Intranet

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Intranet

by Wim van Ravesteijn » 20 Mar 2009 14:54 UTC

Currently, under supervision and control of Dragan, a new intranet for AEGEE is being developed. At the EBM a movie presentation was shown of it, and for the interested people, the development version is online as well. You can have a look yourself here:

http://bondza.aegee.dev.troxo.com/

If you want to look a bit more deep into it, use the following logins (username and password are the same; example: user=board, password=board):

- board
- cd
- member
- network
- user

Don't try to register your own account yet, this doesn't work. But with above usernames and passwords you can get a good clue what will be there.

Have a look, and write your opinion about it. As it is a project of EUR 30.000 feedback from the network should be included in its functioning.

Looking forward to a transparent discussion.
 
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Testing blocked by Dragan

by Wim van Ravesteijn » 24 Mar 2009 20:19 UTC

I'm very sorry to announce that the testing website is not available anymore. Dragan requested me yesterday to remove the link from the forum, which I refused, as I believe you all should have the possibility to give real feedback before the deadline.

Unfortunately, (very likely*) he has now arranged that nobody has access anymore to the testing system, to prevent any feedback from the network. This is a very bad situation, Dragan asked his former employer to develop a system for EUR 30.000, which is solely designed by Dragan, who has no clue about the currently existing IT systems we have, or their functionality, and any feedback ITWG tried to give him has been silently ignored. As also the future users (that is all members of AEGEE) have not been involved in the development, the likelihood that the EUR 30.000 is just wasted is huge and only resulted in the development of the current systems being on halt for 9 months already. IT-projects in general have high failure percentage, and without involvement of the future users this percentage even drastically increases (find it back in literature if you don't believe me).

Already months ago an account was made on the AEGEE server so also you could test the new intranet during development without using the company servers, so changes could still be made during development. Unfortunately, up till now, only an empty page shows up on the account: http://www.zeus.aegee.org/oms-devel/. For this reason, I decided to post the link to the testing server of the company, to at least give you the possibility to check things out and feedback.

As you can see, any democratic value is being rejected to the members of AEGEE by our president. I would call this a severe issue, which should be solved as soon as possible. Hereby I would like to ask all delegates of the Agora in Magusa to seriously consider a vote of confidence against our extremely undemocratic president, to bring democratic values back to our organisation, and especially to our Comite Directeur (CD).

*: the site has been available for many weeks on this link, and also still several days after my forum post. Just a few hours after my refusal to remove the post, suddenly the server is unavailable for already more 20 hours. You might call it coincidence, but for me this can only be explained as concrete work of Dragan, who should easily be able to arrange this with his former employer, to make sure nobody will ask for changes in his work.
 
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by Rene Keijzer » 25 Mar 2009 14:14 UTC

The link is again working....

Please don't keep on bashing eachother publicly!
Rene Keijzer
 

by Michele Turati » 25 Mar 2009 19:32 UTC

today, wednesday, h18:30 CET, the link* is working.
Anyway, I do not like the new system as it's giving to the central committee powers they sholdn't have.

Plus... I'm sorry Wim, I cannot vote but here we agree with you that something should be done
Michele Turati
 

by Philipp von Klitzing » 25 Mar 2009 22:46 UTC

Carried over from AEGEE-L:

With the new Intranet I fear this will change fundamentally (from what I am able to tell): The CD, meaning every single CD member, will have fully fledged access to all private data of every single member (possibly including banking info), even though these persons are members of their locals and not members of AEGEE-Europe.

The new system does not have a login level of "administrator": Thus the CD will be its own administrator, having to learn things from scratch once a year and hopefully not breaking the IT backbone... but that's a different topic.
Philipp von Klitzing
 

by Wim van Ravesteijn » 26 Mar 2009 01:30 UTC

Seems the issue with the server not allowing access is solved, you can again test the intranet using the link in the first post. Let's just consider it a coincidence, and not blame Dragan for any hostile actions, as we anyway will never be able to prove such a thing.

So, happy testing. Especially use the 'cd' account and check all access CD would get with the new intranet. Just after Agora Aachen ITWG warned Dragan this was a very bad idea, and administrators were needed, but seems the final design was made from the position of CD that likes to have access and control everything.
 
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by Piotr Pelzowski » 01 Apr 2009 17:58 UTC

hi all,

Michele Turati wrote:Anyway, I do not like the new system as it's giving to the central committee powers they sholdn't have.

I was working on AEGEE Intranet iterations with others, and in fact theoretically we are still working on it. So if you could list those "powers" which worry you I can look at them and we can fix problems with privacy/administrator privileges/etc if there are any. Just list them.

