What platform would you like to use for EteRNA University curriculum?

Thanks to Mat, Eli, and jnicol for starting community-led classes! We would like to have a place to put the curriculum we create. This forum thread is to consider the platform options. Thanks to LFP6 for taking the initiative to help with this!

The intention is for EteRNA University to be operated through official channels, and to collaborate with devs to integrate it as a key support tool for the community, just like Dev Chat and Stanford Chats.

While we should have a preference for using existing platforms, there are valid reasons to consider other tools. We already use many tools external to the main site like get satisfaction forums, wiki, and github.

Consider both the long term vision of a cohesive community, and the short term needs of quickly setting up a content repository for the university curriculum.

Consider what kind of info we’ll be creating in classes, and what platform you think is best suited to this task. Please pitch in your ideas, other platform suggestions, and specific pros & cons for any of the platforms!

Thank you for your participation! :slight_smile:


EteRNA Main:
Most professional and streamlined UX to access EteRNA University as either sub-menu option from Community, or even its own menu option if there is some day enough curriculum to merit it.
Cons: Until player dev is implemented, the feature request to implement a user-editable university page in the main site will require discussion and approval of devs, and then specification & queuing in the line of existing GitHub tickets. Therefore, this is not the fastest option. However, it is the best long term option.

EteRNA Wiki:
Existing infrastructure, already player-accessible. Wikis are designed to be content repositories.
Cons: Formatting is wonky & features are limited. Short to mid-term option, though with good templating & protocol could be a long term option, even if a simple one. Better to some day port to main site if possible.

GetSatisfaction Forums:
Existing infrastructure, already player-accessible.
Cons: Not designed to be a rich content management system. Would require strict templating & protocol to use for logging & organizing curriculum. Not really a long term option.

Weebly / xyz web host:
Prettier than wiki. Could be managed by players, and started immediately. Fast, easy. Good for prototyping.
Cons: Adds an additional domain to the existing suite of EteRNA tools such as main, wiki, github, and forums. Divides focus from main “official” channel. Will cost players $ and/or energy to maintain, unless the devs like the idea of adding this to the feature request list more than building out their existing main site. Nonetheless, this is the best short term option if the wiki is deemed insufficient.

Machine, big thx for your sum up of the options. It is very nicely done.

I will add a few comments/ ideas on how we could go about it. For now we got the first lesson in the WIKI and I put it up in a doc in my Script intro:


Idea. Actually it might be an idea to combine both WIKI and google docs, as we can get some of the best from both worlds.

For each lesson we simply add a Google docs as a link in the WIKI to the lesson. This will be an advantage since the google docs don’t have problems handling the formating. Still the google doc will reside in a central place, our WIKI and doesn’t have to be sought out through other documentation like my Script intro. It will simply be easy to locate it and we work around one WIKI problem.

Idea: We keep a version of the original chat. But then we have another where we add pictures and comments and clean up chat to make the lesson even more accessible for newcomers. That could work in both Google docs and WIKI. Though it is a bit easier adding pictures in google docs than the WIKI. Cons is that only one person or a smaller group can change the google doc, as to update it.

Adding a con to the forum option, is that is as soon as one comments on a post , it gets frozen and can’t be edited. I will say that rules them out for being real useful this task. Ok, it can work for pure chatlog perservation. But not for any kind of enhanced more living version with pictures and comments.

I’ll jump in. First, Eli, on your second idea, I do think that is important, and I had thought of that. I would suggest providing: Original chat, cleaned chat, “official” lesson (i.e. lesson format, not chat), and supplements (video, needed files, screenshots, tutorial in video form, etc.). Right now, we’re focousing on where the content is, however, as otherwise format won’t do much good. :stuck_out_tongue:

Machine, this is what we were discussing last night:
“The intention is for EteRNA University to be operated through official channels, and to collaborate with devs to integrate it as a key support tool for the community, just like Dev Chat and Stanford Chats.”

To my knowledge, this was NOT the plan. This was meant to be a player run education network, with everyone pitching in their strong suit. At the moment, the devs have NOTHING to do with this, aside from providing the game and the associated tools that we use as our primary medium.

