Hi there web folks,
I want to talk about calendars! Yes, I do.
Specifically, how various folks post their dance calendar on their site, and
whether your calendar is shared with others.
At Monadnock Folklore (http://www.monadnockfolk.org), we use WordPress and a
plug-in called Event Calendar. It has the advantage of using the ICAL
standard (nothing to do with Apple). which means that other local groups can
use our "feed." See http://monadnockartsalive.org/content/local-events as an
I wonder about a national contra dance calendar hub, accepting feeds from
everywhere. Call me a dreamer!
What do others do?
Become a Monadnock Co-op
to enjoy great food and invest in our community's future.
I'm Alan Winston, a dance caller (contra, English, Regency, Victorian, Early
American, english ceilidh) in the San Francisco Bay Area. I _still_ don't have
a caller website of my own, despite having been a web server administrator
since 1994 (and author of a book on running web servers on the OpenVMS
operating system published in 2002).
I've been a member of the web services committee for the Bay Area Country Dance
Society for a long time, and have written or tweaked a bunch of CGI scripts to
support automatic display of calendar information from a database. (While I'm
a long-experienced and pretty knowledgeable OpenVMS system manager I'm an
untrained and dangerous Linux sysadmin.)
BACDS.ORG gets used to host mailman mailing lists, Apache with a custom module
or two, and a zillion subsidiary sites for BACDS camps and special events. The
infrastructure was designed in the early 2000s by server geeks (as distinct
from web designers) so it makes fairly good use of CSS and is reasonably
legible and reasonably standards-compliant, but also boring as hell. The site
is useful for people who already know they want to do contra or English dancing
- we do get people at our dances who found out about them by Googling and
getting to the website - but isn't terrifically visually appealing. And we try
to do way too much on the front page. I typically edit pages with a text
editor and code up HTML by hand.
Professionally I work on a Java-based application and work with CSS developed
by somebody who knows what he's doing.
I'm here in hopes of learning about useful content, links, and layout ideas for
BACDS.ORG, and for inspiration in getting my caller site together. (This year
I've been getting private-party gigs every couple of months, and I'd like to up
that a bit. My lackadaisical publicity plans - give out business cards -
founder on not getting the cards made because I don't have a website to put on
them, and yet I get too busy to make any sustained effort on the personal
website. And I'd rather call dances than spend time tinkering on a caller
Alan Winston --- WINSTON(a)SSRL.SLAC.STANFORD.EDU
Disclaimer: I speak only for myself, not SLAC or SSRL Phone: 650/926-3056
Paper mail to: SSRL -- SLAC BIN 99, 2575 Sand Hill Rd, Menlo Park CA 94025
Introductions - a little about me:
I've been a Modern Western Square Dancer since 1986 and an MWSD caller
since 1989. I finally "got" contras in 2005. I began calling contras
In another lifetime (in the previous millennium and before the
internet boom) I worked for Adobe Systems in silicon valley from
1983-1996. I was Adobe's first webmaster from 1994 to 1996. No, I
can't get you a good deal on any Adobe products or upgrades :( I am
NOT facile with any current Adobe products, so don't expect me to be
able to help more than a good google search would.
I built and maintain a personal caller's website (old-school HTML) at
It's been hosted at dreamhost.com for some time and I'm happy with
them, but I'm by no means a power user of their services.
I also built and manage the local contra dance web site for South
Florida (with google sites, google maps, and google calendar) at
I'm reasonably proud of it and would appreciate any feedback.
I help maintain the "South Florida Contradance" group on Facebook at
and my own Facebook "fan page" at
http://www.facebook.com/AndyShore.Caller (shameless plug - please
"like" me there)
I'm always on the lookout for good dance sites and videos to share
with experienced dancers and non-dancers alike. I'd love to learn
more about dance photography and videography (and editing) to be able
to contribute to that arena.
(While I subscribe to dance-related email lists as
"square.a.shore(a)gmail.com" the best way to reach me in real life is
Fort Lauderdale, FL
There's more background about me on the IAGSDC history wiki at
The adage that begins "be careful what you ask for..." just might
apply in this situation, so first let me give a big thank you to Chris
Weiler & Seth Seeger, who do such a wonderful job maintaining the
SharedWeight web site and mailing lists, for stepping up and creating
this new "web content" forum.
They've asked that I help coordinate and oversee this new group since
the idea was originally mine. Of course I will, but I'm hoping that
little oversight will be necessary. I also make no claims of
ownership, other than to help get/keep the ball rolling.
My original thinking (see original email below) was about a forum for
content creators and managers, with discussion being mostly about form
and function, usability, and, for lack a better word, "freshness".
However, some of the initial responses also indicate a desire to talk
about tools as well, including layout and editing, online
registration, payment, and survey packages, web hosting and CMS
systems. All those topics and more are welcome.
I'm hoping this forum will be welcoming and useful to anyone who
creates, manages, designs, or is simply interested in the "cyber" side
of contra dance, including dance series or festival web sites,
facebook groups, meetup groups, YouTube video creators & sharers,
podcasters, etc. Callers, choreographers, sound engineers, and
musicians/bands with a web presence are also welcome, of course.
I'd like to encourage all participants to share ideas, give links to
sites or pages we are working on, and ask for and provide constructive
feedback. One goal is to help each other make our online presence as
useful, vibrant, current, informative, accessible, and welcoming as
I'm well aware that the best way to get someone new to try contra
dancing is to take them to a dance!, but some people want to be more
informed and prepared before they (are convinced to) go, while others
may find a dance web site, video or event invite through serendipitous
web surfing, and the right kind of information and presentation may be
all they need to give dancing a try.
Since we are a diverse and distributed community, I'd like to suggest
that we all sign our postings with real names and locations. Also, if
you are so inclined, I encourage each participant to post a short
intro/bio about yourself as it might pertain to this forum (e.g., if
you maintain a web site, are on the web committee of some dance group,
etc.). Also, please feel free to spread the word about this group to
other people or forums where you think there would be interest!
This message is now far too long. I'll post my own bio in a separate thread.
Looking forward to wherever this group leads.
Ft Lauderdale FL
Subscription info at http://sharedweight.net/mailman/listinfo/webcontent
It looks like this list will be archived at
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Andy Shore <square.a.shore(a)gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 15, 2011 at 1:44 PM
Subject: contra dance webmasters unite! (?)
I've been wondering if there would be enough interest (and traffic) to
form an email list for contra dance website webmasters and other
content creators (e.g., people posting videos to youtube) and people
maintaining contra dance related "pages" on Facebook to discuss some
of the issues and ideas and share links, etc.
I created the website http://southfloridacontradance.com/ and I'm
always looking for good videos to share (see the "Announcements" page)
and links about contra dancing (see the "What is Contra Dance?" and
"Dance Links" pages). I also help maintain the "South Florida
Contradance" page on Facebook.
In particular, I think that finding, generating, and sharing fresh
content is the kind of thing that will keep our web sites looking
current and vibrant and will spark interest. I also think it's
important to design for both the current dancer (when and where is
tonight's dance or next month's festival?) and be informative and
welcoming to the uninitiated. Sharing relevant, high quality links
will also help make sure that search results yield the best
information about our beloved activity.
As for folks posting to YouTube... as a caller, I often want to know
the name and author of the dance being done!
Respond to this thread and if there's enough interest, perhaps we can
convince the kind folks who run SharedWeight.net to start a new
mailing list for this.
Let me know what you think!
http://andyshore.com/http://facebook.com/AndyShore.Caller << like me on Facebook!