Every Featured conference has a basic web page. Hosts who are interested in expanding the content of their conference’s web pages are welcome to enhance them.

14.1 Your Conference Web Directory (Featured Conferences only)

Each Featured conference is set up with a simple web page containing a description of your conference, the hosts’ names and logins, links to the conference categories and other useful information and help, and a log in box to the conference itself via a web browser.

Your conference’s basic page is composed of several files that are assembled “on the fly” by our content management system. Some of the files are managed by WELL staff and are standard elements of all the Featured conference web pages. Others are files hosts may access and update themselves.

You can view your conference web page via your browser. Substitute your conference name for “mesozoic” in the following example: /conf/mesozoic

At the top and the bottom of the web page, you’ll see horizontal color bands with a variety of links to information and support. In the large white band in the middle, you’ll see your conference name, a conference description, the hosts names and logins, and a log in box. By design, all our Featured conferences have these same elements. Some of the files that create these elements are in our content management sysytem and aren’t directly editable by hosts.

The files you can edit will be found in your conference’s web directory. You can view those files when you are logged in via PicoSpan. Substitute your conference name with “mesozoic” in the following path: /www/conf/mesozoic

The desc.inc file displays on the left side of the page below the conference’s name. By default, it is a plain-text file containin the conference description that matches the conference’s cfinfo file. If you wish to update the conference description, edit the desc.inc file. (NOTE: If you edit that file, please contact confteam so we may update the cfinfo file to match, if appropriate)

The hosts.inc file by default contains the names and logins of the current conference hosts. If you want to embed a link to further information about yourself or to an email pop-up to you, you would want to edit the hosts.inc file.

There are other enhancements you can add to your conference web page. For example, the web page can have a customized conference banner. If you want a customized banner, please contact confteam for details on file size limits and display size parameters, and to ask for assistance in getting it installed, since hosts can’t install these banners directly.

You can also add a photo or graphic to the conference web page. The image will appear on the right side of the page above the login box. In order to display, the file must be in your conference web directory, and be named more.jpgmore.jpeg, or more.gif. The file shouldn’t exceed 50KB, and the dimensions should be no more than 350 pixels vertically or horizontally.

You can add additional text to your conference web page below the host listing by creating a file called more.inc in your conference’s web directory. The file can be done in plain text, and can also contain html.

14.2 The How-to of Enhancing your Conference Web Page

If you are comfortable in a UNIX environment, you may choose to create and edit files directly in your conference’s web directory. To access the directory, you’ll need to change ownership to yourself by typing:

   !webowner mesozoic

You’ll now have write permissions to all files there. Your cohost may change it back to his or her ownership using the same command.

Many people prefer to create the files on their own computers, then upload them to the conference web directory. If you prefer this mode, you can access the conference web directory through a simple menu system in PicoSpan. The menu will allow you to manipulate files, create subdirectories, list the directory contents, and so on.

To invoke the menu, type:


You’ll be prompted for the real name of your conference. Once you enter it, you’ll be shown this menu of choices.


                1 - List contents (short)
                2 - List contents (long)
                3 - View file(s) with pager
                4 - View file with lynx
                5 - Copy file(s) into web directory
                6 - Copy file from web directory
                7 - Remove file(s)
                8 - Edit file
                9 - Move (rename) file(s)
               10 - Make subdirectory
               11 - Remove subdirectory
               12 - List subdirectory contents (short)
               13 - List subdirectory contents (long)
               14 - List contents of your working directory

q=Quit this menu                                     p=turn Pager OFF
Select one of the above items (1-14 or a letter) ==>

These commands will work much as the !infomenu command does. One different choice you have is option 4 – View file with lynx. Lynx is an old text-based means of looking at the Web. It’s rarely used these days, feel free to ignore option 4.

Whether you choose to build your conference web page enhancements directly in the conference web directory or to upload files you’ve created on your own computer, once the file is in the web directory and has 644 permissions (-rw-r–r–), it will immediately display on your conference web page. So be sure to have a browser tab open to your conference’s web page while you’re altering it. That way, if something doesn’t look the way you mean it to, you can change the file permission or its name, then tweak the file to correct whatever error you discovered.

14.3 More Extensive Enhancements

If you want to expand your conference’s web page offerings, you can build additional pages in your conference’s web directory, and install links to those pages in the desc.inc or more.inc file.

For some examples of what hosts have done with conference front pages, you might want to check out the web pages of some conferences that have enhanced web pages. Some examples include CookingGames, and Linux conferences.

If you point to graphics or pages in other web directories, on The WELL or elsewhere, you’ll want to check your pages now and then to be sure the links still work. There’s nothing more frustrating than clicking on an interesting link and getting an error message saying the material isn’t there anymore.

If you use your conference directories to present graphics, sounds or words created by your conference members, you’ll want to be sure to have permission to publish the material. You may want to save email containing the assurance that the conference participant is the author or artist, or otherwise has the rights to give you permission to publish the material in your conference web directory.

Most importantly, let your creativity reign and have fun! The conference web pages are one of the prime ways to put your conference on the map and attract great participants from elsewhere on the Net.

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