Sunset for Legacy WordPress site airstreamclub.net – July 2021

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All local clubs now have “microsites” on the new airstreamclub.org website.  The WordPress (airstreamclub.net) site will be taken down in July 2021, so all content to be preserved should be migrated from the .net site to the .org site before then.  Rally registration forms for 2021 events should be created with the JotForms (jotform.com) or another form generator of your choice.  The Airstream Club recommends JotForm since we have capabilities to support webmasters in creation and maintenance of Jotforms.

Better Communication, Better Support, Better Results

All Airstream Club webmasters have just been invited to join the “Slack” communication vehicle to improve communication and support. 

Why and how can Airstream Club webmasters use Slack?  Slack is a much more effective method for facilitating teamwork than regular email, Facebook or chats, because

  • not all webmasters are on Facebook, but everyone can participate in a Slack discussion.
  • everyone in the ‘channel’ (the discussion topic) can read all the messages at any time, respond to just one person or to everyone in the channel.
  • all messages are archived and searchable, so it’s easy to review what everyone has said on a specific topic since the channel was opened. The search function will find topics, content, names, etc.
  • messages pertinent to a specific topic can be filed in a ‘thread’ so topics don’t get intermingled (i.e. Jotform, club events, microsite management.)
  • Slack participants have access to the expertise of all 100+ webmasters as well as the Information Technology Committee.

How do I use Slack?
All Airstream Club webmasters have already been invited to join Slack.  You need only accept the invitation and select the WBAC Workspace.

 Follow the link below for a beginners’ video tutorial on using Slack.  It is highly recommended that you view at least the first portion of this video before using Slack.  It flattens the learning curve.   The tutorial link will also be posted in the #general channel for your reference at any time. 

 The first three minutes of the video explain the history of Slack.  You may want to skip ahead to 3:00.   There are a couple references to coding, which you can ignore.  Coding is not necessary to use Slack.  The video is 20 minutes long but can be viewed in sections a you become more familiar with how Slack functions. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRxQQxiM7AA

You can set your preferences to use any functions you desire, though the default preferences are just fine.  There is one setting we typically use that allows you create paragraph breaks in your message by using the “return/enter” key and the “arrow” key to send the message.   This makes your message more readable.  See below.

Once you’ve entered Slack, you’ll be in the “General” channel.  From there you can choose other channels to enter.  Any channel preceded with a hashtag # is public.  Those showing a padlock are private. 

Go head.  Ask questions, respond to the questions of others, share your expertise.  You can’t go wrong and your knowledge of the new website management and Jotforms (if you use Jotform) will expand immensely.  Remember, no questions are too basic and everyone was a beginner once. 

 If you have questions about Slack, email itc@airstreamclub.net.  We’ll be waiting for your questions. 

The Airstream Club  Information Technology Committee

Editing the Leadership Panel – Don’t

To the many.webmasters who are frustrated by trying to edit the officers and images in the leadership panel: Good news.

You can ignore the leadership part of the microsite because it is created and updated directly from the main database at club headquarters.   You cannot create or edit it.  When an officer uploads a picture of him/herself in the personal portal it will appear on the website.  When the local club president informs headquarters of an offiicer change it will be updated on the microsite.  One less thing to worry about!

Avoiding Duplicate Events

Local Club Webmasters: Please do not create events for Region or International events connected to your local club.  Doing so results in many pin drops at rally locations.  Instead, use hyperlinks on pages that point to the actual event on airstreamclub.org.

The URL for the 64th International Rally in Lebanon, TN, July.  17-24, 2021 is
https://airstreamclub.org/node/45470

Following are some best-practices showing events in an easy-to-view manner which prevents duplication of events.

Two new tutorial videos added

Looking for help adding your profile photo or your club’s newsletter to its web site? If so, these tutorials are for you.

Click HERE for a short tutorial about adding your photo to your Airstream Club’s Administrative page.

Click HERE for a short tutorial about adding your club’s newsletter to your Airstream Club Web Page.

(Note: This video is stored on YouTube. The Wally Byam Airstream Club does not have any control over the ads nor the suggested videos that YouTube may insert into this tutorial.)

What is JotForm?

JotForms (jotform.com) are very similar to the forms created on the WordPress (airstreamclub.net) site, but with much more capability for customization, calculations and conditional logic.  JotForms are easy to create, with no coding necessary, and there is a range of pricing.  Each local club/region will need to purchase a subscription that matches its needs, i.e. number of forms, recipients, online submissions/payments per month.

Note: Local Airstream Clubs and Regions DO qualify for non-for-profit pricing, at a 50% discount.  The application process is very simple.  Follow this link for pricing information: https://www.jotform.com/nonprofit/pricing

Note: The Free JotForm account may be sufficient for some local clubs, with the following restrictions:  5 active forms, 100 submissions per month, 10 payment submissions per month

If your club is small and you don’t take online payments the free account may be sufficient.

The non-profit rate of $14.50 per month may exceed the budget of smaller units.  It is possible to upgrade your JotForm plan during active camping season and downgrade to the free version in the winter.  It’s just a button click to make that happen.

Using Airstream Club Membership Directory Downloads with MailChimp/Constant Contact

When a membership directory is downloaded from airstreamclub.org to use as a current mailing list for local club communication, there is a significant issue (and solution).

The membership directory will contain many “placeholders” for partner emails until each partner enters a unique email (different from the primary member’s.)  The placeholder is a clone of the primary email, but with a “1” added before the @.   These are not valid emails so they will bounce back as undeliverable, and be regarded as Spam by Mail Chimp / Constant Contact.

Why is that a problem? 

A large number of bounce backs (usually 30%) appears to the provider (MailChimp/Constant Contact) that you are sending a lot of Spam. They will send you a warning that “if you continue to send Spam, we will cancel your account.” 

The solution is fairly straightforward:

In your spreadsheet (csv, Excel, Numbers) select ONLY the PARTNER EMAIL column.  Usually column ‘H.” Do not “find and replace ALL” instances of 1@ because many actual mail addresses do contain “1@” and they would become invalid.

 

Do a ‘find” for the combination “1@” and “replace all” with just “@”.  The partner email will then be a duplicate of the primary email and the email sender will ignore the duplicate. 

There may also be many “noemail…..@airstreamclub.org” emails in the Partner Email column.  These can be grouped and deleted if you Sort by the Partner Email Column.

Now you have a clean, current list of your membership with only valid emails for your club/region and can import or cut and paste these into audience/mailing list of the email sender. 

Note: members who have “opted out” of having their contact information included in the membership directory will_NOT_ be included in this list.  Local club affiliates will also NOT be included.  

Duplicate Sidebar Menu Entries

We’ve had a number of reports of duplicate “home page” links in the sidebar of local local club (aka microsite) pages.

We believe this is part of a systems issue related to upgrades and bug fixes, and have notified the developer to get this fixed as soon as possible.

Apologies for the inconvenience during the wild rollout of the biggest set of functionality changes to date of the site!