Monday, January 11, 2010

Phase 1 completed

A while back, I divided up the work on into three distinct phases:

  1. Build a better club list for
  2. Provide tools for helping new clubs to form.
  3. Provide a service to schedule games in public.
Phase 1 is now complete. There are a few issues that still need to be addressed, but they can be addressed on a case by case basis. The site is now internationalized, and today contains club listings in 21 different countries. An ongoing import from keeps us reasonably up to date with US clubs (there are a couple of bugs that need to be worked out), and there is a BGA importer as well, which needs to be updated to pull in data automatically. Ultimately I'd also like to have an hCard importer as well, so that any club list posted in hCard format could be easily imported. All of this is an ongoing effort. For those of you still wondering about how this is going to be used on, join the club (no pun intended!). As far as I can tell, they still want it to happen, but don't have the bandwidth to work on it. In fact, Allan Abramson's membership memo #3 came out yesterday, and they're asking for help with the web site. Send an email to president at usgo dot org if you can help out!

It's now time to start work on Phase 2, building new clubs. There are a few different angles I want to tackle on this: 1. Encouraging people to put club entries into the system for clubs they want to form, 2. Creating a new kind of "club interest" listing to help connect people looking for clubs, and 3. Messaging people via email and through the site when there is information about new clubs.

Getting new club entries into the system

To get new club entries into the system, we'll have a flag indicating that a club entry is in its formative phase. This will enable us to highlight new clubs that are likely to need support from the community, and new clubs that might be in need of more interest before they can meet regularly. The club owner can remove the flag from his/her entry when the club has matured and has a regular meeting time.

Club interest listings

I think this should really be about individuals, not about clubs. When people don't find a club nearby, they should be able to enter private addresses that indicate work or home addresses, places where they spend time and might be able to attend a club nearby. Then, the system will search for clusters of people who are interested in forming clubs, and help them get in contact with each other through the site.

Messaging about clubs

This would be a Facebook-style status page. If you've indicated that you're interested in new clubs, or in forming new clubs, then the system would add a message to your status page to that effect, and send an email to the user to let them know that they have a new message. These messages could also be used to communicate between members who don't yet know each other, as a safe alternative to email.


This is just a rough sketch of what I'm planning on building in phase 2. If you have feedback, I'd love to hear it. Just leave a comment here, or contact me at the following email address: contact at promotego dot org.