Or alternatively maybe it is good idea to invite you to `AEGEE Intranet team` and you could give your feedback? If you want to I will ask Dragan. I do think that more feedback on Intranet specification is needed.

@Wim, how "administrators" would be chosen in your proposal?
Piotr Pelzowski
 

by Michele Turati » 01 Apr 2009 18:13 UTC

Thank you Piotr for your contribution. It's nice to see a new person using normal AEGEE tools :)

Piotr Pelzowski wrote:So if you could list those "powers" which worry you I can look at them and we can fix problems with privacy/administrator privileges/etc if there are any. Just list them.


Sorry Piotr, but I don't remember them all, but I do remember there was a two-years-discussion on MEMBERSHIP-SYSTEM-L, a specific mailing list created for communications between the developers of the Online Membership System (OMS) that decame the "new intranet".
Just take all the reccomandations exposed there by our IT people, I share their view.

Piotr Pelzowski wrote: it is good idea to invite you to `AEGEE Intranet team` and you could give your feedback?


No thanks, I believe in task division and that the ITWG should be in the team instead of me.
Michele Turati
 

by Wim van Ravesteijn » 01 Apr 2009 19:55 UTC

Piotr Pelzowski wrote:I was working on AEGEE Intranet iterations with others, and in fact theoretically we are still working on it. So if you could list those "powers" which worry you I can look at them and we can fix problems with privacy/administrator privileges/etc if there are any. Just list them.


The basic rule is that only people that need certain access get this access, and no more data is stored than necessary. As people are member of a local and not CD, CD shouldn't have any access to the peoples data. Number of members is more than enough for their work.
Next to that, don't try to replace systems that work already good and are too big to be replaced in this 'small' intranet project. Examples of this: SU applications and Agora/EBM applications, of which Dragan doesn't seem to have a single clue what it all involves, otherwise he would never have considered including it. Intranet is supposed to bring AEGEE forward, replacing the current system with often-used tools worth at least EUR 100.000 (plus additional EUR 100.000 less used tools) by a new system adding extra functionality but only have EUR 30.000 will bring AEGEE back, very far back. Kind like useless to rebuild facebook for AEGEE (as intranet very much looks like it).
Get Dragan first familiar with AEGEE structure and naming, intranet seems to be designed by people having no single clue about AEGEE. Like 'Work groups'....
And I would like to agree with Mickey, check the old documents of OMS, and you see that the current developments are far from useful for AEGEE, now and in the future, as this system will not be maintainable. Huge focus in OMS work was on scalable and maintainable development, I see nothing of this in Intranet.

Piotr Pelzowski wrote:Or alternatively maybe it is good idea to invite you to `AEGEE Intranet team` and you could give your feedback? If you want to I will ask Dragan. I do think that more feedback on Intranet specification is needed.


Cooperating with Dragan? Is that a joke, or what? I did try in autumn, like many ITWG people, result was total ignorance from the side of Dragan. I rather spend my time on improving current systems, as I do not believe this intranet/facebook copy will ever replace anything, at least not AEGEE IT systems.

Piotr Pelzowski wrote:@Wim, how "administrators" would be chosen in your proposal?

Well, not thought about it exactly yet, but one thing is sure: it should be independent from CD, to prevent any conflict of interest. Already when working on OMS, it was in the plan to involve ABC in this 'administrator' team. Few ITWG people could work as well, OMS was designed to have a big self-support, so admins would only be needed in big unexpected cases. Currently aegee.org accounts are supported by one person only, and in OMS there were plans to even make this support less needed. With aegee.org accounts it works fine with one person only (just longer holidays sometimes create small delays)
 
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by Wim van Ravesteijn » 01 Apr 2009 20:21 UTC

Piotr, just small addition: if you want to know what Intranet should do, check the OMS documents and search for the functionality of 'OMS core'. That should have been implemented by Troxo, using the techniques described in the OMS documents (that means using LDAP, no MySQL for members data). With this, AEGEE IT would have been brought a big step forward, instead of a huge step backwards with the current developments.

A system as intranet having everything in one tool will take huge amount of time for developers to understand, cause a big risk of breaking functionality when touching a part.

Dragans ideas are great for business world, where he comes from, but not suitable for a fast changing organisation like AEGEE. But Dragan is continues showing he has no clue about AEGEEs functioning, so that doesn't surprise me...
 