Even when player dev is out, we can’t just build in our own initiative. It is not directly connected to the game, and it is comprised of opinions, which they may not endorse. I see nothing wrong with asking them if they would support us/make this official/let it go up on their site/etc. but we can’t say or do any of these things until we get their OK. As of now, it is just a bunch of players having fun, with no official connection, implied or otherwise.

Also, Weebly/xyz hosting can still be a robust option. In fact, many professional sites are made with them. Plus, you don’t have to worry about server maintenance (hardware at least). :slight_smile:

Lastly, here is a walkthrough of the prototype I threw together in Weebly. It is not published, and is really meant to show possible formatting. http://videobam.com/xozXT

And keep in mind with all this, we want the interface for the program to be as stremelined as possible. Just go to one place, find a lesson, and learn. Unlike the current organization of wiki, player analysis, and player guides. I don’t know of one place that has everything. It’s scattered around wiki, individual GDocs, and the forum, in a rather web-like format.

I was in the chat yesterday too. We were not discussing anything officially endorsed; rather, we were thinking about creating a resource by players and for players, not related to the official EteRNA “stuff” at all.

Another thing–[domainname].weebly.com websites are 100% free. It would only take effort to put in content, and that, in my opinion, can be worried about after the skeleton is decided.

Finally, I don’t think that the lessons should be all-encompassing at first, if at all. Being called EternaU/EteRNA University, I would hope it deals with content directly related to EteRNA. After a cohesive plan is formed, it may be possible to branch out into other subjects.

Just some thoughts and input.

hey there! thank you so much for all your effort!

I agree with you & Eli that it is a great idea to clean up the lessons and have a solid curriculum to reference in addition to chat logs.

I would love to look at your prototype, perhaps someone can comment. My browser blocks most of videobam, and I can’t afford to infect my computer, so I won’t be able to see it. But I am sure it looks great! I have looked at weebly before, and am familiar with the basic widgets and layouts available. I completely agree that content is easier to navigate and digest with good design in the presenting platform.

As for this question of official vs unofficial I am still very confused why this is even a topic of discussion. Our efforts our inextricable from devs’ efforts since as you say everything we do is based on their platform. In my opinion it would be disrespectful to initiate an ‘unofficial’ offshoot of eterna u as if it were not part & parcel of eterna itself.

The devs work hard, and own eterna. There is no such thing as an unofficial offshoot without permission. “EteRNA” is their name, and we could not rightly use it at all, even “unofficially”. That is why I said if you want to start “Random Internet University”, we can do that offsite.

But if we’re calling it “EteRNA University”, if we are associating and chatting about it on EteRNA, if we are giving the classes through EteRNA and scheduling them in the wiki, if we are calling it “EteRNA University”, then it is implicitly *part* of EteRNA. Doing it professionally and officially is, imho, the only way. If you and others go ahead with an “unofficial” university, by all means, have fun! But don’t call it “EteRNA University” and use eterna resources to do it.

I hear you on your good point that the community wants to have classes unrelated to genetics. And I encourage all kinds of education. So I think we can find a way to work that in, and make a cohesive effort that makes eterna stronger.

Personally, I will not be working on a non-official eterna university. I already do a lot of work in educational software and LMS platforms, and if I’m going to build that kind of infrastructure it will either be for my own personal projects, or for the eterna community. And as I said, it is simply a non-starter to take eterna’s name and community offsite.

I understand where you are coming from and what you are trying to communicate: the players are building the classes, we would like a better platform, and we don’t want to be limited by either genetics topic or devs being busy. These are all salient and important points.

However the solution is not to break off from eterna. There are thousands of “internet schools” that nobody knows or cares about, and most of them fall apart as quickly as they are founded. This is my industry. And I guarantee we will be more successful if we cooperate and compromise with the great community & devs already at eterna.

I recognize your passion, and I can tell you are inspired and ready to start LFP6 University and just go go go! And I encourage you to do that if you want to! But this vision, the EteRNA University that I created in the wiki yesterday, the class that jnicol gave *in eterna chat*, I feel very strongly should proceed officially and under supervision of devs, even if they don’t do all the work on it.

