Help wanted

BLUF • events • members • technical

Submitted by Nigel, aka LondonSubNigel (3), 01 December 2017

 

Index

In the eight and a half years since I took over running BLUF, the size of the club has grown, and with it the scope of what we're doing. Our calendar, for example, now lists events from many other organisations around the world, rather than just BLUF events, with a total of over 450 events for 2017.

We now have listings of photographers and shops, member discounts, and more. We operate a much more sophisticated web site, as well as apps and an API.

All of this takes a lot of time, and a lot of the work falls solely to me as Director. We need to make sure BLUF doesn't just rely on one person, that we can plan adequately for the future, and get more done, faster.

So, I'm looking for additional volunteers who are able to help in specific areas

Events

I'd like someone to take over overseeing the events calendar. This involves responding to requests to have an event listed - asking for more information if some is missing, or sometimes re-writing the details supplied, and entering details into the BLUF web site. Ideally the same person would check the events entered by other people - some members and groups enter their own - and making sure we use consistent language across events.

If there's time - or perhaps an additional volunteer - it would be good to have someone dedicated to contacting other groups around the world, and getting details of their events to add to the calendar as well.

It would also be helpful to have one or more event translators, who can translate event information into French, German and Spanish, to ensure that people using the site in those languages don't have to make do with the English version.

Local info

Many BLUF groups have local pages on the site, and these could be used much more effectively. The BLUF Local pages can be seen by anyone, whether or not they're a member, and we can use them to tell people about more than just BLUF. For example, on the London page we've kept people abreast of the Backstreet planning issue. The SF page recently reported about plans for a new leather district.

I'd like to see all our Local page updated more often, with news that may be of interest to the local community, BLUF members or not. It could be information about Pride, or store openings, or a kink-related film showing, or just about anything you think will interest the local leather scene.

By sharing this information, we provide a useful service to the local scene, and people learn about BLUF when they visit the site to read it. So, if you're a budding journalist, or you've got your finger on the pulse of what's happening in one of our Local cities, now's your chance.

Technical

The technical side of BLUF is the area that is most reliant on just me, and I think it's important this change. So I'm looking for members who can assist - or simply be able to step in and assist if necessary.

The BLUF site runs on a Linux server, using MySQL, PHP and jQuery. Site code is in a private Git repository. Key areas that I think we ought to consider are

  • Site backup. It would be prudent to have a comprehensive plan that allowed someone else to restore the site to a new server in an emergency. This may include server config, DNS management, and similar skills.
  • Code review. The BLUF code base ought ought to be reviewed by other people, to ensure both security and efficiency.
  • Security awareness. It would be helpful to have at least one other person keeping up with security issues, to ensure we keep the site and the server on which it runs as secure as possible.
  • Optimization. In areas such as Apache and MySQL config, I'm sure there are areas of the site that could benefit from optimisation, to make sure we're getting the best from our resources. For example, the recent speed-up of some pages was achieved simply by adding an extra index to one database table.
  • Further development. Besides working on the iOS and Android apps, the following are on the roadmap for BLUF's tech side: updating to PHP7; updating the Windows/Mac desktop apps; ensuring all pages are suitable for screen readers; rewriting the BLUF API to make app development simpler

If you're a BLUF member and think you might be able to help with any of these, please email me, and let me know what skills you have, and where you might be able to use them.

By and large, as we exist on donations, for most contributions all we can offer is a free BLUF card to volunteers. However, for some jobs that require a considerable commitment - say, writing a brand new app - BLUF Ltd may be able to offer a small discretionary payment.

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