope that the survey will be a useful tool for the other chairs as well.

With the knowledge gained from the survey, we hope to better identify potential new members, as well as explain to them what are the benefits of oww in a more complete fashion, and focus on recruitment and developing our outreach documents.

This month we have also discussed creating an improved new user entry system through automatically generating tutorial documentation in their user/home page that will give them an immediate editing experience, and we hope a more gentle introduction to the wiki environment. We also hope, through careful design of what content is auto-generated, that this introduction can also serve to promote content creation by explaining the benefits of doing so. Finally we hope to introduce good content structure habits with this documentation which should improve the current organization of content on oww as time goes on.

In summary, as outreach officers we are committed to help the OWW community to grow. However, before getting more people involved, we felt the need to understand a bit better the package we want to 'sell'

  • Using a survey targeting the OWW community, we would like to get a snapshot of the current OWW experience?
    • Who is behind OWW ? (labs, groups, individuals ...)
    • What are they doing ? (browsing, editing, collaborate, share ...)
    • What kind of data is available (Protocols, Projects, Raw data, Lab notebook ...)
    • What is working well/ not so well ?
    • What are the expectations for the future of OWW ?
  • When someone is joining OWW, we would like to ensure that they have a positive experience and quickly understand the benefit of contributing to the community. It could be essential to trigger a 'snowball effect'.
    • Easy access to relevant info
    • Auto-generated initial content for user-page and personal projects
    • Tutorials
    • Acknowledgment system with regards to contributions
    • Easy access to current issues within the OWW community.

More specifically, we accomplished the following:

  • started looking into the google maps pluggins to create a map-based outreach officer page
  • prepared an online survey to learn more about the OWW community
  • created a list outreach@openwetware at the Outreach list page for communications within the outreach group
  • created a mock 'home page' that contains the auto-generated content

Targets for the next SC meeting:

  • finalize the questions for the oww member survey
  • finalize the content and structure for the auto-generated content (what is the content?, where is this placed?, how do we implement this?)


Installation of Google Maps extension and Dynamic Page List extension


  • sorry it's the end of the semester here and I've not had time to try out the pligg thing that I promised to do. Will do once things calm down. --Johncumbers 09:58, 2 May 2007 (EDT)


  • Interviewing candidates for the two open positions.
  • Considering a small sponsorship program by companies, thoughts from the SC?
    • SC decided this was a good idea so long as the company didn't have an overly negative connotation, we'll be running possible sponsors by the SC for approval.


RealName usernames

  • We discussed the option of moving to email login and real names for usernames to improve accountability, etc. There is an ongoing discussion here, the issue is undecided at the moment. Please contribute your thoughts.

OWW blog

  • We decided this would be better than emailing users. We could send out one email announcing it, or just put it on the main page.
  • By installing wordpress we may have the option to offer each user a blog, and we should decide if this is something worth doing.