So if we want to use a new platform, the devs need to approve & have admin access for example.

Again, if you disagree and want to move forward with an unofficial class system, I encourage you to do as you please. But please respect the devs’ work and do not use their name unofficially without permission. Either way you need their permission, since they probably also have it copyrighted…

It’s my hope to focus on Eterna-related material, but to let players share whatever their experience is-even if it’s not related to Eterna.

I agree. I was just saying that other topics should be introduced after the basic framework is set up and some lessons are put into place.

I don’t think it’s copyrighted, as shown in the website http://eterna.com

I do not disagree, and what you are saying is continuing to get clearer.

“Our efforts our inextricable from devs’ efforts since as you say everything we do is based on their platform.”

But it is not a direct tool for their platform. It is a tool based on the platform, like the many player guides that exist. In any other organization that was not so community-embracing as Eterna, the guides would be sitting on an unofficial wiki that sprouts for every product. For example, on the Dragonvale wiki, there are many strategies, but the Wiki is not connected officially to Dragonvale at all.

“In my opinion it would be disrespectful to initiate an ‘unofficial’ offshoot of eterna u as if it were not part & parcel of eterna itself.”

I now understand where you are coming from on this. YES, as you mention it, we DO need to get devs approval. If they say they will make it official, great. However, they could say that they don’t. Official implies that is was, at least in part, developed by the original team, or something that is fully endorsed, with the creators being treated almost as employees of the parent company.

Point in case: Just because something is unofficial, doesn’t mean that we’re taking advantage of developers. It just means that USERS are creating a tool that the developers didn’t MAKE. I agree we should get their approval but that does not mean that they have to fully endorse us to the point where we are official.

And maybe it will work for us to become official. As I’m typing it starts to make more sense. But it is completely up to the devs if:

A. We can do this at all

B. They endorse us (not the same as #1, if the answer is no to B, it would be considered unofficial even though the devs are ok with it)

C. Use their platform

D. Use their resources.

FireDrake, I do agree with Machine in the fact that it’s still the dev’s product we’re using as a base. Using their product without permission wouldn’t be right (though this is meant to augment the product, NOT to be a stand-alone).

Of course, we shouldn’t be making any money off of it :stuck_out_tongue:

A. I’d assume so, seeing things like the LEGO wikia.

B. Most likely–they endorsed the other guides.

C. Probably not, besides the wiki

D. I wouldn’t want to even if it’s possible, personally.

My vision is to have something completely separate, possibly endorsed but not officially affiliated, that we still can direct players to. Just a thought.

LFP, I do agree with that. I don’t understand the use of the phrase “use their product”–does it mean use EteRNA? Creating a completely different website doesn’t use their “product”, the way I understand it.

At the same time, is it really necessary for it to have complete separation? It is related to the product, and if the devs like the idea, why not add to the platform’s programming?

And just because they’ve usually done something doesn’t mean they’ll agree with something else.

copyright is just a reference to the deeper principle of not taking other people’s work… in business it is so disrespectful to take other people’s work that it never even occurred to me that anyone would want to make “EteRNA University” an unofficial offshoot of the main endeavor.

but devs are so busy maybe they don’t care! ask them, do what you want. i am not trying to convince you or asking anyone to agree with me. but i am also not going to agree with something i don’t agree with! so if you can accept that i will not agree with an unofficial offshoot, then i can accept that you do not agree with me!

diversity of opinion is okay! :smiley:

All of the guides AFAIK (like Eli’s) are separate from the main site (since they’re on Youtube/Google Docs). I think they’re working on something, thinking about the new Shiftable puzzle type. It’s related, but related does not always mean integrated.

What have they usually done that they may not this time?

they as in the devs.

I’m saying that you should still ask. EternaU is not the same thing as a player guide. Similar concept, but different “product”.

How so? It’s a player guide insofar as it teaches players. I did ask Jee, and I’m awaiting his response.

Different medium, and a MUCH bigger scale.