Why did we change from a static website to a Drupal community?
Before 2006, Esperanto-USA had a static website. That is, it consisted of "HTML" files that had to be edited by hand. Only a few people had the right to edit those files. By 2005, much of the content was out-of-date and stale. Because the information did not change often, or only had minor changes, there was not much reason for anybody to return often to the ELNA website.
This new website is a Content Management System (CMS), specifically implemented with free open-source software called Drupal. The philosophy of a Content Management System is that the users produce most of the content (that is, words, links, pictures, sound files) and a small number of people are empowered to make the decision that something should not be posted. A CMS generally makes it easy for anyone to post an announcement. For example, anyone at all (who is a logged-in user) can post a comment here, and any Esperanto-USA member can create a story that will appear for some time, on the front page.
This subtle lowering of the barrier to producing content has been shown to generate lots of content in practice.
The main purposes of this new Esperanto-USA website are to attract English speakers, introduce them to the concepts of Esperanto, and provide an on-line community for Esperanto-USA members. Having a dynamic, up-to-date site is critical to this mission. The software that hosts this site won't do that automatically; we, the members of Esperanto-USA, will provide content, and the software's job is to make it easier.
We can do this in several ways:
- By posting new content frequently, we can keep the site up-to-date.
- By building a large body of content which is searchable using the search box on this site, we make it easier for neophytes to find the piece of Esperantio that most interests them.
- By giving a voice to every member, we encourage an active dialog.
- By providing free hosting for the pages, content, and announcements of local clubs, we make easier for people to start and promote clubs.
- By showing a mixture of Esperanto and English (and with luck, Spanish) we will show that Esperanto is a living, effective language, while allowing the not-yet-Esperantist to read and understand a lot of content.