From The Rapidian Staff
Each week, a Rapidian staffer will publish a piece related to goings-on at The Rapidian, developments in the world of citizen journalism and tips for making the most of the site. Click here for past editorials.
Other articles by the same author
Over the past year and a half we have seen reporters work together in a variety of ways. From small groups working on class projects to photo slideshow / journalism collaborations to really in-depth multi-part analysis of our community. There are lots of examples of people working together to make things more awesome, and finally all the collaborators can take credit for it!
While we are thoroughly excited about collaborative reporting and storytelling at the Rapidian, Drupal, the content management system we use to run the website isn’t exactly designed for it. What we all know of as an article is in Drupal-speak a type of “node.” A node is what Drupal considers every individual piece of content on a Drupal site. So the article, we’ve established, is a node. A calendar event? Also a node. A poll? You’ve guessed it, that’s a node too.
Ok, so we’ve got all these nodes. What’s the problem? Well, another aspect of Drupal (and pretty much every content management system for that matter) is the direct one to one relationship between the node and it’s author. One node, one author. Out of the box, only the reporter who actually created the article gets credit within the system. That’s problematic on the Rapidian because we like for each of our reporters to have a complete record of the articles they have contributed to on their profile page. Credit where credit is due, right? So, to get around this we have created a new type of field that creates a “user relationship” between the article and additional collaborators. You still need a primary reporter to actually create the article, but then that reporter can essentially add other users to the node by expanding the collaborators and translation section and adding your collaborators user name:
As you can see, we’ve taken a similar approach to crediting translators on The Rapidian as well. Over the past few weeks you may have noticed several new articles on The Rapidian that have been written in both Spanish and English. Several of these articles probably couldn't have appeared in a second language without the assistance of an awesome volunteer translator - so we decided to show them some love too. A link to translator’s account will appear on the article page (in the sidebar, pictured below), and conversely a link to the article will appear in their user profile.
Currently, for a collaborator or translator to be referenced in these fields, they must already have an account on The Rapidian, and you must use their username to make the connection.
So, there you have it. Finally, some attribution! If you have any questions about these changes, or about “nodes” and how we use Drupal to power The Rapidian, please feel free to comment below or drop me a line.
I am the New Media Planner at the Grand Rapids Community Media Center (GRCMC) and at The Rapidian. I spend my free time working on various community / cultural projects like The Division Avenue Arts Collective (DAAC) and G-RAD.org. I am a television and internet enthusiast.
Reports on: house shows, restaurant openings, Rapidian tech issues