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by Philipp von Klitzing » 03 Apr 2009 15:14 UTC

@Piotr:

We are missing a lot of very basic information in order to be able to carry out any useful test:

1. We don't know what is still in the list of features to be implemented, and what not. The ITWG has seen only a first draft of the contract in November and not the feature set that was finally agreed upon between AEGEE-Europe and Troxo. Also there are no additional "iteration documents" available which, I suppose, both extend and limit the initial contract. This means the entire thing is nothing but a dark black box. Also the system doesn't have real data in it, preventing any kind of sensible judgment.

2. There is no documentation available at all, nor a concept document that describes the basic principles of "Intranet" and the changes that it will entail for AEGEE. So all we can do is make guesses, and that is, frankly spoken, a big waste of time.
From what I can see - and Theijs already spoke about this on AEGEE-L - the OMS basics, that were agreed upon, are obviously not being covered; instead of an "on-line membership system" Troxo has been charged with the creation of a "management information system": The focus is on CD and NetCom, not on the network.

3. From what I can tell "membership" and "aegee.org" account have been merged into one: "No account = you are not a member", and "you are a member = you have an account". By doing so AEGEE-Europe asks for a lot more personal data than just "name" and "local" (as defined in the antenna criteria, twice a year before each AGORA). There is also no privacy statement available that describes what AEGEE-Europe does with the data (and what it doesn't do).

4. We guess that there won't by any LDAP support as underlying authentication system. This makes a "system of systems" with distributed servers hard to impossible, and it means we can ditch all existing satellite systems - or else the AEGEE members would have to operate with two (very confusing) different logins in the future.
Everyone must be aware that the IT world is changing very fast, and that therefore flexible approaches are essential. The "Intranet" design, however, is monolithic, and in parts too tightly tailored to the current CIA (statues): At every AGORA you will be seeing changes, and it will be difficult to keep "Internet" in sync with the rules that AEGEE gives itself.

5. Another vital part identified for the OMS was language support: Unfortunately the current plans, as presented by Julien on AEGEE-L, have it the wrong way around: Multi-language support for the web site, but not for Intranet. Based upon experience with numerous attempts of different CDs I can assure you that AEGEE is simply not able to keep the web page/site up-to-date in two languages in a meaningful fashion.
On the other hand for locals in Spain, Italy and also Poland it is vital to be able to use OMS/Intranet in their native language (and many others would surely feel more comfortable with their own language). Without this you are simply not going to gain the necessary acceptance. The trouble here is that if you don't design a new system to be multi-lingual from the very start, you have a huge problem adding this afterwards.

6. This leads me to the final point: OMS/Intranet will fail if locals are forced to maintain two membership systems at the same time: their own local one, and a copy on the AEGEE-Europe server. These two will never be in sync, and they mean double work, which is especially significant for large locals with hundreds of members.
If, as a consequence, not all locals participate or only keep incomplete information in the system, then the entire "management information system" aspect is endangered because it is based upon both partial and incomplete data. This illustrates why it is so vital to include the network in the process of developing OMS/Intranet, i.e. to win its "hears and minds".

Unfortunately that's too late now, the features have been set quietly, and are actually still a well-kept secret. In fact I suspect this will remain so until after the AGORA, as the CD (Dragan) has not seen the need to insert an agenda item covering "Intranet". This means that in May or June locals will be faced with the reality of "Intranet" without having an inch of influence (as you know this CD will leave office on Sept 1st without any further statutory meetings). Luckily I read the preliminary AGORA agenda, and the chair now has at least a progress meeting scheduled on this topic.


Closing question: April 1st has passed and the system hasn't gone on-line, as stated in the contract draft. Does anyone here have a project time frame for steps like "network feedback", "uploading meaningful real-life test data", "beta test", "data migration plan"?

P.S.: CD members should not be able to act as chair/ on chair data. CD members should also not be able to create/delete/edit member data. I cannot imagine that AEGEE-Hamburg (an association of German law) would like a CD member to be able to delete an AEGEE-Hamburg member, or to see his/her bank account data, nor phone number or e-mail address.

P.P.S.: Likewise individual account management must be run by an impartial administrator outside the CD; you don't want the CD to be able to e.g. assign a new password to a board member of AEGEE-Athina and then act on their behalf in a fashion that cannot be traced.
How can a person be member of more than local in the "Intranet" concept?
I imagine that many members will object to the complete tracking of the events that they have (ever) applied to.

There are a lot of wrong wordings in the current Intranet implementation, Wim already hinted at "work group" instead of "working group" as defined in the statutes. The established name for the collection of locals, commissions and working groups is "body" and "bodies". How do you take care of "contacts" and "connections"? Their members should not gain member level access because they are not part of the network.
Philipp von Klitzing
 


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